Matthijs Verkuijl, Henk Verkuijl and Pieter Elias were executed at this location on 15 December 1944. Before the commemoration, relatives, neighbours, parents, teachers and children from Veerkracht Primary School will walk together in a procession to the monument.
At the memorial, there will be an opportunity to lay flowers, commemorate the victims of World War II together and reflect on war and violence in the world. You are welcome to attend.
19:15 Gathering at Veerkracht Primary School, Slotermeerlaan 160
19:30 Departure for the monument on the Haarlemmerweg
19:40 Start of commemoration at monument
20:15 End of commemoration
On two consecutive occasions in the Autumn of 1944, the resistance committed sabotage on German military transport vehicles on the Amsterdam-Haarlem railway line. Both of these incidents took place near the farmhouse ‘Vredelust’, not far from Sloterdijk. On 15 December 1944, the German occupiers decided to create a deterrent. They took three resistance fighters from the prison at the House of Detention on the Weteringschans and brought them to the scene where the act of sabotage had taken place. Here, policeman Piet Elias (37), manager Matthijs (‘Pa’) Verkuijl (49) and his eldest son Henk (22) from Badhoevedorp were shot dead in full view of bystanders. Their remains were kept there as a warning. After liberation, the three victims were reburied in the Bloemendaal Cemetery of Honour.
Piet Elias was an Amsterdam policeman with a strong sense of justice. This is why he helped Jewish children go into hiding. He exposed Dutch informants of the Sicherheitsdienst (SD) for the resistance and became increasingly active in illegal activities. When he drove from Alkmaar to Amsterdam for an illegal arms transport on 17 November 1944, the Germans caught him. The SD found weapons from English arms drops in his home.
Matthijs Verkuijl, whom everyone called ‘Pa Verkuijl’, was initially involved in the Rotterdam resistance. In 1943, he moved to Badhoevedorp for work and continued his resistance work in Haarlemmermeer. The resistance group that was created around ‘Pa Verkuijl’ provided hiding addresses for wanted resistance fighters and other people in hiding. The resistance also managed warehouses for weapons dropped by British planes. In late 1944, things went wrong. There was talk of betrayal in their own circle. On 24 November, the Germans raided his company ‘Veevita’ and his home. Together with his eldest son, ‘Pa Verkuijl’ was arrested.
Like his father, Henk Verkuijl traded in cattle feed. Between October 1943 and 1944, he carried out armed robberies on a distribution office and a police station as a member of a commando squad in the Westland region of South Holland. On 23 November 1943, Henk spent the night at his parents’ house in Badhoevedorp whilst the German invasion took place. Father and son were locked up in the House of Detention on Amsterdam’s Weteringschans. Like their fellow prisoner, policeman Piet Elias, they were given the status of Toteskandidat: a prisoner on a list to be shot as reprisal for an attack by the resistance. On 15 December, the three men were taken from their cells to be executed without trial.
Residents of farmhouse ‘Vredelust’ placed a white wooden cross with the names of the three victims in front of their farmhouse in 1947. After some time, the memorial fell into disrepair. On 14 December 1964, due to a rearrangement of the Haarlemmerweg and the demolition of the farm, a new white cross with the three names was placed on the verge of the now busy Haarlemmerweg . The widows, Mrs J.A. (‘Ma’) Verkuijl and Mrs Elias unveiled the monument in the pouring rain. A representative of the Former Resistance Netherlands said in a speech that the three fallen resistance fighters really did deserve more than than another simple wooden cross. He suggested a collection should take place to pay for a dignified moment. It took 55 years for this to happen.
From 2017, the Haarlemmerweg underwent a metamorphosis; what was formerly a busy motorway became a sleepy urban road. The white cross had to be moved. In consultation with relatives, a decision was made to commission landscape architect Saskia Bongers to create a new design. On 5 December 2019, exactly 75 years after the execution, the unveiling took place. The Remembrance of the Dead takes place at the monument every year on 4th May.