Dutch Anti-fascism and Anti-communism

Like many Dutch communists, four Kloostra brothers and three of their brothers-in-laws became victims of an anti-communist operation that started in January 1923 and was continued after the Dutch capitulation in May 1940 on orders from the burgomaster of The Hague. The 1923 operation was part of the late 1917 anti-communist activities of the Dutch Intelligence and Security Service.

Part 2: The Fight Against Communism

By Mario Kloostra and Rudi Harthoorn/Revision and translation editing by Maria Busch

The International Criminal Police Commission

With the primary purpose of fighting communism, the International Criminal Police Commission (ICPC) was founded in 1922. Known today as Interpol, the ICPC was a cooperative network of national police intelligence services.

Police Commissioner of Amsterdam, Karel Henri Broekhoff became the Dutch representative. The ICPC soon agreed upon a thorough infiltration of all communist parties. Broekhoff spearheaded the infiltration of communist parties in numerous Dutch cities; in The Hague the best-known informant was Johannes Hubertus van Soolingen who turned many communists in to the Dutch Intelligence and Security Service.

The Fight Against Communism: Minister of Justice, Josef van Schaik, 1951

Josef van Schaik

The Fight Against Communism: Karel Henri Broekhoff. Starting in 1923, he prepared for the assassination of hundreds of Dutch communist resistance fighters

Karel Henri Broekhoff

By 1935 a fundamental nazification of the ICPC had taken place. The Dutch Minister of Justice, Josef van Schaik, instructed Broekhoff to start a collaboration with the Gestapo branch of the Reichssicherheitshauptamt (‘Reich Main Security Office’) in Berlin.

The Fight Against Communism: Heinrich Müller, Chief of the Gestapo, in charge of the fight against Dutch communism from January 1935

Heinrich Müller

Collaboration with the Gestapo

The first meeting took place on the 4 and 5 January 1935 [1]. Broekhoff collaborated with some of the leading architects of Holocaust, including Chief of the Gestapo, Heinrich Müller, who was responsible for the implementation of the genocide of Jews known as the Final Solution and consequently one of the biggest mass murderers of the 20th century.

The Fight Against Communism: Ernst Knorr, inspector of the Sicherheitsdienst (SD) and Untersturmführer of the SS, 1945

Ernst Knorr, 1945

Broekhoff also collaborated with Obergruppenführer of the Sicherheitsdienst, SD (SS and Nazi Party Security Service), Bruno Friedrich Wolff, who, in May 1940, was in charge of the fight against communism in the Netherlands. Wolff encouraged the use of violence against the arrested communists — an encouragement which sadist Ernst Knorr, inspector of the SD and Untersturmführer of the Schutzstaffel (SS), followed with great pleasure. In one case Knorr said to a communist to be tortured: ‘Singen mussen Sie’ – You will sing [2].

The collaboration translated into two lists (one in 1936 and one in 1939) of Dutch active communists which were handed over to the Gestapo causing the deaths of hundreds of Dutch communists. These lists were the direct reason the Gestapo caught on to Tjerk Kloostra – one of the four Kloostra brothers to whom this short series of articles is dedicated.

Minister of Justice (24 June 1937–25 July 1939) Carel Goseling

Minister of Justice Carel Goseling

Anti-communist activities during the occupation

By 1938, Nazi-Germany’s objectives were obvious to most observers which makes it even more alarming that the Dutch Minister of Justice, Carel Goseling, in 1938 ordered the police—including the Intelligence and Security Service—to continue their activities in the likely scenario of a German occupation of the Netherlands [3]. This order would eventually claim the lives of a thousand Dutch communists and send another thousand to concentration camps.

The Fight Against Communism: Salomon Jean René de Monchy, burgomaster of The Hague, December 1943

Salomon Jean René de MonchyPolygoon Hollands NieuwsLicense

On 10 May 1940, Germany invaded the Netherlands. Five days later, 15 May 1940, the Dutch forces surrendered to Germany. On the very day of the capitulation and under the order of the Minister of Justice, the burgomaster of The Hague, Salomon Jean René de Monchy, ordered the municipal security service to continue their anti-communist activities. Informant van Soolingen was approached and requested to continue his infiltration of Communist Party of the Netherlands (CPN), which was being transformed into an underground resistance organisation [4].

