VELP IN THE WAR
BEFORE THE WAR
The Velp citizens Pastor Schaars and Father Campman (Roman Catholic), Rev. Oskamp (Dutch Reformed)) and communist Dirk van der Voort warned against the threat of fascism in sermons and trade union meetings as early as 1938. They helped Jewish refugees from Germany find refuge in Velp. They created a ‘bedding’ in Velp through which later successful resistance groups were formed and hiding places were found.
Pastor Schaars survived concentration camps Natzweiler and Dachau. Van der Voort was already on death row, but was saved by people from the resistance in Velp. Rev. Oskamp was tried, convicted and survived a German prison camp.
“The belief or awareness that people we need as examples are present somewhere around us gives direction to the life of each individual. The faith of many together has great influence on the perspective of a society. Thus on the course of a war. This certainly applies to good examples. The awareness that in secrecy, among the rubble, flowers bloom here and there, retains its influence for many years afterwards.” (K. Hengeveld MA, sociologist)
1945 The hospital in Velp - specialists, nurses, people in hiding and members of the resistance.
General practitioners in Velp in 1945
Good examples of influential people influenced the decisions of Velp and Rozendaal citizens.
Mayor Zimmerman and Police Commissioner Borstlap refused to have Jews arrested.
Mayor Zimmerman was imprisoned as a hostage in St. Michelsgestel; Commissioner Borstlap was dismissed without notice and survived as a person in hiding.
Pastor Schaars, Oskamp and communist Dirk van der Voort warned for the threat of fascism in sermons and trade union meetings starting in 1938. They helped Jewish refugees from Germany find refuge in Velp.
The Velp hospital was a bastion of resistance. Medical specialists and nurses took care of refugees, hid people and, via the general practitioners, took care of people in hiding elsewhere.
Velp general practitioners provided hiding places for people in hiding and resistance people and took care of them.
Mayor Kalhorn, appointed by the Germans, got engaged to a nurse from the Velp hospital and exchanged information with the Velp resistance.
PERSONS IN HIDING
An important ‘linchpin’ in the social aspect of the Velp resistance was Warner van Keulen (alias Kees, Johan).
“Actually, I am a terrible coward”, he later told his son. ”When I picked up ration cards from Zevenaar, the journey back on my bicycle was a hell of a ride. I was terrified that I would be caught”.
Warner van Keulen (25 years old in 1943)
On this crumpled scrap of paper, found in the scrapbook of Warner van Keulen, are 29 names of contacts who in turn provided dozens of people with food coupons. This way, almost 600 (also Jewish) people in hiding were helped.
Winter 1944. Ies Heertje on the sledge without his beloved balaclava; 'That gives you such a Jewish head', said his “aunt” Bep Horstman. On the left Lieneke Horstman.
JEWISH PEOPLE IN HIDING
Ies Heertje was 7 years old when, as ‘little cousin from Enschede’, he went to live with the Horstman family on the Pinkenbergseweg.
“I was shocked when I read in a letter from my hiding mother after the war that my hiding father had killed a traitor with poison” says Ies Heertje. I don’t know whether he was tried for that later.
LIBERATION OF VELP
16 APRIL 1945
Monday, 16 April, 6.25 a.m.
It has become silent. Could they be there?
Cheering on Main Street.
Then nobody will be stopped.
the side streets they hurry towards Main Street.
There’s a flag. We are free!
(from Velp and the War, ed. 1946, author Steven Jansen)
Velp children with orange caps and Dutch flags on an English Jeep in Main Street, in front of the jeweller Aalbers.