Gerardus van Beckhoven <i>(Pater Beatus)</i>
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All the fallen resistance people in Limburg

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Gerardus van Beckhoven (Pater Beatus)


 1899-09-21 Amsterdam      1945-03-20 Bergen-Belsen (45)
- Heerlen - initial resistance - L.O. - underground press - person in hiding - priest -



Het Grote Gebod – L.O.

    Gerard van Beckhoven or Father Beatus van Beckhoven OFM was kapelaan (vicar) in Heerlen at the rectorate church of St. Francis on the Laanderstraat in Heerlen [1] and there he became a refugee helper with an extensive network.
    As early as 1940 he was consulted by W.J. Cordowiner, a German resident of Heerlen, who, together with his sister, helped French-speaking escaped prisoners of war on their way home. Cordowiner’s house remained a transit home for POWs and Jews until he himself had to go into hiding in early December 1942. Father Beatus used to arrange that the refugees to be picked up by confidants who took them across the border, presumably to Maastricht or Slenaken/Noorbeek/Hoogcruts. [2.1]
    He was in fact the hub of the resistance in Heerlen, who had contact with everyone and thus enabled cooperation between a wide variety of people.
    Several groups that helped those in hiding cooperated with the L.O. but largely retained their independence. One such group, in which Social Democrats, Protestants, and Catholics worked together, was led by the Franciscan G.L.J. van Beckhoven (Father Beatus). Although the group did not have a tight organizational structure and several members maintained their own liaison networks, there was a certain cohesion. Most of the protagonists, such as Van Beckhoven, Mrs. M.A. Hoogland, Mrs. S.A.M. Lemmens-Bisschops, A.M. van Kranen, W. Slooten, and R. Boxem, knew each other and had connections to the L.O. or worked for that organization, as Boxem did. The fact that these helpers were all involved in helping Jewish persons in hiding was probably the reason for their relatively independent attitude: after all, this was an illegal activity that had already begun in 1942 and had resulted in a large number of connections at a time when there was no LO. [2.2]
    He also distributed banned magazines, for example Trouw. [2.3]
    After the arrest of someone who knew too much, in February 1944, he had to go into hiding and since then led a nomadic existence. On June 17, 1944, he was arrested on a train near Rotterdam. [3]
    Click on “Heerlen” above to learn more. Detailed information also in the Dutch Wikipedia. [8]
    He is listed in the “Erelijst 1940-1945” (Honor Roll of the Dutch Parliament). [4]

    1. Bisdom Roermond Herdenking in oorlog omgekomen priesters en religieuzen
    2. Dr. F. Cammaert, Het Verborgen Front – Geschiedenis van de georganiseerde illegaliteit in de provincie Limburg tijdens de Tweede Wereldoorlog. Doctorale scriptie 1994, Groningen
      1. Hoofdst. 3, Hulpverlening aan uit Duitsland ontvluchte (Franstalige) krijgsgevangenen p.216
      2. Hoofdst. 6, De Landelijke Organisatie voor hulp aan onderduikers, p.665
      3. Hoofdst. 11, Illegale pers, p.1057
    3. Drs. L.E.M.A. van Hommerich, Het Grote Gebod Deel 1, Hoofdstuk 1 De L.O. Limburg
    4. Erelijst 1940-1945
    5. Oorlogsgravenstichting.nl
    6. https://www.ushmm.org/online/hsv/person_view.php?PersonId=5109157
    7. More in our story Resistance in Valkenburg
    8. Wikipedia NL: Beatus van Beckhoven

    wall: left, row 15 #02