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



Giel Berix
Districtschef LO

St. Josefziekenhuis Heerlen

Karel van Berckel

Chef de clinique

The Heerlen district of the L.O. consisted of eight rayons (sub-districts):

  1. rayon Heerlen
  2. Hoensbroek
  3. Kerkrade
  4. Ubach over Worms
  5. Brunssum
  6. Geleen
  7. Klimmen
  8. Valkenburg

Source: Dr. Fred Cammaert, Het Verborgen Front, chapt. VIb $VIII: De L.O.-districten

Heerlen was the seat of the LO district of the same name. St. Joseph Hospital, under the direction of Chef de Clinique Karel van Berckel, played a prominent role as headquarters. The first district chief was Vicar Giel Berix. The fire chief Charles Bongaerts was “of course“ often found there.
The City Heerlen was an example of how resistance groups worked well together. They did not get along well at first, if they knew each other at all, because of the strong social compartmentalization (called pillarization) in those days. They came from very different backgrounds:

  • The mostly conservative ex-soldiers like Smit and Bongaerts, who resisted out of national considerations. They were active early on, but were also discovered relatively early by the occupiers.
  • The Catholics, who had organized themselves in the LO and the KP ( commando group). From 1943, they were by far the largest resistance organization in the mining district, but also in Limburg in general. The most important district leader of the LO of Heerlen was Giel Berix, vicar at the Pancratius Church, Heerlen’s main church.
  • The Reformed, such as rev. Pontier and Jaap Musch, who were especially active in the rescue of Jews and especially Jewish children.
  • The Communists, a cohesive group, many of them miners, who increasingly collaborated with other groups such as the LO. In proportion to the number of their members, the resistance group with the most fatalities.
  • The Social Democrats had no resistance group of their own, with the exception of the RVV, which was quite insignificant in Limburg. Worked, among others, in the team of Father Beatus.

One of the greatest networkers who succeeded in getting all these conflicting groups to work together was the Franciscan Gerard van Beckhoven, better known as Father Beatus. He and his circle of people from all these groups formed the cement of this collaboration.
An important place for all these activities was the St. Josef hospital, also known as Putgraaf Hospital, where the chirurgian and hospital director Karel van Berckel and the nuns were in charge.

Liberated: 1944-09-17

Heerlen was and is the center of the eastern part of the Dutch mining district. During the war the mines were still in full operation and they were of great importance for the supply of electricity, but also for the railroads and thus for the Germans. As a result, many young men, who did not want to go to Germany to work, could stay here legally. But there were also many people in hiding working in the mines, with false papers, because they were not watched so closely.
See also The strikes of April-May 1943.
Visit the Jewish memorial, Akerstraat, 6411GV, Heerlen. Originally, the memorial plaque was placed on the inside of the balcony above the entrance of the synagogue in Stationsstraat. After the sale of the synagogue to the pharmacy Ritsen, the plaque was moved to the Jewish cemetery.

