The April-May Strikes 1943
Communiqué of the High Führer of the SS and the police of the provinces of Limburg and North Brabant on the death sentences related to the strike in the mines from April to May 1943.
On July 1, 1946, a mass grave containing seven bodies was discovered in Wellerlooi (municipality of Bergen) on the Wellse Heide (now the nature reserve Landgoed de Hamert). There an oak wood cross stands on a red brick wall, the resistance monument, as a permanent reminder of the seven resistance fighters Han Boogerd, Bob Bouman, Leendert Brouwer, Pieter Ruyters, Reinier Savelsberg, Meindert Tempelaars and Servaas Toussaint, shot in connection with the strike in 1943.
In the Dutch coal mining area this strike was called miner’s strike. The actual mining area stretched from Geleen to Kerkrade, but a not inconsiderable number of miners lived outside of it, for example in Valkenburg. In Maastricht, the strike was initiated by government employees. Later bank staff joined in. When the postal workers also wanted to go on strike, the members of the nazi party NSB present forced them to continue working with all sorts of threats. Long queues of people immediately formed in front of all the counters, wanting to buy one single 1-cent stamp. This way the post office was closed too. The factories also joined.
In the beginning there was a party atmosphere. People flocked to the pubs and didn’t suspect (or didn’t want to think about it) that the occupiers would of course not tolerate this and that there would be victims. These events made it clear that attempts to lure the Dutch with the status of an “Aryan brother nation” had failed.
The miners’ strike was part of the strikes of April-May 1943. The background was the return of Dutch soldiers to captivity, planned by the occupiers, to be put to work in the German war industry. They were the transition to a more massive resistance movement throughout the Netherlands, including the province of Limburg. The strikes were brutally suppressed, but the resistance organizations gained more new members (perhaps even because of this?). For the majority of Dutch Jews, however, it was already too late. :(
Album : Resistance