Groep Dresen
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Limburg 1940-1945,
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1940-1945. The resistance in the dutch province of Limburg


Groep 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 Wolf, 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. (Open Street Map)
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

Struikelsteentjes Maastricht:
Verzetsgroep Dresen/ Hage
For a detailed report, see also 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?

The fallen resistance people in Limburg

Groep Dresen – 11 pers.

Roelf H.
∗ 1868-09-25
† 1942-12-14
KZ Neuengamme
- Underground Press - Groep Dresen - Maastricht -

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 …

wall: left, row 30-01
David Leo
∗ 1923-12-07
† 1942-08-14
- Jews in resistance - Initial resistance - Groep Dresen - Maastricht - Underground Press -

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 …

This person is not (yet?) listed on the walls of the chapel.04-07
Pierre Marie Joseph
∗ 1897-02-07
† 1942-12-01
- Initial resistance - Groep Dresen - Maastricht - Underground Press -

Pierre Dresen was a resident of Maastricht, demobilized professional soldier (sergeant major in the infantry [1]), temporary cashier of the distribution service, founder of the Dresen group, …

wall: left, row 31-01
Camille Michel Joseph Guido
Guido “Kamiel”
∗ 1915-09-27
† 1943-02-11
Hauptlager Neuengamme
- Underground Press - Groep Dresen - Geulle -

Guido Droitcourt 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 …

wall: middel, row 04-02
Duijnkerke /Duynkerke,
Jan Marinus
∗ 1902-10-25
† 1943-03-04
- Initial resistance - Groep Dresen - Maastricht -

The barge master Jan 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 …
wall: left, row 31-02
Paulus Anthonius
∗ 1902-01-30
† 1945-04-27
KZ Mauthausen-Ebensee
- Underground Press - Groep Dresen - Initial resistance - Maastricht -

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 …

wall: middel, row 14-02
Dirk Izak
∗ 1909-02-17
† 1943-04-03
- Underground Press - Initial resistance - Groep Dresen - Maastricht -

After his demobilization as a soldier in 1940, Dirk Hage became a customs officer with the rank of hulpkommies and found some like-minded people in the Caberg (Maastricht) customs office. He …
wall: middel, row 17
Hendrik Theodorus
∗ 1924-04-15
† 1945-04-07
- People in hiding - Initial resistance - Groep Dresen - Knokploegen (K.P.) - Maastricht -

Henk Lemson was a tax official (direct taxes, Maastricht). [1]
He belonged to the so called Belastinggroep Maastricht (A resistance group of mainly tax officials who continued the …

wall: left, row 32-04
Hendrik A.C.
∗ 1886-03-28
† 1943-02-05
- Initial resistance - Groep Dresen - Intelligence - Forced Labor - Maastricht -

Hendrik Meulensteen was a shipping agent. His sons and a daughter sailed on barges. He and his wife ran her parents’ boatmen’s pub at Franschensingel. The regulars’ table or the back room …

wall: left, row 34-02
∗ 1917-10-08
† 1943-01-04
- Initial resistance - Groep Dresen - Maastricht -

Douwe Verhagen was a professional sergeant in May 1940 at the enclosure dam. There the Dutch …
wall: left, row 37-01
∗ 1917-09-07
† 1942-12-04
- Initial resistance - Groep Dresen - Maastricht -

In 1937, Egbert Wolf from Oldebroek (Gelderland) was called up for military service. After his training he was assigned as a sergeant to the 10th Infantry Regiment at Ede. The …
wall: left, row 36-05