Group Erkens When the Germans occupied the Netherlands, Niek Erkens was assigned to the army’s logistic department in Rotterdam and was ordered to make an inventory of the entire stock there before his release. He and his comrades did this by making substantial amounts of weapons, ammunition, and other material disappear.In September 1941, due to "talkativeness", dozens of people were arrested, also from the logistic department, and so the need arose to make people disappear as well. This was the beginning of the Erkens group. The latter came from Maastricht and was an excellent networker. Through his network, he came into contact with groups of other ex-soldiers in South Limburg such as Pierre Dresen, Charles Bongaerts and Sjef Smit. Pierre Dresen made contact with the resistance group in the border town of Eijsden, which had formed around fruit farmer Alphons Smeets and his landlord, count Raphael de Liedekerke. This new Erkens group worked closely with the Belgian groups Luc /Marc and Clarence. Read more about how they became victims of infiltration: the Hannibal game.Meer informatie bij Cammaert, chapter II, p. 79 e.v.
Fort Rhijnauwen, Bunnik
|Maastricht - early resistance - Group Erkens - Alphonse Henri Louis Dresen was chief dispatcher in Maastricht at the Dutch Railway Company and as such he knew everything about train movements in his area. Married, belonged to the resistance group Erkens-De Liedekerke, arrested in July 1942, executed on 5.1.1944 in Bunnik near Utrecht. Buried in Maastricht.|
He was a brother of Pierre Dresen
Van der Maas/ Niek
Fort Rhijnauwen (prov. Utrecht
|Maastricht - Sittard - early resistance - Group Erkens - Nicolaas Egidius Erkens was married to a Liège woman, he spoke French well and was an organizer of cross-border resistance to Belgium, especially with regard to smuggling refugees (Group Erkens). Cammaert writes (Chapter II, p.85 and 87), that he had two sisters in Sittard, with whom he was in hiding for a while and where he was arrested on November 11, 1942. This was the result of the Hannibalspiel, an infiltration by the Marineabwehr in Groningen.|
|This person is not (yet?) listed on the walls of the chapel. - Belgium - early resistance - Group Erkens - He was not a resistance fighter in the Dutch province of Limburg, but was in close contact with them and therefore also appears on this list. He was a general practitioner in ’s-Gravenvoeren (Fouron-le-Comte) since 1925. In 1940, he became a member of the Clarence resistance network, of which he became the local leader. He collected a lot of information, among other things, on railroad movements. As a result of the Hannibalspiel he was arrested on October 15, 1942 and locked up in the prison of Saint-Léonard and the Camp Vught (NL). He was shot in Bunnik. He is buried in the cemetery of Fouron-le-Comte.This person is not (yet?) listed on the walls of the chapel.02-02|
Père Hugues /Pater Hugo
|This person is not (yet?) listed on the walls of the chapel. - Belgium - early resistance - press - Group Erkens - priest - He was not a resistance fighter in the Dutch province of Limburg, but was in close contact with them and therefore also appears on this list. His resistance activity began by helping escaped French prisoners of war to continue their escape. He was a Cistercian monk in the Abbey of Val-Dieu and was ordained priest on October 21, 1932. He then taught church history at Val-Dieu, was curator of the abbey museum and novice master. He and his confrere Stephanus Muhren, whom he trained, were active in the Clarence intelligence network (dr. Jules Goffin from Fouron-le-Comte) and active in the by Clarence people so called group Holland (of Nic. Erkens, at the time in hiding wirh his sisters in Sittard). Val-Dieu and the Fouron villages are located in the middle of the Liège-Maastricht-Aachen tri-border area and were therefore predestined to serve as hubs for escape networks. The two monks hid fugitives in the monastery and on the surrounding farms and watched the German transport activity on the rail lines of the border area. They were assisted by their German abbot, Alberich Steiger, who, among other things, banqueted with high German officers. Together with Fr. Hugo and Pol Nolens, vicar at Charneux, a clandestine newspaper reproduced with a spirit duplicator at Charneux was distributed, denouncing the misdeeds of National Socialism in the three national languages (La Tribune Libre in French, Het Vrije Woord in Dutch, and Das Freie Wort in German). |