The infiltration would cost the lives of about 100 communists from the region around The Hague (Leiden-Delft) and 40 communists from the region of Rotterdam. A comparable number survived prolonged internment in concentration camps. From existing material, we know of four arrest waves between 1941 and 1945, prompted by van Soolingen’s intelligence information [5].

The first arrest wave

The first arrest wave started on 28 April 1941 with the arrest of four communists by the Sicherheitsdienst to prevent the distribution of International Workers’ Day flyers. A report was sent to Berlin stating that about 40 more arrests were expected and showing which information was supplied by van Soolingen. Based on his information and information obtained during interrogations under torture between April and November 1941, over 150 communists were arrested by mixed units of German and Dutch security service officers.

The torture was also carried out by German and Dutch security service officers and a Dutch security service pre-war informant. Of the 150 arrested communists, 57 would die under their hands and 49 would spend a part of their imprisonment in the Dachau Concentration Camp [6]. During the initial arrest roundup, four members of the Kloostra family were arrested: Jan Kloostra, Frederik Hendrik (Fred) Donderwinkel and Cor Rademaker, who died in 1942 in the Groß Rosen Concentration Camp.

Entrance of the Groß Rosen Concentration Camp, 2007

Groß Rosen Concentration Camp entrance, 2007Jacques LahitteLicense

Prompted by the German invasion in the Soviet Union, the Kloostra family’s brother-in-law Frans van den Berg was arrested by the Dutch Intelligence and Security Service 25 June 1941 and received the same treatment as those arrested in connection with the infiltration of the Dutch communist party.

Some communist escaped the repressive waves of persecution — at least for a while. Amongst them were Reinder Kloostra and Willem (Willy) Frederik Donderwinkel (brother-in-law) who were, however, eventually arrested.

2 September 1942, communist Herman Holstege was cruelly tortured to death by German and Dutch security service officers in the Scheveningen prison (nicknamed Oranjehotel – the Orange Hotel). When Knorr trust a truncheon up Holstege’s anus, fatally damaging his internal organs, his roar of pain resounded throughout the prison, leaving the inmates horrified [7].

Scheveningen prison in The Hague, nicknamed Oranjehotel (Orange Hotel)

Scheveningen prison in The Hague, nicknamed Oranjehotel (Orange Hotel)Arjan de Jager KleinLicense

Although it has later been claimed that Holstege only provided false information, the next two days two of his closest collaborators in Rotterdam were arrested. It is believed that the information he provided during torture and the subsequent house searches resulted in the arrest of about 180 communists, of whom 47 would be killed and 13 sent to the Dachau Concentration Camp [8].

The second arrest wave

The second wave took place in May 1942—mainly in Delft (South Holland)—during which about 80 communists were arrested of whom seven would be killed: two were executed and five succumbed to death in concentration camps. However, most of them were released. About 20 prisoners were sent to concentration camps, two of them to Dachau [9].

Entrance to the Dachau Concentration Camp

Entrance to the Dachau Concentration CampRennett StoweLicense

The third arrest wave

The third wave started in December 1942 with the arrest of the communist resistance leader in The Hague, Jacob (Jaap) Boekman, who fell into a trap set up by the Dutch Intelligence and Security Service with the aid of informant van Soolingen. Subsequently, over 40 communists would be arrested 15 of whom would be killed: seven by execution, seven in concentration camps and one, Tjerk Kloostra, was shot through the head by police officer Jochem de Graaf after a gunfight with the Dutch police 24 February 1943. Of the detainees, nine spent time in the Dachau Concentration Camp. Among those arrested were Johan Kloostra and his brother-in-law Willy Donderwinkel [10].

The fourth arrest wave

The fourth arrest wave took place on 9 March 1945. Four persons were arrested, of whom three were executed on the 12 March 1945. The detainee who escaped execution, a woman, was released a month later. Blissfully ignorant of the fact that he was a security service informant, she had been in close contact with van Soolingen. During interrogations, a Dutch security service officer accidentally revealed information which made her realise van Soolingen’s true identity. Due to her vigilance, the entire event could be reconstructed after the war.

