SOE WAR DIARIES NOVEMBER 1944 part 1D.
V- AGENTS’ REPORTS
CRICKET (Tony Cnoops)
Arrival in Amsterdam
On the 31st March, 1944 I was dropped in Holland (near Slootpolder, Wieringermeer) together with BOB SIPMA (Huub Sanders) (CURLING) my W/T, BOB CELOSSE (FARO), who had to bring me in contact with the RVV, and his assistant HARRY SCHOUTEN (Johan Seijben) (PING PONG). His W/T lost control of his nerves coming over Holland and refused to jump. This was directly the cause of my arrest because I could not break off connection with FARO as he had to use my W/T. The rest of us landed safely, and we arrived at our destination - a village - just after sunrise. FARO arrange with a cattle driver to take us along to Amsterdam where we arrived without any interference. FARO took us to a lady made her living by letting rooms. He learned very quickly that his whole organization (CS-6), except for a few, had been arrested.
First Contact with RVV
Soon afterwards FARO (Celosse) found a safehouse from which CURLING contacted England. At the same time he brought me in contact with the RVV. This contact was not with KAREL the head, but with one of his men in a meeting place in Amsterdam. Men came here every day and night from the LO and OD and there were several independent men, always ready for a scrap and to give help. I was very anxious to break with FARO and I expected that as we had been dropped on the first day of the moon period another W/T would have followed in the same period. As soon as we made contact with England they could have told us where to pick him up, but this was not done. After CURLING had made contact with England, in one of my first telegrams I said that I was anxious to break with FARO and that a W/T operator should be sent for him, but the second moon period passed without anyone coming.
Just after I had made good contacts and was practically working day and night, things started to happen. The first indication was that PING-PONG had been arrested. FARO got information that he was last seen drunk. I talked to PING-PONG in the concentration camp and he denied that he had been drunk and I believe him. FARO’s wife (Miep Celosse) had a nervous breakdown and he needed someone to run his house and to take messages over the telephone and so on. One of his most trusted men sent someone along and said that he would be guaranteed. Who was the traitor. His name was KLAAS. When I was introduced to him, I disliked him and told FARO so, but he would hear nothing against him.
Cricket Meets Karel
In the meantime, FARO (Celosse) and I had a meeting with KAREL (Thijssen) in Hilversum. On the 19th of May I met KAREL and talked with him about dropping points, I went with one of his men in a “road control” car to the Biesbosch. I found what I thought to be a suitable point. The chap with me knew the farmer, and after some talk, I told him what I wanted and he promised to give all possible help.
Returns to Amsterdam
It was there that I made a fatal mistake. I had a very strong feeling that I should not go back to Amsterdam, but against that feeling I went, on account of appointments with resistance leaders. On Friday evening then I returned to Amsterdam and went to FARO’s house. A telegram from England was waiting, but CURLING had received it badly as usual and after three hours work had not been able to decipher it.
I then made up my last telegram about the dropping points in the Biesbosch. When I had put it in code I went to bed about 3 a.m. At 8.30 next morning when I was still in bed KLAAS opened my bedroom with a pair of cleaned boots in his hand. My revolver was lying on the floor next to the bed. He said: “I
have cleaned your boots”, put them down and grasped my revolver and at the same moment, two SD men hurled themselves on to me. KLAAS must have made a duplicate key, waited until FARO was away and come in silently. I was taken by surprise, but fought desperately. I had no chance being still half
under the blanket. I was handcuffed and stripped from my pyjamas. They dressed me, after searching every piece of clothing before allowing me to put it on. When I was dressed, the bell rang.
It was CISKA, our cut-out, bringing flowers for me (it was my birthday) KLAAS and one of the SD went to the door and left me alone in the bedroom with the other SD. When I heard the front door open, I jumped from my chair and tried to kick the SD between the legs, but he saw me coming and knocked me down. When CISKA was tied up, the other SD came back and I was tied to the bed with a another pair of handcuffs. They also put a towel loose around my neck, and every time someone rang the bell, they swung the towel so that I was gasping for breath and could not make a sound. After CISKA came MIES, FARO’s wife. They were put with me sitting on the bed. Then came FARO. When KLAAS opened the door, I heard him say:
“So, are you back again” I heard a hard struggle and then KLAAS came into the bedroom and reported to the SD who was guarding me, that everybody was caught.
First interrogation (Cnoops was arrested May 19th 1944)
We were first taken to the SD HQ Lutherpoort and then, after a long wait, to Haaren, where we arrived at 12.30 that night, without having had a bite or a drink all day. I was led straight away to a room still handcuffed. My interrogator was Obersturmgrupfuhrer HAUBROCK. He put plenty of cigararettes in front of me and seated himself behind his typewriter.
He said: “Well Tony, you were dropped on the 31st March in the Wieringermeer and we know everything. .Just tell me your name and everything to check up”.
I said to him: “You got me all right, but if you know everything, then you should also know that I am no
traitor and that I do not talk. You are a German officer fighting for your country; I am a Dutch officer fighting for mine, that’s all”.
Then another German came in with my revolver and asked me if it was mine. I said: “Yes”.
“I am sure that you would not have used it” he said, smiling.
I said: “Give me a goddamned chance and I will show you”.