Arrested on March 19, 1943, the day after Fr. Stephen was arrested by the Geheime Feldpolizei (Secret Field Police) as a result of the Hannibal game, Fr. Hugo Jacobs was subjected to harsh interrogations in Liège in an attempt (unsuccessfully) to extract from him a confession about the abbot’s complicity or involvement. On August 11, 1943, he and ten others were sentenced to death by a court-martial in Utrecht for espionage and favoring the enemy. They were shot in Fort Rijnauwen near Utrecht on October 9, 1943. On the way to the execution site, he and his confrere wore their white Cistercian monk’s robes and loudly sang a religious hymn. His body was cremated, and the ashes were later buried in the abbey cemetery. A memorial plaque commemorates him in Fort Rijnauwen and in the abbey church of Val-Dieu.This person is not (yet?) listed on the walls of the chapel.02-03
|Liedekerke de Pailhe,
Fort Rhijnauwen, prov. Utrecht
|Eijsden - Belgium - early resistance - Group Erkens - He was one of eleven members of the Dutch resistance group around Nick Erkens executed by the Germans in fort Rhijnauwen near Bunnik, province of Utrecht. He was a reserve lieutenant in the Belgian army but lived in the Netherlands.|
Père Étienne /Pater Stephanus
|This person is not (yet?) listed on the walls of the chapel. - Belgium - early resistance - press - Group Erkens - priest - Petrus („Piet“) Johannes Cornelis Muhren was not a resistance fighter in the Dutch province of Limburg, but was in close contact with them and therefore also appears on this list. His German ancestors still wrote "Mühren", but in Dutch it is pronounced the same way.He entered the novitiate of the Dutch Cistercian Abbey of Mariënkroon in 1929 as Brother Canisius, but in 1933 he moved to the short-staffed Abbey of Val-Dieu in Aubel, Belgium, just over the border of Dutch South Limburg. There he received the monastic name Stephen (French: Étienne). He was ordained a priest in Val-Dieu on July 5, 1936. He was cantor for the next years and taught ecclesiastical law, dogmatics and philosophy at the internal teaching institution. When the Wehrmacht invaded in 1940, he initially fled to the west, distrusting his German abbot, but then returned and joined the Resistance with his confrere Hugo Jacobs. Through the general practitioner Jules Goffin, they came into contact with the intelligence and resistance network Clarence and the Erkens group. He observed the transports of the German army on the railroad lines in the area on extended bicycle tours and explained these tours with visits to women in need of pastoral help, which earned him the nickname Père Amoureux.|
Val-Dieu and Voeren are located in the middle of the Liège-Maastricht-Aachen three-country triangle and were therefore virtually predestined as a hub for escape networks. Apart from monitoring German railroad activity, the two monks also hid fugitives in the monastery and on the surrounding farms of the border area. They were sustained discreetely by their German abbot Alberich Steiger, who, among other things, dined with high German officers. He and his confrere, together with Pol Nolens, vicar at Charneux, edited an illegal newspaper, reproduced with a spirit duplicator at Charneux, denouncing the misdeeds of National Socialism in the three Belgian languages (La Tribune Libre in French, Het Vrije Woord in Dutch, and Das Freie Wort in German).