The aftermath

After the war, a large square in The Hague was named after burgomaster De Monchy, who was responsible for the death of at least 130 communist resistance fighters.

Dutch historians have never carried out an in-depth investigation into the fate of the Dutch communist resistance fighters. There is evidence to suggest that the infiltration in The Hague, starting in 1923 and continued throughout the German occupation, took place in other parts of the Netherlands as well.

The full death toll from this political persecution and other involvements of the Dutch authorities in combatting communist resistance against Nazism probably amounts to thousands. It is estimated that the Dutch authorities are directly responsible for the deaths of approximately two thousand communist citizens, which accounts for about two-third of the total death count of communists.

Sources and notes:

[1] Report from the meeting between Karel Broekhoff and members of the Gestapo 4 and 5 of January 1935: Bekämpfung Kommunismus (Fight Against Communism) by the Reichssicherheitshauptamt, RSHA (The Reich Main Security Office) in Berlin, Moscow collection, NIOD Instituut voor Oorlogs-, Holocaust- en Genocidestudies (Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies), Amsterdam.

[2] Harthoorn, Rudi: Haags communistisch verzet – Sicherheitsdienst, Wehrmacht en SS.

[3] Circular from Minister of Justice, Carel Goseling to the mayors in the Netherlands, Justice Department, Dep. A.S., nr. 2350 Zeer Geheim (top secret), 25 April 1938.

[4] Biography by Johannes Hubertus van Soolingen in his pardon file, National Archives. In the biography, Soolingen confesses he had infiltrated the Hague CPN since January 1923 at the request of the Dutch Intelligence and Security Service and mentions that the Dutch Intelligence and Security Service approached him a few weeks after the German invasion with a request to continue the infiltration.

[5] Former prisoner in the Dachau Concentration Camp, Christiaan van Spronsen wrote in his 1979 application for a resistance pension that van Soolingen was in his resistance group in 1941, Stichting (Foundation) 1940-1945.

Johannes Hubertus Veefkind wrote in Vertrauliche Mitteilung über die illegale CPN in Den Haag (Confidential communication about the illegal CPN in The Hague) that van Soolingen informed him of an active group of communists in Delft: Special Criminal Procedures Central Archives (CABR) 107, file Veefkind, National Archives. This information led to the second communist arrest wave.

In the same file Veefkind reported that van Soolingen had informed him he had infiltrated the CPN again. This turned out to be with the involuntary help of Johannes Philippus Bronkhorst (former prisoner of the Dachau Concentration Camp). The information van Soolingen had gained and the information he obtained after the entrapment of the Jewish communist resistance leader Jacob Boekman led to the third arrest wave.

For information about the way van Soolingen lured Jacob Boekman into a trap cf. statements by Intelligence officers Cornelis Bakker, Cornelis Heijnis and Jilis van der Waard, respectively CABR 71245, 431 and 308.

Toward the end of 1944, van Soolingen infiltrated the CPN again, which led to the fourth arrest wave: Confession by van Soolingen in his files at CABR, files 76478 and 91269.

[6] People arrested in the first communist arrest wave who spent a part of their imprisonment in Dachau

A: Hendricus Arendse (6 September 1944–29 April 1945)

B: Martinus van Beek (6 September 1944–19 September 1944), Balt de Buijzer (6 September 1944–29 March 1945), Johannes Bronkhorst (26 May 1944–29 April 1945)

C: Henryk Chef d’Hotel (30 October 1942–† 26 June 1943), Krijn Chef d’Hotel (7 July 1942–†8 August 1942), Cornelis Compter (6 September 1944–14 September 1944)

D: Johannes van Driel (8 September 1944–†9 February 1945), Johannes Duhen (6 September 1944–22 October 1944), Carel Hendrik Duran (6 September 1944–29 April 1945)

G: Johannes Gisolf (12 September 1942–29 April 1945), Niucolaas de Goede, Gerrit Guit (12 August 1942–†24 August 1942)

