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


Group Dresen

After his return from captivity, the 43-year-old professional NCO Pierre Dresen in Maastricht almost immediately began to establish contacts between former soldiers, of police and customs officers. Many former soldiers belonged to the latter two professional groups, because after the capitulation, the Germans gave them the choice of joining the "Opbouwdienst" (an organization founded on July 15, 1940, intended to offer employment to unemployed soldiers), border control or the police. This is how the customs officers Douwe Verhagen, Egbert Wolfs, Jan Schutrup and Dirk Hage joined the group. They worked in Maastricht at the Dutch side of checkpoint Caberg-Smeermaas to Belgium, at the end of the Brusselseweg.
Dresen also soon came into contact with civilians who would play an important role in the group: Roelf H.Bartels, the boatman Jean M. Duynkerke and the ship loader Hendrik Hendrik A.C. Meulensteen. Duynkerke usually transported cement in the Netherlands and abroad with his ship “Maria”. The home port of the “Maria” was the old port of Maastricht, the “Bassin”. Meulensteen, whose sons worked on barges, ran a small café for boatmen on the Franschensingel with his wife. The regulars’ table or the back room soon became the usual meeting place for the group.
Thus, a military-civilian resistance group was formed during 1941, which for a while was called the “RAF group” because of the planned help for downed Allied aircrews, although this had happened only rarely before. Their activities included collecting weapons and ammunition, committing sabotage, gathering military intelligence, helping escaped prisoners of war and other refugees, and distributing an underground newspaper, Oranje Post. They worked closely with other similar groups in southern Limburg.
The resistance group was betrayed by Isidoor Brandon, the Jewish (!) tenant and associate of Tom Engeln because of personal problems. Between December 1 and 12, 1941, twenty-three people from the group were arrested. Finally, on April 17, 1942, nineteen of them were tried. Pierre Dresen, Dirk Hage, and Bert Spierings were sentenced to death. Six others, including Hendrik Meulensteen, Roelf Bartels, Tom Engeln and Jan Duijnkerke were also transferred in Schutzhaft to the German concentration camp Neuengamme near Hamburg after Camp Amersfoort. (Source: Verzetsgroep Dresen/Hage at
For a detailed report, see the biography of Tom Engeln
For more information, see Cammaert, Chapter II.
In Neuengamme were murdered:

Gerrit Spierings and Jan Schutrup were also taken into Schutzhaft but survived the Nacht und Nebel camp Natzweiler. The other detainees were released on 20 October 1942 in Utrecht. The unarrested remnants of the resistance group went to the network Bongaerts.
More info at Fred Cammaert – Het verborgen front (The Hidden Front), chapter II, beginning on p. 95 and Bijlage I: Arrestaties in Limburg i.v.m. betrokkenheid bij de groep-Erkens (Appendix I: Arrests in Limburg in connection with participation in the Erkens group), p. 115.

The Belasting Groep Maastricht (Tax Office Group M.), founded by tax official M.C.M.H. Bartels (not to be confused with Roelf Bartels!), P. J. Sijmons and Derk van Assen was another continuation of the busted group Dresen.
“Apart from the L.O. and the associated combat groups, the B.G.M. was – as far as Limburg was concerned – without doubt the organization with the most connections, both in the Netherlands and abroad. The B.G.M. leadership implemented a certain division of labor, although it was not sharply demarcated. The leaders formed small groups, each covering a specific area.” (Cammaert 4.IX. De Belastinggroep Maastricht: de groep-Blok, p. 335). In Belgium, this procedure was called cloisonnement. They brought escaped prisoners of war to Belgium mainly via the border crossing near Caberg but also through the underground labyrinth of the St. Pietersberg. They worked to assist those in hiding (the so-called divers), maintained contact with and supported the political prisoners in the jail of Maastricht. This task was soon expanded. Each member worked individually and had their own responsibilities, there was mutual agreement on the various activities. (Cammaert VIb, page 644, unfortunately without translation.)
In the course of 1943, the regional leadership of the L.O., tried to gather the existing resistance groups, also in Maastricht. The B.G.M. was approached as well. For camouflage reasons they did not call themselves this way anymore and spoke rather of the group "Versleijen", "Sjeng" or "Blok". The L.O. people stubbornly continued to call them "Belastinggroep" (tax office group), which caused bad blood with the group "Versleijen". They preferred to remain independent. Collaboration was not rejected out of hand, since the group "Versleijen" benefited from a good contact with the LO. In this way, for example, distribution coupons could be obtained. After a while Hovens represented the group in the L.O. district council of Maastricht. (Cammaert VIb, p. 647)
By the way, do you already know the translator for all the parts of this site and all these links that are not translated?

