Many Netherlands "Hams" Gave Their Lives for Liberty
Two years have now passed since our Homeland - after five years of oppression, five yeaqrs of terror, five years of systematic starvation and impoverishment during which almost daily our best sons were murdered - was liberated; the day when our national (tricolor) flag could again fly in all liberty and we could again walk about adorned with orange colors; the day which meant the complete end of the insolent "unconquerable" master race. And finally, the day which gave the Dutch people the opportunity to get hold of all these parasites and traitors of their own flesh and blood.
I could not be in Holland on the day of the liberation, as I was still detained in a German prison liberated by the Americans. But a radio set made by us in prison permitted us - the 150 Dutch political prisoners deep inside the hated Germany - to live intensely through all the happenings of that day.
On March 8th of this year - the anniversary of the mass murders, when hundreds of our compatriots were cowardly shot in retaliation for an attack on the Gestapo chief Rauter, a small group of us assembled at one of the mass-graves in The Hague, where two of my best radio-amateur friends were buried, to commemorate these heroes.
COMMUNICATION WITH ALLIES
I don't think there is another group in Holland, where such a percentage participated in the active resistance as among the radio-amateurs. Radio had a most important part to play in this war. Think just of the radio communication with England through which the Dutch Government in England was kept so well informed about the activities of the oppressor and his henchmen in the occupied Homeland. This permitted the Dutch Government to take certain steps and also to instruct the Dutch people via Radio-Oranje.
We have to think of the contacts established with the Intelligence Serviceand through which the most important espionage reports and information were passed in connection with existing or planned military objectives.
Let us remember the underground press which would not have been in a position to work without radio communication, and last, think of the final phase of the war when the south was already liberated and when the radio helped to keep up contact with the still occupied West and North for the exchange of valuable information. It can be stated with great pride that many of our Dutch radio-amateurs participated in this most important, but also vulnerable and therefore highly dangerous work.
I had the privilege of working in the resistance with a great number of radio-amateurs and I have the deepest respect and greatest appreciation for their contribution. The fellows never hesitated to stake their lives for the liberation of our homeland and the fight with the subduer. That was the fighting radio-amateur at his best.
MARTYRS TO THE CAUSE
To many it was not given to see the results of their work. Others had to suffer loneliness and privations in deportation, prison and concentration camps. Thanks to God many succeeded in escaping from the grip of the Gestapo.
In this comemorative article I have to limit myself to friends with whom I have worked together and also th those who have made the highest sacrifice, who gave their lives for us. Later I hope to mention the important work of those who had the luck to be spared. My first thoughts go to my great and true friends and fellow workers PAØRS - G.Reijns of The Hague, PAØGA - Th. C. van Braak of Varsseveld and PAØXK - A. van Mansum of Delft with whom I came in contact in 1941. Many of you wil probably know these friends. PAØGA, the sympathetic man of the Achterhoek who gave his services gallantly to the homeland in every field and every capacity, PAØRS the man who knew no fear and who, together with the quite but determined PAØXK, continued their so important radio contribution after I was arrested, but who were also arrested on February 18th, and shot on March 8th, 1945 - so short before the liberation. PAØGA, who gave me numberous and important data, and so often gave me and my fellow workers shelter, was taken to Germany and died in the concentration camp Gross-Rosenneat Breslau on December 31st, 1944.
My thoughts are also with my friend PAØMO - Meertens of Zwolle, who was arrested in 1942 and had to give his young life in the German hell.
I think of PAØXI - C.L.J. van Lent of Heemstede, and PAØXL - Father Klingen of Heemstede, who also lost their lives as victims of the hated Germans.
I think of PAØQQ - G. Gehrels, of Eindhoven, and PAØOZ - J.H. op den Velde, of Zaandam, who were like myself locked up in the Police Prison in Haaren, and which whom I could converse on several occasions in Morse through the waterpipe. We communicated like that for hours and exchanged news. these friends are also among those lost to us.
I think of PAØZB - H.A. Touw of Princenhage, the hero of the quiet post in Breda, who after having been for hours under fire from a farm had to capitulate and was shot.
And I finally think of PAØMB - G.A. Meerhof of Apeldoorn and PAØVL - J. de Vries of Amsterdam, who also stood up for the honor of Holland before a firing squad.
On this spot I am bringing to all these heroes my thanks and my homage. Let the survivors find some consolation in the knowledge of the fact, that the radio-amateurs of the world shall never forget these heroes. Their names are inscribed in the annals of the VERON (Association for Expermental Radio Operation in Netherland) as a brilliant example for us and the coming generations.
This article was written by A.S.M. van Schendel, head radio operator for the RVV, and was published in the radio-amateur magazine "Radio Craft" in October 1946.