H: Albert de Haas (6 September 1944–29 September 1944), Willem Lodewijk Harthoorn (9 August 1942–29 April 1945), Hendrik Cornelis Holstein (6 September 1944–14 August 1944), Bernardus Huisman (30 October 1942–†31 October 1942)

J: Simon de Jong

K: Jan Keuvelaar (1 August 1942–29 April 1945), Jan Kloostra (12 September 1942–29 April 1945), Evert van Kommer (6 September 1944–† 23 February 1945), Teunis van der Kroft (6 September 1944–29 April 1945), Johannes Kuiper (26 May 1944–29 April 1945),

L: Jacobus Lezwijn (30 October 1942–†31 January 1945), Jan Lepelaar (30 October 1942–†19 January 1943)

M: Jacobus Marijt (11 September 1943–29 April 1945), Johannes Montfoort (6 September 1944–29 April 1945)

N: Cornelis Neven (6 September 1944–16 September 1944)

O: Johannes Cornelis Onvlee (30 October 1942–19 September 1944), Dirk Maarten Oort (1 August 1942–†11 August 1942), Franciscus Petrus Wilhelmus van Ophem (6 September 1944–†17 February 1945)

P: Henricus Joannes Gerardus Paalvast, Bastiaan van Pouderoijen (12 September 1942–†12 October 1942)

S: Frederik Hendrik Ferdinand Maria van Sandwijk (7 July 1942–10 November 1942), Markus Schmaal, Cornelis Hermanus Simonis (6 September 1944–22 October 1944), Christiaan Franciscus van Spronsen (12 September 1942–29 April 1945), Franciscus van der Stal (30 October 1942–†13 January 1945), Cornelis van Staveren (30 October 1942–15 October 1943)

T: Johannes Teske (6 September 1944–12 May 1945), Willem Theil (6 September 1944–†23 February 1945)

V: Leendert Christiaan Vogel (6 September 1944–29 April 1945)

W: Paulus van Wandelen (9 August 1942–†18 August 1942), Hendrik van Welzen (1 August 1942–12 December 1944), Nicolaas Wilhelmus Wijnen (6 September 1944–14 September 1944), Frederik Gerrit Willems (7 July 1942–†1 September 1942), Simon Wolff (12 September 1942–29 April 1945), Alexander van Wouw (30 October 1942–†5 July 1943).

[7] Harthoorn, Rudi: Haags communistisch verzet – Bijzondere personen uit verzet.

[8] People arrested as a result of the torture of Herman Holstege who spent a part of their imprisonment in Dachau: Gerrit Cornelis Bom (26 May 1944–12 December 1944), Arie Donker (5 September 1944–†24 September 1944), Johannes Wilhelmus van Dooren (26 May 1944–29 April 1945), Dirk Keizer (26 May 1944–29 April 1945), Frederik Kok (26 May 1944–†31 January 1945), Jacobus Mackaij, Casparus Dirk Markenstein (26 May 1944–29 April 1945), Pieter van der Ster (26 May 1944–20 January 1945), Cornelis Jacobus Tazelaar (26 May 1944–†22 March 1945), Hendricus van Toor (6 September 1944–†16 October 1944), Frederik Bernardus Wilhelmus Maria Urbanus (26 May 1944–†10 March 1945), Gerardus Vleugels (26 May 1944–2 November 1944), Adrianus Wijngaard (26 May 1944–29 April 1945).

[9] People arrested in the second arrest wave who spent a part of their imprisonment in Dachau: Hendrik Antonius van den Bosch (26 May 1944–29 April 1945) and Gerhardus van der Lee (6 August 1944–24 August 1944).

[10] People arrested in the third arrest wave who spent a part of their imprisonment in Dachau: Jacob Bijl (26 May 1944–11 August 1944), Evert Brand (26 May 1944–29 April 1945), Willem Arend Herder (26 May 1944–29 April 1945), Lodewijk Antonius Wilhelmus Jansen (26 May 1944–24 August 1944), Rokus Kleingeld (26 May 1944–17 August 1944), Johan Kloostra (26 May 1944–29 April 1945), Gijsbert Jasper van Munster (26 May 1944–†13 January 1945), Wilhelmus Sybrandus de Vries (26 May 1944–29 April 1945).

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