Heerlen – 29 pers.   ⇒All the fallen resistance people in Limburg
Beckhoven, van
Pater Beatus
∗ 1899-09-21
† 1945-03-20
Heerlen - L.O. - priest - Father Beatus OFM, refugee helper with an extensive network. 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. Click on “Heerlen” above to read more about it.
More in our story Resistance in Valkenburg
wall: left, row 15-02
Beers, van
Adrianus Hubertus
∗ 1895-09-24
† 1942-08-31
KZ Groß Rosen
Heerlen - CPN - early resistance - Scaffolder, helped to bring refugees across the border. Arrested on June 24, 1941.
wall: middel, row 05-02
Berckel, van
Karel C.
∗ 1892-08-19
† 1944-09-05
Kamp Vught
Heerlen - L.O. - K.P. - press - Surgeon and chef de clinique at the St. Jozef hospital in Heerlen. He was one of those who created there an important resistance center and the beginning of the LO in the Heerlen district, from where the connection with Valkenburg was also made. Like almost all people of the Limburg L.O. he was a devout Christian. Moreover, he wrote for the Heerlen resistance paper Het Vrije Volk, The Free People.
wall: left, row 15-03
Jan Willem
∗ 1907-04-12
† 1945-03-13
Heerlen - L.O. - priest - person in hiding - During the first days of September 1943 he founded the L.O.-district Heerlen with others. Became district leader after rector had withdrawn for health reasons. See also the special page on this website.
More in our story Resistance in Valkenburg
Jan Willem Berix op de lijst van personen die tijdens de bezetting belangrijk waren voor Valkenburg.
wall: left, row 15-04
Charles M.H.J.
∗ 1909-08-07
† 1944-11-23
KZ Ladelund, KZ Neuengamme
Heerlen - early resistance - press - Ordedienst - Netw. Bongaerts - police - Married to Trees (Theresa) Dahmen. In 1940 Charles was a reserve officer in the Dutch army and during the five day battle of the Netherlands he fought on the so called “Grebbenberg Line”, that the Dutch army held to the very end, repulsing heavy assaults from the German forces. After this, Charles Bongaerts was the head of the fire service in Heerlen, center of the coal mining area and this gave him access to vehicles which enabled him to play a prominent part in the underground resistance. They put up airmen in their home and transported them south on the long journey to England via Belgium, France and Gibraltar or Switzerland. On one occasion Charles Bongaerts stopped a German convoy and, claiming to be on urgent business, got a mechanic to repair his vehicle while three American airmen were in the back. Source Joseph Marie Phillipe Bongaerts DFC, FC, OHK1
Before the war, he used to be a journalist at the daily newspaper Limburgsch Dagblad in Heerlen. Together with some others, he founded the resistance newspaper Het Vrije Volk (The Free People), not to be confused with the same-named post-war newspaper. It was directed mainly at miners and was very well informed, because they had their people everywhere, even at the SiPo in Maastricht! (Cammaert XI, p. 1077).
His group was infiltrated in 1944 (Englandspiel), Charles was betrayed too and died in a German concentration camp on the 23 November 1944.
wall: left, row 16-01
Constant Jozef Ernest
∗ 1895-09-19
Berg en Terblijt
† 1944-09-05
Kamp Vught
Heerlen - Berg en Terblijt - L.O. - “More complicated need of clothing used to be regulated by the director of the municipal social welfare office, Mr Cornips, with me. He was very competent for this due to his function. It was predominating about suits, clothes, coats etc. for families being hidden as a whole (primarily Jews) and suits and coats for prisoners of war (primarily Frenchmen) and pilots.”
The son of this Constant Cornips was Jan Cornips, the secretary of district leader Berix of the L.O. in Heerlen. Because the SiPo Maastricht searched for him but did not find him, Constant was taken away. He was executed on Dolle Dinsdag ( Mad Tuesday) in Kamp Vught.
More in our story Resistance in Valkenburg
Constant Jozef Ernest Cornips op de lijst van personen die tijdens de bezetting belangrijk waren voor Valkenburg.
wall: left, row 17-01
∗ 1905-12-10
† 1942-11-12
Heerlen - CPN - early resistance - press - Worker in a factory, liaison man for the party newspaper De Waarheid. Arrested on January 13, 1942.
wall: middel, row 06-01
∗ 1892-07-29
† 1944-11-19
Heerlen - L.O. - Pieter Mathijs Erkens was director of the brick factory N.V. Beckers-Koten’s Steenfabriek in Heerlen since 30 January 1934. During the war years 1940-1945 the factory did not produce. (Source: Paul Collard, Historich overzicht Kleiwarenfabriek Nuth BV, deel Heerlen, jan 2008,, pdf) He was arrested on June 15th, 1944.
wall: left, row 16-02
Maria Anna Clara
∗ 1915-11-16
† 1945-03-18
- This person is not (yet?) listed on the walls of the chapel. - Heerlen - L.O. - - Nurse, assistant to the medical examiner at the municipal employment office in Heerlen. "She saved numerous approved persons from being sent to Germany for forced labour by changing medical certificates on a large scale and by signing rejection certificates herself." [1]
She forged "the signature of doctor Winters from Kerkrade. Winters was an N.S.B. (Dutch Nazi party) member who approved almost everyone who was examined by him for forced labour in Nazi Germany". She worked together with the trade unionist Jan Maenen, who "treated" people with a drug that caused eczema. Mies Förster then took care of a flawless rejection. [2]
She was watched by an N.S.B. colleague by order of the SiPo Maastricht and had to go into hiding in 1943. "Her successor, Miss M.A.P. Duysens, continued Förster’s activities." [1] Their colleagues in Venlo and Roermond did the same.
She also carried out courier services. As a result of her resistance work, she contracted a serious illness from which she succumbed on 18 March 1945. [4]. According to De Nieuwe Mijnstreek [3] she saved hundreds of boys from the hands of the enemy.

