Commemoration at De Gevallen Hoornblazer
4 MAY 2023
19:35 — 20:15
Attention! This event has already passed.
The annual commemoration will take place on 4th May on the Eerste Weteringplantsoen at the 'The Fallen Hornblower' monument.

This memorial is a tribute to the 30 political prisoners who were executed here in an act of retaliation by occupying forces on 12 March 1945.



Start of commemoration with welcome address and music, followed by speakers.


The Last Post


Two minutes of silence

What happened at this place?

On 10 March 1945, the Sicherheitsdienst raided a building on Amsterdam’s Stadhouderskade. This location was the central post of an illegal resistance group founded by Ms J.J. van Tongeren. All members of the group had a code number that was recorded in a register. The ‘key’ for the register was buried in the garden of the building.

On 11 March 1945, some members of the resistance forced their way into the property. A gunfight ensued and SS Hauptscharführer Ernst Wehner was fatally hit.

In retaliation, 30 prisoners from the House of Detention were transferred to Eerste Weteringplantsoen the next day. The prisoners were executed by firing squad, witnessed by hundreds of Amsterdam residents who had been forced by the occupying forces to stand close by and watch .


The ‘Gevallen Hoornblazer’ (‘Fallen Hornblower’) monument on the Weteringschans was designed by Gerrit Bolhuis and was unveiled in September 1954. It features a shot-down resistance fighter, making one last attempt to sound the horn to call for the fight for freedom, cast in bronze and resting on a plinth. Every year, a neighbourhood committee organises a well-attended commemoration at the monument that recalls a dramatic event that took place at this spot just a few weeks before liberation.

The event that the monument recalls bagan with a German raid on a house opposite the monument, at Stadhouderskade 56, on the night of 10th-11th March 1945. The property turned out to be the headquarters of a resistance group. A shootout ensued in which SS officer Ernst Wehner was fatally hit. The German occupiers were furious and sought revenge. Not for the first time, they used terror tactics as a deterrent in the hope of preventing more acts of resistance. In the early morning of 12 March, 30 randomly selected prisoners were led out in handcuffs from the nearby House of Detention on Kleine Gartmanplantsoen (next to where music venue Paradiso stands now). German soldiers held them at gunpoint. Trucks were waiting. The men clambered into the vehicles. The head of the Sicherheitsdienst (SD), Willy Lages is there, watching. The much-dreaded German policeman ordered the revenge attack. The men he ordered to be taken out of the cell were imprisoned for resistance work, but not in connection to the incident. It was only a short drive to the park on the Weteringschans. In the meantime, German soldiers forced random passers-by to go to the plantsoen and removed some local residents from their homes to do the same. They were to witness the horror that was about to happen. The trucks drove into the plantation with their tailgates open. The first 10 men were pushed out of the truck towards the waterfront. they were lined up facing a firing squad, consisting of members of the Grüne Polizei, in front of a long heap of rubbish . An SS officer gave a brief statement: “Because of a cowardly assassination attempt on a member of the occupying forces, thirty terrorists and saboteurs will be shot to death”. Shortly afterwards, the command ‘fire’ sounded and the victims dropped dead. The men, women and even children who were forced to watch turned their faces away. It is made clear to them using blows from rifle butts that they must keep watching. Soon after, the next ten men are ready and the gruesome scene repeats. Finally, the last ten men are shot. German terror had reached its deepest point. The youngest victim was 19-year-old Arie Verwoerd. Three days earlier, he was stopped by two Dutch policemen for a check of his identity card. The officers looked closely at his identity card and saw that it had been tampered with. The oldest was 58-year-old Willem van Velzen.

The retaliatory action lasted no more than 20 minutes. After the final round of fire, the firing squad marched off. The German soldiers who had been tormenting the bystanders also left. As a warning and deterrent, the occupying forces left the bodies of the victims lying around for hours before they were picked up by truck. After some time, two men turned up. They honoured the victims by placing a large Dutch flag over the bodies. It was only later that a 31st victim joined them: pastor Jan Koopmans. Koopmans was a member of the resistance, and was in hiding in a house on Stadhouderskade, directly opposite Weteringplantsoen. He stood there at the window, watching the scene, until he was hit and fatally wounded by a stray bullet.

Commemoration at De Gevallen Hoornblazer
4 MAY 2023
19:35 — 20:15

Part of Silent March & Commemorations
Website by HOAX Amsterdam