1940-1945. The resistance in the dutch province of Limburg
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1940-1945. The resistance in the dutch province of Limburg

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Secret Army (B)



Victims of the Executions in Heer

These resisters, members of the "Armée Secrète" (Secret Army), sector Maaseik (Belgian Limburg) were shot on September 12, 1944 between Heer and Cadier en Keer. From left to right, top: Alfons Leroy from Neeroeteren, Matieu J. Lenders from Maaseik, Pierre H. Driessens from Maaseik and Jean M. Wolfs from Maaseik. Middle: Jules L. Wolfs from Maaseik (l.) and Jacques Teelen from Neeroeteren. From left to right, bottom: Pieter Jaeken from Neeroeteren, Guillaume L. Langers from Maaseik, Gustaaf Beazar from Kessenich, Jozef Eerdekens from Gruitrode and Willem Conen from Molenbeersel.
Not on the picture is an unknown Eastern European, probably an escaped prisoner of war, who was shot on the same day and place when he tried to run away.

⇐ Click on the image for a larger view

On September 14, 1944, the following people were murdered in Gangelt (just across the border in Germany): Harie /Henri BROENS /BROUNS, Jean HENKENS, Jean Hilven, Jack Hubert Mathijs /Jaak LANGERS, Jean Hubert Antoine Jac. MEERTEN, Hubert STINKENS and Laurent Albert /Albert VANDIJCK /VANDYCK /VANDIJK

Chapel of the Resistance in the woods of Rotem, with the names of the fallen ⇒
Logo of the Secret Army ⇒

The Armée secrète (Secret Army) can be compared to the Ordedienst in the Netherlands. Like the O.D., it was an initiative of soldiers and gendarmes who wanted to do something after the capitulation for the supremacy of the German forces in 1940.
Usually they were strongly royalist and favored an authoritarian form of government, which was and is not unusual in those circles. They built organizations with a military hierarchy, which they were used to. Moreover, out of fear of a coup by the left after the war and the withdrawal of the German army, they wanted to get ahead of the "leftist rabble" and fill the power vacuum. The big difference was that the Belgian organization wanted to build an underground army from the beginning and as a whole, which can already be seen in the name. Within the Dutch organization there were two tendencies. The official line was to prepare only for the liberation and to be ready to maintain order at that time. Hence the name Ordedienst (order service). One important group did not want to stop there and resisted during the occupation.
The Secret Army carried out sabotage, intelligence work and other activities for which they had been trained. But they also attempted to build a guerrilla army in densely populated Belgium. The Allies parachuted weapons, although at least initially there was distrust between the top brass and the Belgian government in exile. The intention was in fact that they would come into action at the approach of the Allies, to attack the Germans from behind. Here we see the biggest difference between the O.D. and the Secret Army. The latter had a many times larger human potential towards the end of the war, as will be shown in the following.
The north-east of Belgian Limburg was the terrain of the "Secret Army, Zone II/Limburg". Although precise figures are not available, the number of members of this group has been described as "regimental in size". The commander of the zone was Constable Gustaaf Beazar of Kessenich. The zone regiment was divided into several battalions, of which the Maaseik battalion, with a strength of 1800 to 2000, was the largest. This group was also known as the ‘White Brigade Maaseik and Rotem’.
On Sunday, September 3, Brussels had been liberated and on Monday, September 4, Antwerp had been captured from the Germans. From London, the Maaseik Battalion received the order to assemble on 5 September in the prepared guerrilla camp ‘Anatol’ in the woods between Rotem, Neeroeteren and Opoeteren. Due to problems with finding food for such a large number of people, a large part of them had to be sent home and finally only a group of about 200 people remained.
Another problem with such large crowds is secrecy. Probably the location of the forest encampment was betrayed. On September 9, 1944, they were attacked by the Germans, but the latter were surprised by the strong resistance and had to withdraw. The next day, September 10, they returned with large reinforcements. In total, forty people were arrested. Fourteen local residents, who had nothing to do with the secret army, were released. A group of 26 resistance fighters found themselves in the cellar of Huize Sint Joseph between Heer and Cadier en Keer on the evening of September 11, 1944, via Maastricht among other places. The next day, twelve men were taken out of the cellar one by one and shot in the grove of Huize Sint Joseph. Their names appear on the Belgian monument in the garden of Huize Sint Joseph on the Pater Kusterweg in Cadier en Keer (today the municipality of Margraten). Some of them were not shot at Huize St.-Jozef, but in Mindergangelt (municipality of Gangelt, just behind the German border, near Schinveld) or ended up in German concentration camps.
You can find out more by reading the article "Geheim Leger Zone II/Limburg" [2], by reading the description of the monument in the municipality of Cadier en Keer [1] and in the article about remarkable facts in (Belgian) Limburg during the Second World War. [3] The people mentioned below (except the miner Johann Hillebrand in the province of Liège) were also part of the secret army of Limburg and had to pay with their lives for it.