This person is not (yet?) listed on the walls of the chapel.04-11
∗ 1907-11-04
Bottrop (D)
† 1942-07-24
Heerlen - CPN - press - Construction worker. On August 17, 1942, the SiPo stopped Gerards one more in Heerlerheide while he was distributing the illegal magazine De Vonk. He was shot down when he tried to escape and died in the hospital. According to the Oorlogsgravenstichting (War Graves Foundation) and he died on July 24, 1942. However, the text of the same biography on says August 17, 1942.
wall: middel, row 07-01
∗ 1923-01-13
† 1943-03-29
Heerlen - Dutch-Paris - early resistance - Group Smit - Joseph Jean Elise Janssen was an employee of a mine, a member of the Smits group and of the international resistance group and escape line Dutch-Paris, as were his uncle Joseph Lejeune and Jean Caubo.
wall: left, row 15-05
Konieczny /Koniecny,
Edmund (Ed)
∗ 1912-10-02
Lünen (D)
† 1944-09-08
Berg en Terblijt
Heerlen - L.O. - local contact - Edmund Konieczny lived in Heerlen and was an interpreter and sworn translator. His parents were born in Poland. Member of LO-Heerlen.
“Koniecny, who practiced the profession of interpreter/translator since the end of 1942, dedicated himself mainly to Poles in hiding. In addition, he collected weapons, ammunition and explosives with compatriots and carried out acts of sabotage. As a result of treason, he was arrested by fifteen SS men at his home in Heerlen on August 24, 1944.” Cammaert, p. 669
“Specialist in the care of Poles in hiding. Was freed from Maastricht prison and entered forbidden territory on his way home. Thus he was shot by the Germans on September 8, 1944.” Het Grote Gebod p. 339.
According to Cammaert, Konieczny was killed with a shot in the neck on September 7, 1944, in Berg en Terblijt by Nitsch, an employee of the SiPo in Maastricht.
The death certificate gives 8 September 1944 as his date of death.
wall: left, row 16-03
Kuypers /Kuijpers-?,
∗ 1924-07-08
† 1945-01-26
Heerlen - CPN - The oorlogsgravenstichting (Dutch War Graves Foundation) writes: “Johannes Wilhelmus Kuijpers was a waiter / member of the resistance”. In Cammaert X, Annex VIII. Arrestatie communisten en radicale socialisten 1940-1945 (Arrest of communists and radical socialists 1940-1945) we read: “Arrested on March 1, 1941 in Nieuwenhagen”. Is this one and the same person?
wall: left, row 17-02
Johan Herman
∗ 1893-10-24
† 1944-12-07
Heerlen - CPN - press - Miner. Last place of residence: Heerlerheide.
All of the following information can be found on scans posted by a family member at A summary of these documents can be found at
He was convicted of refusing to perform military service in 1916. At that time, general mobilization was in force in the neutral Netherlands. reports that his conscientious objection was due to reading the books by Tolstoy.
Married to Johnna Scholten on June 14, 1919 in Enschede.
During the occupation he distributed banned printed matter, such as Vrij Nederland and Het Parool. (Cammaert XI, p. 1042) Probably also De Vonk, as he was arrested on June 19, 1942, because of his connections to the C.P.N. (communist party). Although he does not appear as a fallen comrade in the archives of the CPN, our list also mentions CPN with his name, as he was arrested along with CPN people. See archive of the CPN in the International Institute of Social History in Amsterdam.
In a letter from the Red Cross to the family on October 25, 1945, it is assumed that he died in Neuengamme around mid-December 1944. So the registry extract of Heerlen reads: December 15, 1944 in Neuengamme, registered as such in Heerlen on December 8, 1950. He is said to have been seen in Neuengamme in December 1944 ( Reveille of the Red Cross, number 11/12, 1946)
