This story will be told in English on Sunday May 5 at 12.00 noon and 2.00 PM.
Tonny van Renterghem fought the Germans from the moment they invaded The Netherlands in May 1940, till the entrance of the allied forces in Amsterdam on May 7 1945. He played an important role in the resistance as fighter, photographer and commander.
As ensign of the First Motor Cyclist Hussar Regiment in the Royal Dutch Army, the 21-year old Tonny van Renterghem fought the Germans during the invasion of The Netherlands in May 1940. He grew up in a wealthy family and lived in the elegant house on Gabriël Metsustraat 9, which is now the Van Miereveldstraat 13. He had to go into hiding when he officially joined the resistance with the Ordedienst (OD).
In the meantime he used his parents’ house regularly to hide Jews and other resistance members. In 1944 the OD was joined with the National Armed Forces and Tonny became chief of staff of Amsterdam-South and commander of Stormgroep Amsterdam New-South. With connections everywhere, Tonny was an important figure within the resistance. Together with Fritz Kahlenberg he founded De Ondergedoken Camera and organised exhibitions with this illegal photography club.
On May 7 1945, as a scout, he joined the British 49th Infantry Division, Polar Bears, the first allied forces that entered Amsterdam through the Berlage bridge, followed by the Canadians. Thanks to Tonny a plaque was made for the bridge, which states that it was in fact the British, not the Canadians, who entered Amsterdam first. After the war, Tonny moved to California.
A biography about Tonny, The Last Hussar: Resistance without Bullets, written by Tonny van Renterghem and edited by Pauline Wesselink, came out in 2009. Together with Tonny’s widow, Susanne Severeid, Pauline Wesselink tells the story about Tonny’s life during the war. Spoken in English.