Episode 1: The Addicks Group
On 10 May, 1940, the Netherlands was invaded by Nazi Germany. On the first day of the invasion, German aeroplanes could already be seen flying over the capital city, Amsterdam.
As German forces approached, petrol fires burned in the city’s north. The city’s Petroleumhaven was destroyed by British operatives by permission of the Dutch army, to prevent supplies from falling into German hands. A thick pall of smoke hung over Amsterdam’s streets and canals.
In this toxic atmosphere, people everywhere were faced with one question: How to react to the impending Nazi regime?
The Addicks Group
In Amsterdam, some members of a socialist youth group, the Arbeiders Jeugd Centrale (AJC), were determined that if there was going to be a resistance, they wanted to be involved.
These included 24 year old Arie Addicks, 20 year old Jan Zwanenburg, and 22 year old Rob Douma. After the AJC was forced to disband, they and their peers kept in contact, training in jiu-jitsu, and often taking part in street brawls against the Weerbaarheidsafdeling (WA), a Dutch nazi paramilitary force, similar to the SA ‘brown-shirts’ in Germany.
The young, former AJC-ers would become known as the Addicks Group. They resisted in various ways and operated from various parts of the city. Jan Zwanenburg lived in the east, Rob Douma in the west, and Arie Addicks in the south. They and others around the city defaced Nazi propaganda posters, handed out leaflets, and stencilled pamphlets and newsletters that contradicted what was written in the official, state-run Nazi press. Some even harboured ambitions to engage in sabotage against gas factories and electricity plants. But, at the beginning of the war, their actions were still limited, disorganised and somewhat superficial. They were, after all, still young and inexperienced, most aged between 18-25 years old.
Although Arie Addicks was not necessarily the leader of these young men, he was the one who brought them into contact with another man, a journalist named Frans Goedhart. Becoming more organised in their resistance, Addicks and his friends began distributing his anti-Nazi newsletter Nieuwsbrief van Pieter ‘t Hoen.
Before the war, Goedhart had been a correspondent in the Belgian press and made a name for himself railing against the pre-war neutrality policy of the Dutch government. His newsletter started as a one-man operation. However, needing funds and help in order to distribute it more effectively, after the first edition he slowly began to confide in and garner the support of friends and other acquaintances. One of these, a man named Jaap Melkman, was a friend of Arie Addicks’ family, Thus did the fates of the Addicks group and of the older Frans Goedhart, become intertwined.
Producing illegal newsletters was dangerous, difficult and dirty work. Initially, for those who engaged in this type of activity, the easiest way of producing prints was by stencil machine. As the occupation continued, and resistance became more organised, Goedhart joined forces with other activists and replaced the Nieuwsbrief van Pieter ‘t Hoen with another publication, which they called Het Parool. They announced themselves to the world in the first edition with the words “wij willen dit niet” (“we don’t want this”). The paper’s motto, placed below the title, was a line from the Dutch national anthem, Het Wilhelmus. It contained two words: “Vrij Onverveerd” (“free and fearless”).
Eventually, Het Parool acquired printing presses, allowing those involved to deliver exponentially more copies throughout Amsterdam and other parts of the Netherlands. Addicks’ house in the south of the city, on Boterdiepstraat, became a pick up point for the Addicks group, where they would collect copies of Het Parool, and set about getting them to the public.
Attempted arrest of Arie Addicks
It did not take long for the activities of the Addick’s group to come under the radar of the occupying forces. Like many others involved in early resistance activities, they had been naive about just how much their actions were putting them in danger. The Dutch police, in addition to the regime’s enforcement bodies, such as the Ordnungspolizei, Sicherheitsdienst (SD), and the SS in general, were geared towards extinguishing any acts of dissent against it, and executing its brutal policies.
On 2 September, 1941, two Dutch policemen, officers Daudt and Kuiper, paid a visit to the house of Arie Addicks, with the intent of arresting him. Arie, however, was not one to go quietly into the night. A scuffle ensued, which resulted in Arie’s escape, but also with his father shot and his mother wounded. From then on, Addicks was a fugitive. Everyone in his circle was now a target.
Addicks’ father did not recover from the injury he incurred in the policemen’s attempt to arrest his son. He died shortly after. His funeral was marred by the heavy presence of police and other forces searching for resistance members. Despite this, in what would be one of his final acts of resistance, Arie Addicks farewelled his father by watching the funeral procession from the back of a motorbike, inconspicuously passing through. Little did he know that in about one month’s time, he too would be dead.