On September 21, 2015 "Eddy" wrote at Johan Herman was deported from Amersfoort to Buchenwald. From there to Dachau and then to Natzweiler. From Natzweiler back to Dachau and from there to Neuengamme. Johan was finally transferred from Neuengamme to Bergen-Belsen, where he died on July 12, 1944.
He is on the Honor Roll of the Fallen 1940-1945 of the Second Chamber of the Parliament of the Netherlands.
wall: middel, row 07-02
∗ 1913-03-08
† 1944-09-07
This person is not (yet?) listed on the walls of the chapel. - Heerlen - Brunssum - NV - person in hiding - Jaap and Gerard Musch did their resistance work on the basis of their Christian beliefs. “The brothers Jaap and Gerard Musch from Amsterdam started their rescue work around July 1942 when the first Jews were deported. … In the summer of 1942, J. Musch moved to South Limburg to find addresses for Jewish children. He also found a job as a chemical analyst with the State Mines. Musch settled in Heerlen, where he sought contact with Reverend G.J. Pontier.” (Cammaert V, IV.2.2. De N.V.)
Jaap had to pay for that with death, after he and a number of children went in hiding in Nijverdal and were discovered by accident. Again, the children present were able to escape.
This person is not (yet?) listed on the walls of the chapel.04-22
∗ 1906-04-23
† 1945-03-09
Heerlen - L.O. - priest - Vicar in Heerlerheide. Arrested by the Landwacht on August 18, 1945. See Cammaert VIb, p. 665 and "Vier dont ut zelf - 150 jaar geschiedenis van een parochie" (150 years history of a parish). The Kapelaan Ramakersstraat behind the church in Heerlerheide is named after him.
wall: left, row 16-04
Rinzema /Rensema,
∗ 1909-02-28
† 1945-06-01
Heerlen - CPN - press - Baker. According to and his name was Rinzema, according to the card index of the CPN (communist party) it was Rensema. Since the same date of death is given, it is probably about the same person. Distributor of De Vonk and De Waarheid. Arrested in June 1942. He arrived at Dachau concentration camp on May 26, 1944, was liberated there on April 29, 1945, but died shortly thereafter as a result of the privations he had suffered.
wall: middel, row 08-01
Rooyackers /Rooijackers,
Wim A.
∗ 1918-03-13
† 1944-09-05
Heerlen - early resistance - K.P. - press - police - Wilhelmus Antonius (Wim) Rooijackers was a trade correspondent and a member of the mine police. Almost from the beginning of the war he was involved with prisoners of war who had escaped from Germany. (Cammaert III, p. 217) He also was involved in a failed assassination attempt (Cammaert IV, p. 286) and he was active in the group that distributed the illegal magazine Het Parool in South Limburg. (Cammaert XI, p. 1050) He was busted together with the midwife A.M. Bensen-Offermans, who was liberated in the Maastricht prison raid.
But Wim Rooijackers was one of many executed in Vught on Dolle Dinsdag (Mad Tuesday).
wall: left, row 17-03
∗ 1895-04-27
† 1943-05-02
Wellerlooi (Bergen [L])
Heerlen - april/may strike - Reinier Savelsberg was an electrician at the state mine Oranje-Nassau III. He participated in the April May strike of 1943. On the night of May 1 to 2, 1943, Servaas Toussaint and Meindert Tempelaars were sentenced to death in summary proceedings by the police court in Maastricht. The history behind the resistance-monument Wellerlooi
See also:
the article: als de mijnwerkers staken tegen de Duitse bezetter (When the miners strike against the German occupier). April-May Strike 1943
For the Dutch texts we recommend (free version)
wall: left, row 17-04
∗ 1923-01-01
† 1945-03-09