  1. Cadier en Keer (Limburg) Statue for 11 executed Belgian resistants, , locally better known as the “Belgian Monument”
  2. Geheim Leger zone II/Limburg This page offers the possibility to have it translated.
  3. Leo Rutten Markante feiten in Limburg tijdens de Tweede Wereldoorlog
  4. Memento’s voor zeven gefusilleerde Belgische verzetsstrijders - Souvenirs de sept résistants belges fusillés, Gangelt, Memories of seven shot Belgian resistance fighters
  5. O.D./Ordedienst
  6. https://www.belgischmonumentheer.nl/slachtoffers-van-de-fusillade.html
  7. The Belgian monument and the Flemish monument actually form a single monument at the site of the executions between Heer and Cadier en Keer.
  8. Liberated just too late
  9. Traces of War Monument Mindergangelt


Secret Army (B) – 25 pers.   ⇒All the fallen resistance people in Limburg
Beazar,
Gustaaf
Modest
∗ 1908-07-29
Aspelare
† 1944-09-12
Heer
Heer - Belgium - early resistance - Secret Army (B) - The northeast of Belgian Limburg was the territory of the ‘Secret Army, Zone II/Limburg’. Although no exact figures are available, the number of members of this group was described as ‘as large as a regiment’. The ‘zone commander’ was Gustaaf Beazar from Kessenich, who came from …


This person is not (yet?) listed on the walls of the chapel.-
Broens /Brouns,
Harie /Henri
∗ 1925-02-18
Molenbeersel
† 1944-09-14
Gangelt (D)
Belgium - Secret Army (B) - He lived in Molenbeersel, Belgian Limburg. Originally buried in a mass grave in Gangelt (D). Last resting place: Unknown (Source: Memorial for seven executed Belgian resistance fighters, bel-memorial.be)

This person is not (yet?) listed on the walls of the chapel.-
Conen,
Willem
∗ 1919-03-12
Molenbeersel
† 1944-09-12
Heer
Heer - Belgium - Secret Army (B) - Willem Conen from Molenbeersel was one of the resisters of the Maaseik section of the Secret Army under the leadership of its section chief, gendarme Gustaaf Beazar.
Read the story of the  …

This person is not (yet?) listed on the walls of the chapel.-
Crapts,
Henricus Nicolaas
Nic
∗ 1913-12-06
Maastricht
† 1944-09-13
Lanaye/Ternaaien
Maastricht - Belgium - Secret Army (B) - Nic Crapts was a member of the Secret Army, also called the White Brigade. While accompanying the first liberators on September 13, 1944, he was shot at from one of the last German machine gun nests from the heights of Caestert and mortally wounded.
Reburied with military honors …


This person is not (yet?) listed on the walls of the chapel.-
Driessens,
Pierre Henri Jean Mathieu
Pierre
∗ 1925-05-13
Genk (B)
† 1944-09-12
Heer
Heer - Belgium - Secret Army (B) - Lived in Maaseik (Belgium). Son of Hendrikus Mathijs Lambertus Driessens (workman) and Victoria Theresa Hendrickx. Unmarried. Miner. Roman Catholic. Member of the Belgian resistance organization Secret Army, sector Maaseik. [2]

  1. bel-memorial.org:  …

    This person is not (yet?) listed on the walls of the chapel.-
Eerdekens,
Jozef
∗ 1922-06-24
Gruitrode (B)
† 1944-09-12
Heer
Heer - Belgium - Secret Army (B) - From Molenbeersel.

