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



Giel Berix
Districtschef LO

St. Josefziekenhuis Heerlen

Karel van Berckel

Chef de clinique

The Heerlen district of the L.O. consisted of eight rayons (sub-districts):

  1. rayon Heerlen
  2. Hoensbroek
  3. Kerkrade
  4. Ubach over Worms
  5. Brunssum
  6. Geleen
  7. Klimmen
  8. Valkenburg

Source: Dr. Fred Cammaert, Het Verborgen Front, chapt. VIb $VIII: De L.O.-districten

Heerlen was the seat of the LO district of the same name. St. Joseph Hospital, under the direction of Chef de Clinique Karel van Berckel, played a prominent role as headquarters. The first district chief was Vicar Giel Berix. The fire chief Charles Bongaerts was “of course“ often found there.
The City Heerlen was an example of how resistance groups worked well together. They did not get along well at first, if they knew each other at all, because of the strong social compartmentalization (called pillarization) in those days. They came from very different backgrounds:

  • The mostly conservative ex-soldiers like Smit and Bongaerts, who resisted out of national considerations. They were active early on, but were also discovered relatively early by the occupiers.
  • The Catholics, who had organized themselves in the LO and the KP ( commando group). From 1943, they were by far the largest resistance organization in the mining district, but also in Limburg in general. The most important district leader of the LO of Heerlen was Giel Berix, vicar at the Pancratius Church, Heerlen’s main church.
  • The Reformed, such as rev. Pontier and Jaap Musch, who were especially active in the rescue of Jews and especially Jewish children.
  • The Communists, a cohesive group, many of them miners, who increasingly collaborated with other groups such as the LO. In proportion to the number of their members, the resistance group with the most fatalities.
  • The Social Democrats had no resistance group of their own, with the exception of the RVV, which was quite insignificant in Limburg. Worked, among others, in the team of Father Beatus.

One of the greatest networkers who succeeded in getting all these conflicting groups to work together was the Franciscan Gerard van Beckhoven, better known as Father Beatus. He and his circle of people from all these groups formed the cement of this collaboration.
An important place for all these activities was the St. Josef hospital, also known as Putgraaf Hospital, where the chirurgian and hospital director Karel van Berckel and the nuns were in charge.

Liberated: 1944-09-17

Heerlen was and is the center of the eastern part of the Dutch mining district. During the war the mines were still in full operation and they were of great importance for the supply of electricity, but also for the railroads and thus for the Germans. As a result, many young men, who did not want to go to Germany to work, could stay here legally. But there were also many people in hiding working in the mines, with false papers, because they were not watched so closely.
See also The strikes of April-May 1943.
Visit the Jewish memorial, Akerstraat, 6411GV, Heerlen. Originally, the memorial plaque was placed on the inside of the balcony above the entrance of the synagogue in Stationsstraat. After the sale of the synagogue to the pharmacy Ritsen, the plaque was moved to the Jewish cemetery.

All the fallen resistance people in Limburg

Heerlen – 34 pers.

Beckhoven, van
Pater Beatus
∗ 1899-09-21
† 1945-03-20
- Initial resistance - Aid to People in Hiding L.O. - Ondergrondse pers - The clergy - Heerlen - People in hiding -

Gerard van Beckhoven or Father Beatus van Beckhoven OFM was kapelaan (vicar) in Heerlen at the rectorate church of St. Francis on the Laanderstraat in Heerlen [1] and there he became a …
More in our story Resistance in Valkenburg
wall: left, row 15-02
Beers, van
Adrianus Hubertus
∗ 1895-09-24
† 1942-08-31
KZ Groß-Rosen
- Initial resistance - Heerlen - Communists & Sympathizers -

Scaffolder, helped to bring refugees across the border. Arrested on June 24, 1941.Eventually he ended up in the Nacht und Nebel [1] concentration camp in Gross-Rosen [2], where …

wall: middel, row 05-02
Berckel, van
Karel C.
∗ 1892-08-19
† 1944-09-05
Kamp Vught
- Aid to People in Hiding L.O. - Knokploegen (K.P.) - Heerlen - Ondergrondse pers -

Detailed information about the surgeon Karel van Berckel [1.1] can be found on the website of the National Memorial Camp Vught [1.2], where he was murdered. The following is an excerpt …

More in our story Resistance in Valkenburg
wall: left, row 15-03
Jan Willem
∗ 1907-04-12
† 1945-03-13
- Initial resistance - Aid to People in Hiding L.O. - Heerlen - People in hiding - The clergy -

Since september 10, 1933, Giel Berix was a kapelaan (in the Netherlands a term for Roman Catholic auxiliary parish priests, vicars. In Belgium they are also called Onderpastoor) at St. …

More in our story Resistance in Valkenburg
wall: left, row 15-04
Betuw, van
Johannes Petrus Maria
Jan “Jules”
∗ 1923-08-08
† 2015-03-13
- Koeriers van het verzet - Aid to People in Hiding L.O. - Heerlen - Survivors -

During the war, Jan van Betuw was a bus driver and courier in the LO district of Heerlen under the pseudonym Jules. In this capacity, he narrowly escaped arrest in early 1944 during a check on …