Heerlen - Nijmegen - L.O. - K.P. - press - Student - Student at the MTS (technical secondary school), living in Nijmegen. He took care of people in hiding and distributed illegal magazines. He also hid an American pilot. Member of the LO-Maas en Waal. On August 1, 1944 he was arrested and on March 9, 1945 he died in the Mauthausen concentration camp.
wall: left, row 18-01
∗ 1920-12-01
† 1944-12-31
Heerlen - Miner
wall: left, row 18-02
∗ 1894-11-24
† 1945-05-31
Heerlen - L.O. - Miner and helper of Jews, born November 24, 1894 in Mirns en Bakhuizen (in Gaasterland, Frisia). Married Marijke Teernstra on May 17, 1924 in Gaasterland. Despite their relative poverty, on May 7, 1944, they took in 19-year-old Martha de Lieme, who had gone into hiding and was part of the resistance. Marijke’s eldest son, from a previous marriage, betrays Martha after an argument. At the time of the arrest, their 8 children ranged in age from 5 to 18. Source: Gaasterland in de tweede wereldoorlog, het jaar 1944 (Gaasterland in the Second World War, the year 1944) Search after 19 JUNI.
“As a result of treason, Nitsch, Conrad, and land guard M. Raeven arrested Mrs. B. Heddema, the Hardeveld family from Brunssum, H. Sikkes from Heerlen, and a number of Jews, not known by name on 19 June 1944. On September 1, the Hardeveld family was released. Mrs. Heddema was liberated in Innsbruck in early 1945. Sikkes died in Bergen-Belsen on May 31, 1945. Nothing is known about the fate of the arrested Jews." (Cammaert VIb, p. 671) Hendrik Sikkes was posthumously awarded the verzetsherdenkingskruis (resistance memorial cross), and on May 6, 1980 his wife Marijke received the Yad Vashem Order for her help to her Jewish contemporaries.
wall: left, row 18-03
Leendert L.
∗ 1922-01-03
† 1945-03-03
Heerlen - person in hiding - Reason for his arrest on July 25, 1944: Shirking forced labor (euphemistically called Arbeitseinsatz, labor mission, mostly in German industry).
In the preserved Neuengamme death books (the registry of deceased prisoners), several diseases are listed from which prisoners died: enteritis, tuberculosis, dysentery, heart failure, and so on. This is obfuscation. The actual cause of death was almost always the miserable conditions in the camp. Moreover, the data are completely unreliable. Often only something was written at the registration of a death. (Source: Judith Schuyf, Nederlanders in Neuengamme: de ervaringen van ruim 5500 Nederlanders in een Duits concentratiekamp 1940-1945 (Dutch people in Neuengamme: the experiences of over 5500 Dutch in a German concentration camp 1940-1945) ISBN: 9789059940512, cited on, see link below).
wall: left, row 19-01
∗ 1916-09-09
† 1942-09-17
Heerlen - early resistance - Group Smit - police - Jef Smit from Roermond, before the war a professional soldier, chose after demobilization in July 1940 to join the police in Heerlen. He did not stay there for long. It was a thorn in his side that the public actions of N.S.B. members and other pro-German elements remained unpunished. When it also became clear that anti-N.S.B. sentiments had to be suppressed, he had had enough. He lost confidence in the police leaders and in the spring of 1941 he resigned. On 19 June he entered the service of the Oranje Nassau mine as a turner.
There he stole dynamite rods for committing acts of sabotage. (Cammaert II, p. 107)
He sought and found contact with former soldiers and others who thought as he did, in the mines and beyond. Thus was born the Group Smit.
Smit was shot and reburied on 17 May 1954 in Maastricht in grave R 20b at the Municipal Cemetery on Tongerseweg, circle of honor R: graves of 6 fallen resistance fighters from Limburg.
wall: left, row 19-02
