Willem Arondéus A gay World War II hero

If anyone in this list is to be called a hero, it is Willem Arondéus (Wikipedia). In 1943, he took part in one of the most spectacular attacks against the German (Nazi) occupiers. Together with some other resistance fighters, Willem plotted a bomb attack on the Amsterdam Register of Births. This official register listed all Amsterdammers, including information about their religion. This made it easy for the authorities to find out where Jews lived, so that they could be arrested, deported and murdered in the concentration camps.

The Register was only partly destroyed, and the organizing group was soon arrested and executed. Willem too, paid with his life for his heroism. Unfortunately, at the time of the attack, most Amsterdam Jews were already rounded up.

The Province of Noordholland organizes the Willem Arondéus Lecture annually, in order to keep his name in living memory.

Grave of Willem Arondéus at the cemetery ‘Eerebegraafplaats Bloemendaal’, in the dunes near Haarlem.

A plaque on the wall of the Artis Zoo entrance serves as a reminder of the brave participants in the bomb attack.

Location of the plaque in the wall of Artis Zoo:

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Commemoration plaque Attack on the Register of Births

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Commemoration plaque Attack on the Register of Births 52.366828, 4.912326 \"Let it be known that homosexuals are not cowards.\" (Last words of Willem Arondéus) Commemoration plaque Attack on the Register of Births This is the location of where the Amsterdam Register of Births used to be. The Nazis used this register to find out where Jews were living, so they could be arrested. To prevent this, the underground resistance staged a bomb attack on the register, in 1943. This group was led by Willem Arondéus (Wikipedia), who was openly gay, even before the war started. The attack destroyed the Register only partly, and the resistance group was soon arrested and executed. Arondéus\' name is mentioned on the plaque in the wall of the building next to the entrance of Artis Zoo (Plantage Kerklaan 36). Also, his name lives on in the name of a yearly lecture, organized by the Province of Noordholland, the Willem Arondéus Lecture. In 1945, the Dutch Government awarded him a medal, posthumously. Willem Arondéus lies buried on the Eerebegraafplaats Bloemendaal (website), a special cemetery in the dunes near Haarlem, where 373 World War II resistance fighters are buried (locate on map). Grave of Willem Arondéus in the dunes near Haarlem Sjoerd Bakker Sjoerd Bakker (who was also gay) was also involved in the attack on the registry - he was a tailor, so he made the police uniforms necessary for the men who carried out the attack. Sjoerd Bakker was also caught and executed, his name is the 10th name on the commemoration plaque at Plantage Kerklaan 36. Like Willem Arondéus, he lies buried at the honorary cemetery Bloemendaal. [caption id=\"\" align=\"alignnone\" width=\"150\"] Sjoerd Bakker, tailor[/caption]

See also our Map of Historic Gay Places, where you may find some extra information about Willem Arondéus.

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