Group Dresen – 11 pers.   ⇒All the fallen resistance people in Limburg
Roelf H.
∗ 1868-09-25
† 1942-12-14
KZ Neuengamme
Maastricht - press - Group Dresen - Factory owner, co-founder of the Dresen Group. Bartels and his wife Maria, 36 years his junior, had two stores in Maastricht, one in Heggenstraat and one in St. Maartenslaan. Captain in the reserve of the Dutch army. Despite his advanced age, Bartels joined the resistance. In his Tricotage house in the Heggenstraat, he housed sixty escaped Belgian prisoners of war who were then smuggled across the border. Bartels was also one of the key figures in the publication and production of the resistance newspaper Oranje Post. The first issue contained, among other things, the Guidelines for Good Dutch people that he had written. The resistance group was betrayed from within. More on this at Group Dresen. On December 12, 1941, the SiPo arrested Bartels. The resistance fighter ended up in the Neuengamme concentration camp. He died there a little more than a year after his arrest.At that time he was 74 years old.
Further information (pdf) (pdf)
Arrested according to on Nov. 2, 1941, according to Cammaert chap. II, p. 117 on Dec. 12, 1941.
wall: left, row 30-01
David Leo
∗ 1923-12-07
† 1942-08-14
This person is not (yet?) listed on the walls of the chapel. - Maastricht - Jew - early resistance - Group Dresen - Jewish butcher’s son, residing at Lenculenstraat 9 in Maastricht. He belonged to the civilian branch of the Dresen group, which was mainly engaged in the distribution of illegal leaflets and writings. For example, to finance the purchase of weapons, pictures of the royal family were sold. On May 21, 1941, David Leo was arrested by the SiPo Maastricht because signs "Verboden voor Joden" (Forbidden for Jews) had been destroyed in the city park. A stumbling stone was placed in the sidewalk in front of Lenculenstraat 9.
This person is not (yet?) listed on the walls of the chapel.04-07
∗ 1897-02-07
† 1942-12-01
Maastricht - early resistance - Group Dresen - Resident of Maastricht, demobilized professional soldier, temporary cashier of the distribution service, founder of the Dresen group, which initially also called itself the RAF group. (Cammaert hoofdstuk II-II. De groep-Dresen, from p. 94). See also Mestreech online.
He was a brother of Alf Dresen
wall: left, row 31-01
∗ 1915-09-27
† 1943-02-11
Hauptlager Neuengamme
Geulle - press - Group Dresen - Kamiel Michel Josef Guido had a German mother and a French father and was born in Berlin. At the age of 20 he came to Geulle with his mother, her husband and his half-brother. In July 1941 the first Allied plane was shot down at Geulle. One crew member came to Guido Droitcourt, but then fell into German hands. Guido joined the resistance group around Pierre Dresen. A year after the German invasion, he helped produce a first leaflet. On November 1, 1941, the first copy of the Oranje Koerier ran off the spirit duplicator with an edition of 175. (Cammaert Chapter II-II. De groep-Dresen, pp. 95-107) Arrested on Dec. 1, 1941.
See his data on the Neuengamme page: The Dead 1940-1945 There he is named: Kamill Michel Josef Guido
There is a Stolperstein (stumbling stone) for him at Heirweg 2, Geulle.
wall: middel, row 04-02
Duijnkerke /Duin… /Duyn…,
Jan M.
∗ 1902-10-25
† 1943-03-04
Maastricht - early resistance - Group Dresen - The barge master J.M. Duynkerke usually transported cement in the Netherlands and abroad with his boat Maria, but also refugees. The home port of the Maria was the old harbor of Maastricht, the Bassin. Arrested 09-12-1941.
wall: left, row 31-02
Paulus Anthonius
∗ 1902-01-30
† 1945-04-27
KZ Ebensee
Maastricht - early resistance - press - Group Dresen - Paulus Anthonius (Tom) Engeln, a shopkeeper and leather goods manufacturer living in Maastricht, was of German descent and divorced from a German wife, Betsy Wanger, with whom he had three children. In 1942 they were 4, 7 and 12 years old. In the back room of his shop, he printed the illegal newspapers “Vrij Nederland” and the “Oranje Post,” which were distributed through the Dresen group. He sheltered the Amsterdam Jew Isidoor Brandon, who also became his business partner, and Brandon’s girlfriend Cor Meijer. Brandon owed him money and was also afraid for his own safety. For this reason, he and Meijer betrayed Tom and the entire Dresen group. On Friday, November 28, 1941, he and several others were arrested. In the following days, almost the entire Dresen/Hage resistance group, twenty-three resisters, were arrested. The three most important members of the “Oranje Koerier” group, Pierre Dresen, Dirk Hage and Gerrit Spierings, were sentenced to death. Tom and eight others were sent to various camps such as Buchenwald and the "Nacht und Nebel" camp of Natzweiler-Struthof (Alsace) and eventually to the Ebensee concentration camp, where he finally died of exhaustion in the infirmary on April 27, 1945, a week before the camp was liberated. He was 43 years old then.
