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



D’r Joep

Dr. Kreijen, 1952

The April-May Strikes 1943

Communiqué of the High Führer of the SS and the police of the provinces of Limburg and North Brabant on the death sentences related to the strike in the mines from April to May 1943.
On July 1, 1946, a mass grave containing seven bodies was discovered in Wellerlooi (municipality of Bergen) on the Wellse Heide (now the nature reserve Landgoed de Hamert). There an oak wood cross stands on a red brick wall, the resistance monument, as a permanent reminder of the seven resistance fighters Han Boogerd, Bob Bouman, Leendert Brouwer, Pieter Ruyters, Reinier Savelsberg, Meindert Tempelaars and Servaas Toussaint, shot in connection with the strike in 1943.
In the Dutch coal mining area this strike was called miner’s strike. The actual mining area stretched from Geleen to Kerkrade, but a not inconsiderable number of miners lived outside of it, for example in Valkenburg. In Maastricht, the strike was initiated by government employees. Later bank staff joined in. When the postal workers also wanted to go on strike, the members of the nazi party NSB present forced them to continue working with all sorts of threats. Long queues of people immediately formed in front of all the counters, wanting to buy one single 1-cent stamp. This way the post office was closed too. The factories also joined.
In the beginning there was a party atmosphere. People flocked to the pubs and didn’t suspect (or didn’t want to think about it) that the occupiers would of course not tolerate this and that there would be victims. These events made it clear that attempts to lure the Dutch with the status of an “Aryan brother nation” had failed.
The miners’ strike was part of the strikes of April-May 1943. The background was the return of Dutch soldiers to captivity, planned by the occupiers, to be put to work in the German war industry. They were the transition to a more massive resistance movement throughout the Netherlands, including the province of Limburg. The strikes were brutally suppressed, but the resistance organizations gained more new members (perhaps even because of this?). For the majority of Dutch Jews, however, it was already too late. :(

Kerkrade is the easternmost town in the Dutch mining district. Coal mining started here. It played such an important role that a statue has been dedicated to it: D’r Joep, see right. But this Joe has nothing directly to do with the miners’ strike.
Click on the image to the left, to read more about this item.

During the liberation of South Limburg, the advance of the Allies came to a halt for a time. Kerkrade was suddenly front city and the population of East Kerkrade had to be evacuated. Because the Germans had confiscated all vehicles, this was done with wheelbarrows and the like. Doctor Kreijen of the Sint-Jozef Hospital managed by negotiation, also to get the remaining patients and staff through a corridor to liberated territory. Click on his photo to read more about it.

Liberated: 1944-10-05

Kerkrade – 7 pers.   ⇒All the fallen resistance people in Limburg
oom Kees
∗ 1893-07-31
† 1945-05-31
Kerkrade - - press - RVV - Jan Willem Creusen was a civil servant at the Distribution Office and former chairman of the local Unie, he was also involved in helping, among others, Jewish persons in hiding and managed the distribution of the magazine “Je Maintiendrai” in Kerkrade. He was the chief courier of the R.V.V. for the south of the Netherlands and contact person between the leadership and the region. He traveled a lot. One day after the arrest of Paul Guermonprez on April 4, 1944, Creusen was arrested on a train between Utrecht and Maarssen with a suitcase full of food stamps and other documents. It is highly unlikely that this was due to Guermonprez’s arrest, as no other arrests followed, except André Gubbels, until four months later. Creusen succumbed to the effects of hardships in German camps on May 31, 1945. (Cammaert IX, pp. 947-952)
wall: left, row 26-01
∗ 1922-07-12
Herzogenrath (D)
† 1944-06-10
Kerkrade - Belgium - Miner in Belgium. Belonged there to the resistance organization Armée Secrète (A.S.) or Geheim Leger (Secret Army). This was at first primarily an anti-communist organization. It was, like the OD in the Netherlands, formed from an initiative of royalist professional soldiers from the pre-war army. Their aim was to prevent a power vacuum towards the end of the war, for fear of a communist coup. Unlike parts of the OD, the A.S. became a real resistance organization, engaged in, among other things, raids on German trains and army cars. In April 1944 Johann was arrested, in June shot for illegal possession of weapons. According to kerkradewiki during an escape attempt on 4 May 1943.
In the citadel of Liège you find on the cemetery Enclos des Fusillés 415 memorial crosses resp. graves of present bodies. On Description du site it says: “A Dutchman was repatriated on September 17, 1957.” That must be Johann, because he is now (re)buried in the National Field of Honor in Loenen, grave E894. (see In Liège he is incorrectly listed as Johana, probably due to a reading error. The date of death there (11 June 1944) hardly differs from the information at (10 June 1944).
wall: left, row 25-01
∗ 1902-01-30
† 1943-05-04
Kerkrade - april/may strike - Miner Henderich Horstmann from Kerkrade participated in the mine strike at the Domaniale Mine and was arrested there. When transferred from prison to the courtroom on 4 May 1943, he tried to escape, but was hit by a bullet in his arm. On order from the commanding officer, he was shot dead in the street immediately afterwards. (Cammaert VIa, page 493) Lies in the Municipal Cemetery at Kaalheide, grave 4-86
List of Honour 1940-1945.
wall: left, row 25-02
∗ 1924-06-30
† 1944-08-30
Kerkrade - Student - Hubert Joseph Kerres was a student and Engelandvaarder (England sailer). As such he is listed on the wall plaque in the chapel at the cemetery of honor in Loenen. The newsletter from the Englandvaarders Museum (November 2017) also doesn’t know any more and asks for information. See also the story of Kees Droogleever-Fortuyn, another Engelandvaarder who returned to the Netherlands and fell into German hands.
Do you know more? Write us!
wall: middel, row 13-02
∗ 0000-00-00
† 0000-00-00
Kerkrade - Maastricht - L.O. - priest - Hein Lochtman ?
wall: left, row 25-03
∗ 1911-09-02
† 1945-02-27
Bergen Belsen
Kerkrade - Maastricht - L.O. - priest - Vicar in Limmel from 1940 and member of LO in Maastricht. He hid people in hiding. On May 10, 1944, he was arrested as a result of betrayal by Aldegonda (Gonnie) Zeguers-Boere and so mistreated that he was unconscious for a long time. See also: The Betrayal of Maastricht
On September 5, 1944, he arrived in the Sachsenhausen concentration camp near Oranienburg, where he was forced to work in the Heinkel aircraft factory. When the Red Army approached, he was evacuated to Bergen-Belsen, where he died. In 1982 he was posthumously awarded the Verzetsherdenkingskruis (Memorial Cross of the Resistance).
On the wall of the chapel in Valkenburg is also written under Kerkrade a Hein Lochtman. Probably the same person.
wall: left, row 33-04
Ommeren, van
∗ 1919-11-14
† 1944-09-11
Kerkrade - Apprentice train driver with the Dutch railroad company. A few days before the liberation, he was part of a group of people waiting for an extra portion of flour at the Welter mill in Heerlen. But because of the ban on gathering, a suddenly appearing group of about 20 nervous German soldiers opened fire. Frits was mortally wounded.
wall: left, row 25-04