More in our story Resistance in Valkenburg
Charles M.H.J.
∗ 1909-08-07
† 1944-11-23
KZ Ladelund, KZ Neuengamme
- Ondergrondse pers - Police - Ordedienst (O.D.) - Netwerk Bongaerts - Initial resistance - Heerlen -

Married to Trees (Theresa) Dahmen. In 1940 Charles was a reserve officer in the Dutch army and during the five day battle of the Netherlands he fought on the so called “Grebbenberg Line”, that …

wall: left, row 16-01
Constant Jozef Ernest
∗ 1895-09-19
Berg en Terblijt,
† 1944-09-05
Kamp Vught
- Heerlen - Aid to People in Hiding L.O. - Berg en Terblijt -

“More complicated need of clothing used to be regulated by the director of the municipal social welfare office, Mr Cornips, with me. He was very competent for this due to his function. It …

More in our story Resistance in Valkenburg
wall: left, row 17-01
∗ 1905-12-10
† 1942-11-12
- Initial resistance - Heerlen - Ondergrondse pers - Communists & Sympathizers -

Worker in a factory, liaison man for the party newspaper De Waarheid. In the card index Limburg [1] of the CPN (Communistische Partij Nederland) his last name is written Dorst, but …
wall: middel, row 06-01
Pieter Mathijs
∗ 1892-07-29
† 1944-11-19
- Aid to People in Hiding L.O. - Heerlen -

Pieter Mathijs Erkens was director of the brick factory N.V. Beckers-Koten’s Steenfabriek in Heerlen since 30 January 1934. During the war years 1940-1945 the factory did not …
wall: left, row 16-02
Maria Anna Clara
∗ 1915-11-16
† 1945-03-18
- Women in the resistance - Women in the resistance - Aid to People in Hiding L.O. - Koeriers van het verzet - Heerlen -

Nurse, assistant to the medical examiner at the municipal employment office in Heerlen. "She saved numerous approved persons from being sent to Germany for forced labour by changing medical …

This person is not (yet?) listed on the walls of the chapel.04-11
∗ 1907-11-04
Bottrop (D)
† 1942-07-24
- Ondergrondse pers - Heerlen - Communists & Sympathizers -

Construction worker. On August 17, 1942, the SiPo stopped Gerards one more in Heerlerheide while he was distributing the illegal magazine …
wall: middel, row 07-01
∗ 1923-01-13
† 1943-03-29
- Initial resistance - Group Smit - Heerlen - Dutch-Paris -

Joseph Jean Elise Janssen was an office employee of a mine [1.1], a member of the Smits group and of the international resistance group and escape line Dutch-Paris [2], as were his …

wall: left, row 15-05
Kleine Zusters van de Hl. Joseph,

- Aid to People in Hiding L.O. - Women in the resistance - Heerlen - The clergy - Survivors -

The St. Joseph Hospital on the Putgraaf [1] in Heerlen during the occupation was firmly in the hands of the resistance and in particular the aid organization for people in hiding LO. This was …

Konieczny /Koniecny,
Edmund (Ed)
∗ 1912-10-02
Lünen (D)
† 1944-09-08
Berg en Terblijt
- Local contacts - Aid to People in Hiding L.O. - Heerlen -

Edmund Konieczny lived in Heerlen and was an interpreter and sworn translator. His parents were born in Poland. Member of LO-Heerlen.Konieczny, who practiced the profession of …
wall: left, row 16-03
Kuypers /Kuijpers-?,
∗ 1924-07-08
† 1945-01-26
- Heerlen - Communists & Sympathizers -

The oorlogsgravenstichting (Dutch War Graves Foundation) writes: “Johannes Wilhelmus Kuijpers was a waiter / member of the resistance”. In Cammaert X, Annex VIII. Arrestatie communisten …

wall: left, row 17-02
Johan Herman
∗ 1893-10-24
† 1944-12-07
- Ondergrondse pers - Communists & Sympathizers - Heerlen -

Miner. Last place of residence: Heerlerheide.All of the following information can be found on scans posted by a family member at
wall: middel, row 07-02
∗ 1913-03-08
† 1944-09-07
- People in hiding - NV - Heerlen - Brunssum -

Jaap and Gerard Musch did their resistance work on the basis of their Christian beliefs. Jaap moved from Amsterdam to Heerlen on September 9, 1942 in connection with his resistance …

This person is not (yet?) listed on the walls of the chapel.04-22
Nicolaas Maria Hubertus
∗ 1908-11-05
Sint Geertruid
† 2003-09-21
- Aid to People in Hiding L.O. - Heerlen - The clergy - Survivors -

During one of the first days of September 1943, at the home of Rector Nic Prompers in the hospital, the L.O. district Heerlen was established. Prompers became the first district leader, but for …

More in our story Resistance in Valkenburg
Victor Leo Servaas
∗ 1906-04-23
† 1945-03-09
- Heerlen - Aid to People in Hiding L.O. - Local contacts - The clergy -