I thought he was going to hit me, but HAUBROCK motioned to him to go away. Then another came in with my telegram and asked if I had changed already the first and last group. (this must have been May) So they knew all about that! He wanted to know what the chances was. At first I refused, but al last I gave him 2 over 4, 3 over 5, hoping that England would notice the hint straight away. As long as I was in Haaren from 26th May until August 4th , I was never hit or hurt. They gave me the name of TIGER.
A Birthday Treat
When having a shower one day, I looked through a hole at the side and saw MIES (FARO’s wife) and she saw me. I also saw CISKA in HAUBROCK’s office and I was allowed to talk to her for five minutes in German in the presence of HAUBROCK, CISKA was looking well - it was her birthday. I told her that the invasion was going fine; HAUBROCK pulled a face but did not say anything. CISKA seemed relieved. I kissed her goodbye and that was the last I ever saw of her. That she had been allowed to see me was meant as a kind of birthday present for her; she had asked for it. She told me that she had been in hospital for a fortnight with ear trouble and that she had been well treated.
Treachery in England?
One day HAUBROCK said there was no difference between my work and his. I was fed up and told him that was a lot of difference, that the only way he worked was with traitors.
He jumped up and shouted furiously : “That is a lie. We only got a message FROM ENGLAND three days after you had been dropped, telling us where you were”.
That proves that there was a leak in England.
(Again this seems to prove that Haubrock and May knew much more than the captured agents realized, certainly the code expert May knew a lot about coding methodes)
On the 4th August, I was brought by car from Haaren to the concentration camp in Vught. In Haren the food was good and sufficient, but in Vught the food was very bad and far too little - really hunger rations. The last four weeks in Vught were especially horrible. Every day men were taken out of their cells at random and put on the square. Half the cells looked out on the square and the men in them what happened and passed the information on to us. The men on the square were beaten and kicked around for one or two hours and then loaded into a closed van. We could follow the sound of that van and when it stopped he heard machine gun fire and then as many single shots as there had been men on the square.
We left Vught on the 6th September for Sachsenhausen in Germany. When we left, everyone had to give his name. I changed mine to TONY TIGER to make enquiries about me more difficult. There were eight of us in a cattle truck. There I was told by a man who knew FARO very well that FARO had been on the square the last day before we left and gave him a message. “Tell MIES and TONY not to worry. I wish them the best of luck”.
When I heard that, I broke down. In that short time we had become great friends. He had an enormous amount of courage and I had grown fond of him.
Next day, after we had arrived at Sachsenhausen our hair was shaved off and we got a pair of throusers and a jacket, but no underwear. We had to run to Heinkel, about an hour’s distance. The men who were too slow were beaten with butts of rifles. In Heinkel the food was bad and there was a lot of beating.
In October we were sent back to Sachsenhausen and in November I was drafted to Brandenburg and worked there in the SS Bekleidungs Lager. The food was very bad and there was not enough. The work was very hard and I stole food from the SS to keep alive. On April 23rd we started walking back to Sachsenhausen with SS guards. On the 25th I and another Dutch prisoner escaped together in the evening; it was easy.
Half an hour afterwards, the Russians came near. We were laying flat in a field under a small bush. Shells and machine gun fire passed over us, but we did not care anymore. We were exhausted and fell asleep. Sat Three o’ clock in the morning, somebody was poking a light machine gun in my stomach. Not a particularly nice way to wake anyone up. It was a German Patrol, but not SS; just the Army. We were dragged along for three days and it was not so bad. When nobody was looking, we got some cigarettes or bread from many a German soldier - not a bad lot. A Soldier was guarding us, with his hand in his pocket, rifle on his shoulder and a cigarette in his mouth. A sergeant major swore at him and he threw the cigarette away and took his hand out of his pocket. I went up to the same barking Sergeant Major and asked for food. He wanted to know why I had been in a concentration camp. I told him that it was because I did not like Hitler and above all, was a Dutchman, would remain a Dutchman and therefore had worked against them. He looked me up and down and grinned. Five minutes later, he brought me half a loaf of bread and half a tin of bully beef. If you knew the German mentality, you could do a lot and say a lot, but if you showed that you were afraid you were lost.
Between Two Fires
We were brought to Kyrits, 50 km from Waterberg, where I crossed the Elbe. We were here for three days in jail and then put in a big shed with only one man to guard us. That same evening, the Germans came along, at top speed running from the Russians. My friend and I were tired and went to sleep. Ar four
o’clock the shooting started but we stayed on. At five o’clock, a single German tank drew up next to the shed and the officer barked to defend to the last. That was too hot for me and I scrammed, running very fast to a nearby farm. Two Russian prisoners of war were with me. They ran past this farm were cut to pieces by machine gun fire. We went on to the farm yard. We were caught between two fires and I did not feel very happy. Then two German soldiers ran past us and after them came two Russian soldiers, one covered in blood.
Trek to the West
An hour afterwards, the fire ceased and off we went into Kyrits and looted food - rice, butter, potatoes, flour and sugar. From that day on refugees of all nationalities came to Kyrits. We were told by the Russians Commander to stay in Kyrits. After three weeks, we were to move to a camp ten miles to the east.
There were, by that time, about 5000 refugees, comprising ex-prisoners of war and foreign workers. The Russian s put guards on the roads leading to the west. I did not like that idea and started working North and to the West and crossed the Elbe on the 20th May. On the same day I was transported to Luneburg, after that to Hamburg. I went by car to Brussels and landed at Groydon on the 31st May 1945.