Betrayal and apprehension
However, fate soon caught up with the Geuzen. Daan van Striep, a young man from Arnhem who lived in lodgings in Schiedam on weekdays and worked at the shipyard of Wilton-Feijenoord, obtained an issue of ĎDe Geus van 1940í in November 1940. He received this from a colleague, the mechanic Johannes Smit from Vlaardingen. Back in Arnhem, Van Striep told people he knew about the group of the Geuzen. But his stories were also heard by an NSB group leader. He reported the stories to the Germans and the Sicherheitspolizei (security police) started an investigation.
Through Van Striep, the trail soon led to Schiedam, where he was arrested on November 19th. Soon after that, his colleague Johannes Smit was also arrested by the Germans. In a search in his house, pictures of members the royal family and a copy of 'De Geus van 1940' were found. During the interrogations, Smit talked. Because many of the Geuzen were inexperienced resistance fighters, the Germans were able to round up the network quickly. Many of the Geuzen knew each other, so there was no secrecy. They were not able to warn each other in time. On November 21st, Ary Kop's home was also searched. When searching the house, where at that time only the two daughters of Kop were present, illegal magazines, explosives and weapons were found. Kop was warned, but he went home with his wife anyway. Both were arrested. Kop's wife was soon released though, because she was five months pregnant with their third daughter.
The Geuzen of Vlaardingen were first locked up in a basement of the police station in Vlaardingen. After that they were, like the other arrested Geuzen, transferred to the house of detention in Scheveningen, also called the 'Oranjehotel'. Here they were interrogated and some also tortured. The leader of the Geuzen of Maassluis, Jacobus Boezeman, shared cell 333 with the Geus George den Boon from Lekkerkerk. Late in the evening of January 8th 1941, he was taken from his cell by three Polizisten of the Sicherheitsdienst and transferred to the headquarters of the SD at the Binnenhof for interrogation. During this interrogation he was tortured horribly. After he was taken back to the Oranjehotel, he died the next morning of his injuries. When he was still conscious that night, he told the guards that the Germans had cut his wrists. His back and face were also covered with injuries and contusions.
Ary Kop was locked up alone in cell 603. He wrote notes to his wife on toilet paper, which were smuggled out with the dirty laundry. These also show that he was seriously tortured during interrogations. ďThe various stains on my shirt will make you wonder. They will speak for themselves later. I will tell you. They hit me so, until I tumbled down. Then they poured a beer bottle (which was recently emptied and refilled with water) in my mouth and nose and when I got to my side again or tried to get up, they kicked me until I was on my feet and then the hitting started all over again. No, if live to see it, after the war I will show my trails of blood on the wallpaper in the Binnenhof."
On February 24th 1941, the trial against the arrested Geuzen began. On this day another 42 people were rounded up in Vlaardingen by the German police because of possible involvement in the Geuzen resistance. One of them was Abraham Fernandes, a Surinamese Jew. He was also transferred to the Oranjehotel in Scheveningen. Which acts he executed as a Geus is unknown, as is what happened during his imprisonment and interrogations. What we do know is that he died of torture during his imprisonment, but even the exact date of his death is unclear. His gravestone and records mention March 4th 1941, but his wife was already summoned to the Binnenhof by the Germans on March 3rd. They then told her that her husband died and they showed her the body.
Eigtheen deaths at the Waalsdorpervlakte
Possibly as a consequence of the fact that the trial against the Geuzen coincided with the February strikes of February 25th and 26th, harsh punishments were given to scare the Dutch population. The following sentence was included in the announcement: "So that anyone who plans to offer help to England or cause the German Wehrmacht harm, knows he is playing with his life." Eighteen Geuzen were sentenced to death, including the leaders Bernardus IJzerdraat and Ary Kop. For three underage Geuzen (Willem Keesmaat, L. Van den Hoff and S. Menko) the death penalty was eventually changed to life imprisonment. In their place, three communist February strikers (Hermanus Coenradi, Joseph Eijl and Eduard Hellendoorn) were added to the Geuzen who were sentenced to death.
On March 13th, 1941 Reichskommissar fŁr die besetzten Niederlande Arthur Seyss-Inquart was granted permission by the German Reichsminister Hans Lammers to execute the sentences of the eighteen men. They visited the prison minister and sang the Wilhelmus in their cell. After that they were transferred to the Waalsdorpervlakte and were fusilladed there.
Bernardus IJzerdraat (49 years old)
Jan Kijne (46 years old)
Ary Kop (40 years old)
Jacob van der Ende (22 years old)
Leendert Keesmaat (29 years old)
Hendrik Wielenga (37 years old)
Johannes Smit (30 years old)
Frans Rietveld (36 years old)
Leendert Langstraat (31 years old)
Jan Wernard van den Bergh (47 years old)
Albertus Johannes de Haas (37 years old)
Reijer Bastiaan van der Borden (32 years old)
Nicolaas Arie van der Burg (36 years old)
George den Boon (21 years old)
Dirk Kouwenhoven (24 years old)
Eduard Hellendoorn (28 years old)
Hermanus Coenradi (31 years old)
Joseph Eijl (44 years old)
It was the first mass execution in the Netherlands. The fusilladed men were buried at the Waalsdorpervlakte by the occupier. At that time, another 157 Geuzen were held captive in the Oranjehotel. They were eventually sent to various concentration camps. 63 of them did not survive the imprisonment.
As a result of the executions, resistance fighter Jan Campert wrote 'het lied der achttien dooden' ('the song of the eighteen dead'). The song of seven stanzas appeared in 1943, when it was illegally published by De Bezige Bij. Campert had then already died, on January 12th 1943, in the concentration camp Neuengamme. He was arrested for helping Jewish refugees. The first stanza of 'het lied der achttien dooden' goes:
A cell two metres long for me
But not two metres wide,
That plot of earth will smaller be
Whose whereabouts they hide;
But there unknown my rest Iíll take,
My comrades with me slain,
Eighteen strong men saw morning break -
Weíll see no dawn again.