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Identity Cards Resistance 1940-45
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Issued by „Voormalig Verzet Limburg“ (Association of Veterans of the Resistance), registration number (KvK) V 187800
One of the regular occasions on which the members of the VVL met was / is the annual commemoration on the Cauberg.
This text is a mosaic of different sources, which I have on this item. It is a patchwork of quotations, because they tell different parts of this story, sometimes the same event, but then they are complementary. Here and there they are connected by a commentary of my own. Much has been adopted literally from interviews. Scans of texts written by Pierre Schunck himself after the war have an important place. Whole pages from his memories look like typewriter font. Because that was it. The corresponding scans can be found right next to it, as a miniature. Click for an enlargement.
Also I wrote, what we, his children, can still remember from his stories.
By the color of the margin line at the left you see at a glance whose words these are. If you move with your mouse over a paragraph, the source is displayed as a “tool tip” text. (Does not work on mobile devices.) Literal quote blocks from the interviews have got a darker background (not in the printed version) and are indented.
Below you find an overview of the sources
| ||Memories Pierre Schunck|
| ||Interview Nederlands Auschwitz Comité|
| ||Interview NIOD|
| ||History of Valkenburg|
| ||The hidden front, doctoral thesis by Fred Cammaert|
| ||funeral oration for “Paul”, by Theo “Harry” Goossen|
For more information about these colours, go to Sources.
- External links to websites about World War II and the Resistance in Limburg
- In the text that follows below, you can read the words “district” and “subdistrict”. For practical reasons the Dutch resistance divided the existing provinces into smaller parts. This didn’t correspond to any official classification, but it was only based on the resistance work. They used the words “district” and “subdistrict”. The subdistrict of Valkenburg, whose leader was my father, included Valkenburg itself and some villages. In the beginning it was independent, later it belonged to the district of Heerlen.
- You also will find several times the expressions "hiding people" or "divers". The latter one is the translation of the Dutch word "onderduikers". During the war it was used for all persons, who were wanted by the Germans and for whom it was better to hide, to dive into the underground. It is for them that the organization L.O. was founded. For Jews, allied pilots who had crashed on Holland, young men who didn’t want to to go to work in Germany in order to replace the German soldiers.
- To protect themselves and others, they used aliases that had the same initials as the real name. For it was still common practice that the initials of a person were embroidered in their clothes. A famous example is the organizer of the French Resistance Jean Moulin. Amongst others, he had the pseudonyms Joseph Mercier and Jacques Martel. The resistance people knew of each other only these pseudonyms. The real names became known only after the war, but on commemorations and other meetings they usually still used the resistance names. Pierre Schunck called himself Paul Simons.
What is a commemorative culture good for?
When preparing the commemoration celebrations Valkenburg 75 years freed, it turned out that almost nobody knew what the resistance in Valkenburg did. In fact, it was hardly known, especially among the youth, that there had been a resistance against the Nazi’s at all. Why is it important that this memory is kept alive? Of course, many will immediately answer, because that should never happen again. Of course that’s true, but everyone knows that history is NOT repeating itself. Hitler is dead and the current right wing populists are not just a copy of the Nazi’s. But still, there have been things back then that we still have to watch over now.
The Gestapo (Secret State Police) would have been jealous of all the options available to today’s internet giants, such as Google, Amazon, Facebook and so on, to spy on us. Today this is not done for political but for commercial reasons. The fact that the religion of people is registered in many countries does not have any political reason either. But still: when the Nazis came to power in Germany, they immediately kwew how to find the Jews, the gypsies, the unionists, the communists etc. When the wrong government is in power, all data collected can be used against us. In China this is already happening in a very effective way.
The resistance started small, almost unnoticed even by those who committed resistance. Until they suddenly realized that they were in the middle of it.
With fascism it is just like that. It starts small. Bullying at school or at work. “Because” someone is different. Different belief, different skin color, different gender orientation – whatever. And in order not to be completely shut out, the victim often laughs with them. Bullies therefore often do not even notice that they are bullying someone. It becomes worse when that bullying happens in order to make feel better the bullies as a group. This way especially disadvantaged groups often feel attracted by foreigners’ haters. Because “we don’t have nothing, but at least we are civilized people“.
Then suddenly it becomes a movement, a party, a mass murder.
If you see someone inciting to hate others, say NO. If you see someone being excluded because he or she is different: resist!
Because the resistance that’s US!
Valkenburg, an important center for people in hiding
Front of the book “Valkenburg 2019 - 75 years liberated”
Deze tekst is uit mijn bijdrage aan het gedenkboek „Valkenburg 75 jaar bevrijd”
The organized resistance in Valkenburg consisted mainly of assistance to hundreds of people in hiding, the so-called onderduikers, which is Dutch for divers. For example, men who did not want to work in the German war industry. The district consisted of Valkenburg, Berg and Terblijt, Sibbe, Margraten, Schin op Geul and Houthem. Each core had a diving head that had direct contact with the diving addresses. Couriers (mostly women) maintained the connection with the district management. Less and less was written down because of the dangers. Partly because of that, but also because of stupid luck, the LO had no losses in Valkenburg.
Since 1943, people who wanted to go into hiding came in increasing numbers from all parts of the Netherlands, although there were many German soldiers in the seized hotels in Valkenburg. But the presence of so many occupiers turned out to be a plus. Except for the KP-people Coenen and Francotte, who were dragged from one hotel to the other, before they were murdered on the Cauberg during the last days of the occupation. (The KP was the armed arm of the resistance in South-Limburg. They had their HQ in a farm in Ulestraten.)
Quite a lot of people in hiding worked in hotel kitchens, etc. They could therefore earn their own food, as well as people in hiding who were housed with farmers. They hardly needed help in the form of coupons. Many of those, who were in hiding with farmers, received an agricultural exemption from Brands, the local boss of the food agency and could then legally reside and work there.
Er bleven ongeveer honderdvijftig onderduikers over, die wel hulp van bonnen nodig hadden. Dat aantal schommelde. Precieze aantallen ontbreken, men schreef immers niets op. Op het distributiekantoor naast de tegenwoordige kabelbaan verduisterden de ambtenaren Freysen en Willems maandelijks tussen de vijfhonderd en achthonderd bonkaarten. Later werd dat aantal meer, om ook andere plaatsen van bonkaarten te voorzien. Omdat hun geknoei begin 1944 dreigde op te vallen, brak de KP er in en richtte een grote bende aan. Toevallig was er daags tevoren een grote levering van bonkaarten, rantsoenbonnen, rantsoenkaarten enz. binnen gekomen. In twaalf jute zakken werd alles weggebracht. De nachtwaker, politieman J.H. op de Ven, dook onder en laadde daarmee alle verdenking op zich. Freysen en Willems konden doorgaan met knoeien, zij het nu wat kalmer aan. Eens kwamen ongeveer honderd onderduikers op één dag op het station aan. Mensen die het wachtwoord kenden, werden door stationschef Vroemen naar de kerk doorverwezen. Daar moesten ze voor de biechtstoel gaan zitten wachten. Koster Van Ogtrop zat erin en gaf ze één voor één het adres door, waar ze heen moesten.
De Valkenburgse Joden hebben de oorlog voor een groot deel niet overleefd. Bijna niemand kon geloven, dat die verhalen over vernietigingskampen echt waren. Maar tientallen Joden, ook van elders vonden hier een schuilplaats.
Arnold Schunck, zoon van rayonleider Pierre Schunck