There is a stumbling stone in front of the house Bredestraat 37, Maastricht
Detailed account in the biography of Tom Engeln. This is a translation of the biography of Tom Engeln at
wall: middel, row 14-02
∗ 1909-02-17
† 1943-04-03
Maastricht - early resistance - press - Group Dresen - After his demobilization as a soldier in 1940, Dirk Izak Hage became a customs officer with the rank of hulpkommies and found some like-minded people in the Caberg (Maastricht) customs office. He was to play such an important role in the Dresen group that it is also called the Dresen-Hage group. He bought through L.F.R. Spierings from Rekem (Belgium) a spirit duplicator by means of which leaflets were produced. Initially, the device switched between Dresen, Hage and Bartels, after that it stood in the presbytery in Geulle at Droitcourt. Hage took the lead in setting up a Maastricht version of the "Oranje Post," a clandestine information bulletin.
He is listed on the memorial in the State Tax Office in Maastricht (see link).
wall: middel, row 15-01
∗ 1924-04-15
† 1945-04-07
Maastricht - early resistance - K.P. - Group Dresen - person in hiding - Hendrik Th. Lemson was a tax official (direct taxes, Maastricht) and belonged to the so called Belastinggroep Maastricht (A resistance group of mainly tax officials who continued the work of Group Dresen after it had been busted). He had to go into hiding and did so in Makkum (Frisia), where he joined the combat unit KP-Sneek, group III. Arrested in a major raid as a result of betrayal by Dutch SiPo V-men Jan Harm Brouwer and Matthijs Adolf Ridderhof. He was executed behind the then police station of Makkum. His name is on the resistance memorial in Makkum along with those of five other executed resistance fighters. Five people of the KnokPloeg, which by then had become part of the Binnenlandse Strijdkrachten (Domestic Forces): Bob Dijkstra (BS), Sjoerd Adema (BS), Koos Keller (BS), Henk Lemson (BS), Jan Emmens (BS), as well as the hospitable cattle farmer Fetze Elgersma of the LO. as well as the hider Herman Falkena. Buried in Makkum.
Memorial in the tax office of Maastricht.
wall: left, row 32-04
Hendrik A.C.
∗ 1886-03-28
† 1943-02-05
Maastricht - early resistance - Group Dresen - Shipping agent. His sons sailed on a barge. He and his wife ran her parents’ boatmen’s pub at Franschensingel. The regulars’ table or the back room soon became a regular meeting place for the Group Dresen. Of course, Meulensteen knew reliable boatsmen for clandestine cargo to Belgium. In and around the house he hid weapons and explosives stolen from the ENCI limestone open pit. Meulensteen also gathered military intelligence.
Source and further information: Biography on (pdf)
Arrested on December 2, 1941 as a result of betrayal by Tom Engeln’s companion. For more details see there.
Stolperstein (stumbling stone) in front of the house Fransensingel 65
See also Cammaert, Chapter II, §II: The Dresen Group).
wall: left, row 34-02
∗ 1917-10-08
† 1943-01-04
Maastricht - early resistance - Group Dresen - Douwe Verhagen was a professional sergeant in May 1940 at the enclosure dam, where the Dutch defenders defied the invading troops of Nazi Germany the longest. From the summer of 1940, he worked at the Caberg (Maastricht) border checkpoint. There was a decidedly anti-German mood. He was arrested on December 2, 1941.
wall: left, row 37-01
∗ 1917-09-07
† 1942-12-04
Maastricht - early resistance - Group Dresen - Customs officer, working at the Maastricht-Caberg border office. A strong anti-German mood prevailed there. He belonged to the RAF group, arrested 1 or 2 December 1941. (Cammaert hoofdstuk II, p. 96) Stumblestone or stolperstein Schildersplein 13, Maastricht
Monument in the Maastricht tax office
wall: left, row 36-05