This person is not (yet?) listed on the walls of the chapel.-
Henkens,
Jean
∗ 1922-07-09
Opoeteren
† 1944-09-14
Gangelt (D)
Belgium - Secret Army (B) - He lived in Gruitrode, Belgian Limburg. Originally buried in a mass grave in Gangelt (D). Last resting place: Unknown (Source: Memorial for seven executed Belgian resistance fighters, bel-memorial.be)

This person is not (yet?) listed on the walls of the chapel.-
Hilven,
Jean
∗ 1924-01-05
Gruitrode
† 1944-09-14
Gangelt (D)
Belgium - Secret Army (B) - He lived in Gruitrode, Belgian Limburg. Originally buried in a mass grave in Gangelt (D). Last resting place: Unknown. [1]

This person is not (yet?) listed on the walls of the chapel.-
Jaeken,
Pieter
∗ 1917-09-15
Neeroeteren
† 1944-09-12
Heer
Heer - Belgium - Secret Army (B) - Lived in Opoeteren (Belgium). Son of Jacob Jaeken and Maria Catharina Janssen. Unmarried. Farmhand. Member of the Belgian resistance organization Secret Army, sector of Maaseik.

This person is not (yet?) listed on the walls of the chapel.-
Keibeck,
Jean-Hubert
Jan
∗ 1918-02-16
Maastricht
† 1944-08-06
Brussel
Maastricht - Secret Army (B) - Jean-Hubert Keibeck was a sergeant in the resistance movement Secret Army, also called B.N.B. (Belgische Nationale Beweging), sector Rekem, Limburg. The B.N.B. prepared for the arrival of the Allies in the summer of 1944. The objective was to attack the German army from behind. To this …


This person is not (yet?) listed on the walls of the chapel.-
Langers,
Guillaume J.
∗ 1923-03-29
Maaseik (B)
† 1944-09-12
Heer
Heer - Belgium - Secret Army (B) - Shot in the park of House St. Joseph in Heer.

This person is not (yet?) listed on the walls of the chapel.-
Langers,
Jack Hubert Mathijs /Jaak
∗ 1909-02-03
Maaseik
† 1944-09-14
Gangelt (D)
Belgium - Secret Army (B) - He lived in Rotem, Belgian Limburg. Originally buried in a mass grave in Gangelt (D). Last resting place: Unknown. [1][2]

This person is not (yet?) listed on the walls of the chapel.-
Lemmens,
Johannes Antonius Mathias
Jan
∗ 1912-04-28
Limmel
† 1945-03-25
Nordhausen
Maastricht - Belgium - priest - forced labor - Secret Army (B) - Photo: The Hagiography Circle [1] →

Jan Lemmens was born in Limmel [2.1], a village then belonging to the municipality of Meerssen and today to Maastricht.
He was a monastic chaplain with the Ursuline Sisters in Maastricht, moved to ’s-Gravenvoeren [2.2] on …


This person is not (yet?) listed on the walls of the chapel.-

Lenders,
Mathieu J.
∗ 1925-02-20
Maaseik (B)
† 1944-09-12
Heer
Heer - Belgium - Secret Army (B) - Lived in Maaseik. Son of miner Joseph Hubertus Lenders and Marguerite Rosalie Anne Wolfs. Unmarried. Butcher. Roman Catholic.

This person is not (yet?) listed on the walls of the chapel.-
Leroy,
Alfons
∗ 1913-06-02
Massemen (B)
† 1944-09-12
Heer
Heer - Belgium - Secret Army (B) - Lived in Neeroeteren (Belgium). Son of Achiel August Leroy and Maria de Rocker. Married to Anna Ida Stegen. Professional soldier. Roman Catholic.