∗ 1916-07-03
† 1945-01-07
KZ Schömberg, KZ Natzweiler
Heerlen - early resistance - press - Group Smit - Former soldier and window dresser. At first, he distributed illegal magazines and self-printed leaflets supplied by Vicar E. Hennekens from Valkenburg. They received increasing support from young people, especially family members and close friends. By the end of 1940, the secondary school students A.J.A. Rameckers, P.L.W.A. Leclou and H.H. Baeten had formed a small resistance group (Cammaert Chapter II, pp. 109 -110). According to the prayer card, he was arrested on February 2,1942, and via Maastricht, Amsterdam, Amersfoort, Vught, Buchenwald, Natzweiler, Dachau, and Ottobrünn, he got to Dautmergen, where he died on January 6, 1945.
certificate of decease on
wall: left, row 19-03
∗ 1904-06-06
Den Haag
† 1943-05-02
Wellerlooi (Bergen [L])
Heerlen - april/may strike - Meijnardus Jacobus Tempelaars was a hewer in the state mine Oranje-Nassau III. Arrested in connection with the miners’ strike on the night of May 1 to 2, 1943. He and Renier Savelsberg and Servaas Toussaint were sentenced to death by the Polizeistandgericht (court-martial of the police) in Maastricht and executed by a firing squad of the order police on the heath Hamertse Hei near Wellerlooi
demijnen. nl: De Limburgse mijnen en mijnwerkers tijdens de bezetting 1940-1944 (The Limburg coal mines and miners during the occupation 1940-1944) including the April-May strike 1943
The history of the verzetsmonument (resistance monument) Wellerlooi. According to, he was murdered in Maastricht.
wall: left, row 18-04
Harrie /Harry
∗ 1917-08-24
† 1945-03-15
Hameln (D
Heerlen - early resistance - press - Ordedienst - Netw. Bongaerts - police - carillon - Former soldier and after his demobilization by the Germans in 1940 member of the mine police. Was involved, among other things, in acts of sabotage in the Oranje-Nassau Mine I (O.N. I) in Heerlen, which was uncovered by the SiPo. In June 1942, on the advice of police friends, he went into hiding in Baexem, but just continued to help fugitives. From the speech by Dr. Fred Cammaert at the unveiling of the memorial plaque at the Peace Carillon): “Under the inspiring leadership of Charles Bongaerts, he and other former military personnel devoted themselves to all manner of resistance activities, ranging from aiding Jews, Allied airmen, and those in hiding (the so called divers), to gathering weapons and intelligence information, to producing and distributing illegal magazines and acts of sabotage. As a result of infiltrating by provocateurs in German service, he was arrested on August 6, 1943.”
wall: left, row 19-05
Vinerius /Vienerius,
Engelbert Joseph
∗ 1893-05-10
† 1942-11-17
Heerlen - CPN - press - Miner, distributor of De Vonk and De Waarheid, arrested in August 1942. Died in the main camp of Neuengamme.
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wall: middel, row 08-02
∗ 1918-11-10
† 1945-02-23
Heerlen - early resistance - press - Group Smit - Lambertus Arnoldus Vlemmings was a former soldier and after his demobilization by the Germans in 1940 parcel deliveryman at Van Gend & Loos. At the beginning of the war, he distributed underground magazines and leaflets printed by chapelain Hennekens from Valkenburg. “From the spring of 1941, the Smit group also focused on intelligence gathering and the acquisition and purchase of weapons, ammunition and explosives. Smit entrusted this task to L. Vlemmings.” (Cammaert chapter II, p.. 13) 1945 (Cammaert chapter II, p. 110.) Arrested on 02 February 1942, sentenced to 12 years in prison, died in Dachau on 23 February 1945.
wall: left, row 19-04