The Dutch Anti-fascism and Anti-communism

Like many Dutch communists, the 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 3.4: The Kloostra Family and Brother-in-laws — Reinder (Rein) Kloostra

15 members of the Kloostra family and their brother-in-laws took part In the fight against fascism in the Spanish Civil War and the Second World War. Four of them lost their lives.

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

Reinder (Rein) Kloostra

Reinder (Rein) Kloostra

Reinder (Rein) Kloostra was born in The Hague 7 December 1908, the son of Tjerk Kloostra and Josina Kooijman. Together with his 11 brothers and sisters, Rein grew up in a communist and antifascist family. The family helped communist and Jewish refugees flee Nazi-Germany by accompanying them from the German-Dutch border to a safe house to prevent the Dutch police from catching and sending them back to Germany.

Before the Second World War, he worked as a cook and a butcher and was married to Jansje Nijhuis (*1912–† 2007) in 1936.

The Dutch resistance

Immediately after the German occupation of The Netherlands on 10 May 1940, Rein joined the communist resistance in The Hague and became a courier between two major communist resistance groups.

In the summer of 1941, gone into hiding, Rein escaped arrest during the first communist arrest wave (cf. Part 2: The Fight Against Communism). That did not mean that Rein was no longer under the spotlight of the Sicherheitsdienst and the Dutch Intelligence and Security Service, and his name appeared on the Fahndungsliste (wanted list) from 1 February 1942.

He continued his resistance activities, one of which was making false identity cards for Jews. Another was the printing and distributing of the illegal communist newspaper De Waarheid (‘The Truth’) and the progressive underground newspaper Vrij Nederland (‘Free Netherland’).


On the 6 of August 1942, Rein visited a grocery store and redeemed a coupon for sugar. The store manager detected, however, that the coupon was false. Rein didn’t know; he had obtained the coupon from the communist resistance, because he was in hiding. The store manager called the police and Rein was arrested.

Somehow the police discovered his true identity and the fact that his name was on the wanted list. The police handed Rein over to the Sicherheitsdienst. Two Sicherheitsdienst officers, Ernst Knorr and Otto Friedrich Karl Gustav Lange [1] and the Intelligence and Security Service police officer Johannes Hubertus Veefkind (cf. Part 3: The Kloostra Family and Brother-in-laws — Arie Kloostra) heavily mistreated him: he was kicked, beaten with a baton, choked, thrown against a cupboard and similar ill-treatment. Like many other communists, Rein had become the victim of the order given by The Hague burgomaster Salomon Jean René de Monchy to the municipal security service to continue their anti-communist activities [2].

In concentration camp

On the 10 of November 1943, Reinder Kloostra was sent to the Herzogenbusch Concentration Camp (Vught), where he had to work in the Philips-Kommando.

The Kloostra Family and In-laws: Reinder Kloostra: Herzogenbusch Concentration Camp (Vught)

Herzogenbusch Concentration Camp (Vught)

On the 24 of May 1944, he was transferred to the Dachau Concentration Camp. From the end of May till December 1944, the four Kloostra brothers, Jan, Arie, Johan and Rein, were interned at the same time in Dachau.

Entrance to the Dachau Concentration Camp

Entrance to the Dachau Concentration CampRennett StoweLicense

On the 12 of December, Rein was sent to the Buchenwald Concentration Camp.

The Kloostra Family and In-laws: Reinder Kloostra: Buchenwald prisoners, 16 April 1945: Original caption: "These Russian, Polish, and Dutch slave laborers interned at the Buchenwald concentration camp averaged 160 pounds each prior to entering camp 11 months ago. Their average weight is now 70 pounds. Germany, 04/16/1945."

Russian, Polish, and Dutch slave labourers interned at the Buchenwald Concentration Camp, April 1945

Willem (Wim) Harthoorn from the front cover of his book "Verboden te sterven" ('Forbidden to Die')

Willem (Wim) Harthoorn

After the war

After the war he became a civil servant at the Government Buildings Agency. In the 1960s, during lunchtime, he often visited his resistance comrade Wim Harthoorn [3], who lived close to his workplace.

Reinder Kloostra passed away 10 August 1980.

Sources and notes:

[1] Harthoorn, Rudi: Haags communistisch verzet – Sicherheitsdienst, Wehrmacht en SS: Otto Friedrich Karl Gustav Lange assisted Ernst Knorr in the torture murder of Herman Holstege, cf. Part 2: The Fight Against Communism. 

[2] Mededelingen van het hoofdcommissariaat (Communications from the Chief of Police) nr. 271, 15-5-1940, PA, nr. 432, inv. nr. 546, HGA. The communications mention that the unaltered security service will be brought under the command of the Public Morallity Police Commissioner’s Office. Such a reorganisation requires the approval of the mayor, who is Chief of Police.

[3] Willem (Wim) Lodewijk Harthoorn was interned in several concentration camps — including some of the worst of its kind: Oranjehotel, Kamp Amersfoort, Buchenwald, Groß-Rosen, Dachau and Natzweiler. In 1963, his book Verboden te sterven (‘Forbidden to Die’) was published in a limited edition. 2007 edition: Van Gruting, ISBN: 9789075879377.