The fallen resistance fighters in the dutch province of Limburg
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The fallen resistance fighters in the dutch province of Limburg

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In the area of Gulpen and Simpelveld, the three Coenen brothers had set up an escape route for Allied soldiers who had escaped from captivity. They often were sent from the eastern coalfield by the group around Mingelers in Kerkrade or by Father Beatus van Beckhoven from Heerlen. The best known of the three was the printer and later subdistrict chief of the LO in Simpelveld, Sjeng Coenen. Originally, these refugees were mainly French and Walloons. They were brought to Belgium by the oldest brother, sexton P.J. Coenen from Banholt and Mheer, with the help of a group of passeurs in the border villages of Slenaken and Noorbeek.
These people trafficker were the border inspector E. Piek, the customs officer H. Evenboer, and Father J.H. Everts O.F.M. of the franciscan monastery of Hoogcruts near Slenaken, who was also in direct contact with his confrere Father Beatus. In Belgium, thanks to the Kusters family of Slenaken, they found a connection with three women from Jupille and Retinne near Liège. After Evenboer was replaced by A.F. Vermeulen, a police constable in Slenaken, the group also came into contact with Th. Brentjens, the gendarmerie commander in St. Maartensvoeren and thus with the Goffin section of Clarence. These were also in close contact with the Group Erkens. Fortunately, the people trafficker were not hit by the Hannibal game.

– 6 pers.   ⇒All the fallen resistance people in Limburg
∗ 1922-08-24
† 1945-04-23
Simpelveld - L.O. - Johannus Mathias Willem Bisschoff was arrested on July 21, 1944 by the infiltrator Lambertz, a German soldier, as he was about to drive him to a diving address in Vaals, because Lambertz had said to want to go into hiding. In this Slap of Wittem, 10 people from LO Gulpen district were arrested. Seven of them did not survive the German concentration camps, including Sjeng Bisschoff.
wall: right, row 16-02
∗ 1915-01-10
† 1944-09-05
Simpelveld - L.O. - K.P. - person in hiding - carillon - Former subdistrictleader of Simpelveld. Cammaert: “After the betrayal of Wittem, J.H. Coenen from Simpelveld and W.J. Francotte from Vaals, who had worked for the illegal magazine Je Maintiendrai in Amsterdam until the summer of 1944, joined the KP. They participated in the raid on the jail of Maastricht on September 2.” They went into hiding in the Diver’s Inn in Geulhem “where suspects and difficult people in hiding were detained and interrogated. … They were arrested by the Germans on September 5th, 1944 (Mad Tuesday) during a resistance action. By order of Major Bernhardt, they were shot on the Cauberg (Valkenburg). There is a memorial stone and the monument for the fallen resistance people of Limburg on that spot.
More in our story Resistance in Valkenburg
Sjeng Coenen op de lijst van personen die tijdens de bezetting belangrijk waren voor Valkenburg.
wall: right, row 16-03
Colleije (Colleye),
∗ 1921-07-27
Eys (Wittem)
† 1949-01-25
Simpelveld - unorganized resistance - police - Josephus Hubertus Theodorus (Joseph) Colleije died after the liberation as a result of the starvation and exhaustion suffered in the prisons and camps, and was subsequently buried in Eys. Since his parents moved to Simpelveld, he too is registered there as a war victim. In the late 30’s and early 40’s he was in the ceramic art workshop in Tegelen. To avoid being called up for forced labor, he applied for police training in Schalkhaar, where he realized he had to be careful about what he said. After this training, he became a constable in the police. He also got involved in the underground, mainly to help people in need. Being aware of the dangers, he preferred to work alone. He helped to bring prisoners of war, pilots, students and Jews to safety.
wall: right, row 17-01
∗ 1921-04-16
† 1944-12-29
KZ Sachsenhausen, Oranienburg
Simpelveld - L.O. - Student - person in hiding - Hubert Joseph Dyonisius Hamers was a student at T.H. in Delft (today Delft University of Technology). In May 1943 he was forced to work in Germany. On September 1, he managed to escape again. Hamers brought people in hiding to their destination in a truck belonging to his father’s company. (Cammaert VIb, p. 695). He was arrested as a result of the Klap van Wittem (Slap of Wittem) on July 21, 1944.
wall: right, row 16-04
Frans J.
∗ 1918-12-11
† 1944-08-08
Simpelveld - K.P. - Frans Henssen was orphaned at an early age. He was a machine fitter, and during the invasion of the German army he served in an anti-aircraft battery. During the war he married Anny Schmetz. The couple had their son Wen in 1941, who was given the first name of the American president Franklin as his middle name. He sabotaged German telephone poles, made fake keys for the resistance. He was employed in a munitions factory in Aachen, where he provoked a machine malfunction. In the course of 1944 (because of this?) he was sought by the Germans and, while trying to arrest him, was shot by two patrolling land guards. The perpetrators were sentenced to long prison terms after the war. Source:
wall: right, row 17-02
∗ 1918-08-30
† 1945-03-17
Simpelveld - L.O. - Mathias Jacob Knops, civil servant. Head of the LO district of Gulpen, which included Simpelveld. He fell into German hands during the raid of Weert on June 21, 1944. He was succeeded by his deputy, Sjeng Coenen, and after the latter went into hiding and to the Knokploeg Zuidlimburg, by P. van der Linden. Knops was severely tortured by the sadistic Sipo man Richard Nitsch and therefore probably betrayed the names of other resistance fighters, hoping that in the meantime they had made their way to safety.
wall: right, row 16-05