This person is not (yet?) listed on the walls of the chapel.-
Meerten,
Jean Hubert Antoine Jac.
∗ 1922-11-01
Heppeneert (Maaseik)
† 1944-09-14
Gangelt (D)
Belgium - Secret Army (B) - He lived in Heppeneert (Maaseik), Belgian Limburg. Originally buried in a mass grave in Gangelt (D). Last resting place: Unknown. [1][2]

This person is not (yet?) listed on the walls of the chapel.-
Oost-Europeaan,
?
∗ 0000-00-00
?
† 1944-09-12
Heer
Heer - Belgium - Secret Army (B) - He is usually called the unknown Russian, but even that is not certain, in fact it is only known, that he was from Eastern Europe. He tried to escape and was shot while doing so. And why was he among that group of the  …


This person is not (yet?) listed on the walls of the chapel.-
Rijnders,
Johannes Hubertus
Jan
∗ 1920-07-12
Valkenswaard
† 1944-10-18
Aachen
dutch soldier - person in hiding - Secret Army (B) - Jan Rijnders was a tax consultant and member of the Resistance. [4]
He was from Valkenswaard and is also buried there. During the war he worked with the White Brigade or Secret Army in Belgium. [1#3]
During the German occupation, he went into hiding to …


This person is not (yet?) listed on the walls of the chapel.
Stinkens,
Hubert
∗ 1923-12-04
As
† 1944-09-14
Gangelt (D)
Belgium - Secret Army (B) - He lived in Gruitrode, Belgian Limburg. Originally buried in a mass grave in Gangelt (D). Last resting place: Unknown. [1][2]

This person is not (yet?) listed on the walls of the chapel.-
Teelen /Theelen,
Jacques
∗ 1924-10-14
Neeroeteren
† 1944-09-12
Heer
Heer - Belgium - Secret Army (B) -

This person is not (yet?) listed on the walls of the chapel.-
Vandijck /Vandyck /Vandijk,
Laurent Albert /Albert
∗ 1925-10-08
Neeroeteren
† 1944-09-14
Gangelt (D)
Belgium - Secret Army (B) - He lived in Neeroeteren, Belgian Limburg. Originally buried in a mass grave in Gangelt (D). Last resting place: Unknown. [1][2]

This person is not (yet?) listed on the walls of the chapel.-
Vliexs,
Huberta Leonie Maria
Bertha
∗ 1923-01-06
Amby
† 1944-09-11
Opglabbeek (B)
- Amby - Belgium - Secret Army (B) - During World War II, four of the Vliexs sisters were in the Belgian resistance organization the Secret Army. Bertha was unmarried and worked as a nurse with the Red Cross. For more information, see also her sister Pia.
She “lived …


This person is not (yet?) listed on the walls of the chapel.
Vliexs,
Marie Hubertina Theodora
Pia
∗ 1920-05-18
Maastricht
† 1944-09-11
Opglabbeek (B)
- Amby - Belgium - Secret Army (B) - The daily newspaper Het Belang van Limburg wrote on September 18, 2017 [1] under the title "The 9/11 of Opglabbeek": "Shot after an attack by resistance fighters on retiring Germans. In addition to Nicolaas Esser, Antonius Alenus, Renier Coolen, Henri and Josef Dirckx, Jaak Hellings, …


This person is not (yet?) listed on the walls of the chapel.
Wolfs,
Jean Martin August
Jean
∗ 1923-06-20
Maaseik
† 1944-09-12
Heer
Heer - Belgium - Secret Army (B) - The baker Jean Wolfs lived in Maaseik. Son of the miner Jules Leopold Henri Wolfs and Maria Hubertina Kelders. [2] His parents both had the same last name as Jules Wolfs’ parents, probably they were cousins. His name is on the Belgian monument …


This person is not (yet?) listed on the walls of the chapel.-
Wolfs,
Jules Leopold August
Jules
∗ 1923-04-29
Maaseik
† 1944-09-12
Heer
Heer - Belgium - Secret Army (B) - Jules Wolfs lived in Maaseik. Son of the workman Jean Herman François Wolfs and Juliana Gerardina Kelders. [2] His parents both had the same last name as Jean Wolfs’ parents, probably they were cousins. He was unmarried and a workman. His name …


This person is not (yet?) listed on the walls of the chapel.-