Vicar in Heerlerheide. Arrested by the Landwacht on August 18, 1944. [1][2]In his file at the OGS (Dutch War Graves Foundation) we read: Because of his commitment to …
wall: left, row 16-04
Rinzema /Rensema,
∗ 1909-02-28
† 1945-06-01
- Ondergrondse pers - Heerlen - Communists & Sympathizers -

Baker. According to oorloggravenstichting.nl/ and verzetsmuseum.org his name was …
wall: middel, row 08-01
Rooyackers /Rooijackers,
Wim A.
∗ 1918-03-13
† 1944-09-05
- Heerlen - Knokploegen (K.P.) - Ondergrondse pers - Initial resistance - Police -

Wilhelmus Antonius (Wim) Rooijackers was a trade correspondent and a member of the mine police. Almost from the beginning of the war he was involved with prisoners of war who had escaped from …

wall: left, row 17-03
∗ 1895-04-27
† 1943-05-02
Wellerlooi (Bergen [L])
- Heerlen - April-Mei-stakingen, 1943 -

Reinier Savelsberg was an electrician at the state mine Oranje-Nassau III. He participated in the April May strike of 1943. On the night of May 1 to 2, 1943,
wall: left, row 17-04
∗ 1923-01-01
† 1945-03-09
- Ondergrondse pers - Studenten - Heerlen - Nijmegen - Aid to People in Hiding L.O. - Knokploegen (K.P.) -

Student at the MTS (technical secondary school), living in Nijmegen. He took care of people in hiding and distributed illegal magazines. He also hid an American pilot. Member of the LO-Maas en …

wall: left, row 18-01
Paul Simons
∗ 1906-03-24
† 1993-02-02
- Aid to People in Hiding L.O. - Heerlen - Valkenburg - Survivors - BS (Domestic Forces) -

Founder and leader of the “rayon” (subdistrict) of the L.O. in Valkenburg, under the alias of “Paul”. He was also a member of the ID18 …
More in our story Resistance in Valkenburg
∗ 1920-12-01
† 1944-12-31
- Heerlen -

wall: left, row 18-02
∗ 1894-11-24
† 1945-05-31
- Aid to People in Hiding L.O. - Heerlen -

Miner and helper of Jews, born November 24, 1894 in Mirns en Bakhuizen (in Gaasterland, Frisia). Married Marijke Teernstra on May 17, 1924 in Gaasterland. Despite their relative poverty, on May …

wall: left, row 18-03
Leendert L.
∗ 1922-01-03
† 1945-03-03
- People in hiding - Heerlen -

Reason for his arrest on July 25, 1944: Shirking forced …
wall: left, row 19-01
∗ 1916-09-09
† 1942-09-17
- Initial resistance - Group Smit - Police - Heerlen - Intelligence -

Sef Smit from Roermond was before the war a professional sergeant in the 13th Infantry Regiment. [1]He chose after demobilization in July 1940 to join the police in Heerlen. He did not …

wall: left, row 19-02
∗ 1916-07-03
† 1945-01-07
KZ Schömberg, KZ Natzweiler
- Ondergrondse pers - Initial resistance - Group Smit - Heerlen -

Charles Spreksel was the son of Frans Spreksel, a builder, and Agnes Schepens. Since his demobilization he worked as chief window dresser at the Schunck department store in …

wall: left, row 19-03
∗ 1902-09-12
† 0000-00-00
- NSDAP - Heerlen - Survivors -

German mining engineer in Heerlen. He was married to a sister of Pierre Schunck. Worked at the coal mine already before the war and was also the director and co-owner of his father-in-law’s …

More in our story Resistance in Valkenburg
∗ 1904-06-06
Den Haag
† 1943-05-02
Wellerlooi (Bergen [L])
- Heerlen - April-Mei-stakingen, 1943 -

Meijnardus Jacobus Tempelaars was a hewer in the state mine Oranje-Nassau III. Arrested in connection with the miners’ strike on the night of May 1 to 2, 1943. He and
wall: left, row 18-04
Hendricus Hubertus
∗ 1917-08-24
† 1945-03-15
Hameln (D
- Ondergrondse pers - Initial resistance - Ordedienst (O.D.) - Police - Heerlen - Intelligence - Netwerk Bongaerts - -

Harry Tobben was a former soldier and after his demobilization by the Germans in 1940 member of the mine police. Was involved, among other things, in acts of sabotage in the Oranje-Nassau Mine I …

wall: left, row 19-05
Vinerius /Vienerius,
Engelbert Joseph
∗ 1893-05-10
† 1942-11-17
- Ondergrondse pers - Heerlen - Communists & Sympathizers -

Miner, distributor of De Vonk and De Waarheid, arrested on June 19, 1942, at the same time as Johan Herman Lubben,
wall: middel, row 08-02
∗ 1918-11-10
† 1945-02-23
- Ondergrondse pers - Initial resistance - Group Smit - Heerlen -

Lambertus Arnoldus Vlemmings was a former soldier and after his demobilization by the Germans in 1940 parcel deliveryman at Van Gend & Loos. At the beginning of the war, he distributed …
wall: left, row 19-04