On March 18, 1943, one day before Fr. Hugo, he was arrested by the Geheime Feldpolizei (Secret Police of the German army) as a result of the Hannibal Game. On August 11, 1943, he and ten others were sentenced to death by a court-martial in Utrecht for espionage and favoring the enemy. They were shot at Fort Rijnauwen near Utrecht (Netherlands) on October 9, 1943. On the way to the execution site, he and his confrere wore their white Cistercian monk’s robes and loudly sang a religious hymn. His body was cremated, and the ashes were later buried in the Val-Dieu monastery cemetery. A memorial plaque commemorates him in Fort Rijnauwen and in the abbey church of Val-Dieu.This person is not (yet?) listed on the walls of the chapel.02-04
|Eijsden - early resistance - Group Erkens - Joseph Jean Gerard Partouns was a laboratory assistant. J. Arpots, J. Partouns, and J. Reintjens were three young men, one of whom worked for the Dutch railways. The three called themselves the Orange Triangle. They wrote down all the details about the rail traffic and passed the data to the town clerk Hubert Smeets, who typed them on cigarette papers in the town hall. Arrested in Eijsden on 05-11-1942. (Cammaert hoofdstuk II, p. 78) Imprisoned in Nacht und Nebel camp Natzweiler, died in Vaihingen, according to the War Graves Foundation on 14-01-1945.|
See also: Monument of the Fallen Resistance Fighters in Vroenhof, Eijsden.wall: left, row 08-03
|Valkenburg - early resistance - Group Erkens - Member of the early resistance group Erkens in Maastricht, co-owner of the guesthouse Samoshuis, the later hotel Parkhotel Atlanta. Nic Erkens spent some time in hiding with him, arrested in Valkenburg during the Hannibalspiel for spreading resistance literature on November 19, 1942. Piet Roks came home too late due to circumstances, saw the police cars standing in front of their house and could escape in time. Jan Joseph died in the Nacht und Nebel camp Natzweiler (Alsace) on 3 March 1944.|
Totenzettel (Mark the spelling!)
See also The Fallen in Valkenburg
More in our story Resistance in Valkenburg
Jan Joseph Rocks/Roks op de lijst van personen die tijdens de bezetting belangrijk waren voor Valkenburg.wall: right, row 27-02
Sankt Gallen (CH)
|♀ - Amby - early resistance - Group Erkens - |
Ceremony Stumbling Stones
Marie Clotilde Hélène Schoenmaeckers came from a true resistance family. Her sister Adèle and her brother Paul with his sons were also closely involved in the resistance. She was unmarried and did volunteer work. Hélène’s mother, Pauline de Rosen, was friends with the couple De Liedekerke in Eijsden. Because they spoke French well, Hélène and her sister Adèle were asked by count de Liedekerke to help care for French-speaking escaped prisoners of war. They also helped other refugees. Among others, with the help of their brother Paul, who had been living in Belgium again since his marriage and was a member of the Comet escape line. The fugitives were brought to Belgium, either in Eijsden or crossing the Meuse River from Borgharen (NL) to Smeermaas (B). Hélène and Adèle were arrested at their parents’ home, the Withuishof in Amby, on November 5, 1942. Adèle was released the next day. Lèneke was in Ravensbrück, died shortly after her liberation in a sanatorium in Switzerland, because of the deprivation she had suffered. .
Fort Rhijnauwen, prov. Utrecht
|Eijsden - early resistance - Group Erkens - Michiel Hubert Alphonse Smeets was a fruit grower and fruit merchant in Eijsden, neighbor and tenant of Raphael de Liedekerke and brother of the municipal secretary Hubert Smeets.|
In the course of 1941 a resistance group emerged in Eijsden from the local concert band, see the introduction above the list of Eijsden’s fallen resistants. They were mainly occupied with smuggling people across the border who were wanted by the Germans, but also with intelligence work. Alphons Smeets often had to go to Belgium for his work.
Arrested as a result of the Hannibalspiel, an infiltration of the Marineabwehr (counterintelligence service of the German Navy in Groningen.
See also: Memorial to the fallen resistance fighters at Vroenhof, Eijsden..
Fort Rhijnauwen, prov. Utrecht
|Eijsden - early resistance - Group Erkens - C.H.A Smeets was municipal secretary and brother of Alphons Smeets. Member of the Belgian intelligence group Luc, section Renkin. He called in the help of J. Arpots, Jozef Partouns and J. Reintjens, three young people, one of whom worked at the Dutch Railways. They called themselves the "Orange Triangle". They noted down all details about the train traffic and passed on the data to Smeets, who typed them on cigarette papers at the town hall.|
On 15 October 1942 arrested as a result of the Hannibalspiel, an infiltration by the Groningen office of the Marineabwehr, the counter intelligence service of the German navy. (By the way: Cammaert hoofdstuk II mentions two arrest dates. In an appendix he also mentions 7 October 1942). The court martial of the German air force imposed the death penalty on Smeets in Utrecht on 11 August 1943. In Eijsden the Hubert Smeetsstraat is named after him.
See also: Monument der gevallen verzetslieden in Vroenhof, Eijsden