As the war dragged on, Germany needed more and more young men from the occupied countries for work in the Reich. After first trying “voluntary” methods of persuading young Dutchmen to join the labor draft, from March 1942 to September 1944, they imposed a legal obligation on them, accompanied by penalties for non-compliance and police enforcement. Later they would resort to seizing all young men using mass raids. (See Werner Warmbrunn, The Dutch Under German Occupation 1940-1945).
Onderduikers (literally “underdivers”) was the term applied to young Dutch men who, having no interest in helping the German war effort nor in being bombed by the Allies if they were working in German installations that were military targets, went into hiding, many on farms where they could pay for their keep by helping as farm workers.
There are no estimates of the number of onderduikers helped by the Smit-van der Heijden line, but Karst Smit, in a report he provided in 1945, did give some names:
“Aid to Dutch Nationals Refusing to Work in Germany
“Toward the end of 1941 I started to place Dutch nationals refusing to work in Germany with Flemish farmers. Since at that time I wasn’t keeping track of any names or other information concerning the people I was helping, I find it impossible to name all those people. However here are a few names I remember:
- TINNEMEIJER, H. placed with farmer DE BRUIJN, Het Dun, Esbeek (N.Br.)
- TINNEMEIJER, J. same with farmer VAN EIJK, De Kieviet, Esbeek (N.Br.)
- KUNST, J. same with VAN OSTADE, Molenstraat, 126, Diessen (N.Br.)
- JAN………… same with farmer DIRK VAN LIER, Esbeek
- SMIT, R. same with farmer v. d. BIGGELAAR, De Koekoek, Esbeek.
- HOOGENRAAD, M.E. in Bosch [forest?] de Hertgang, Landgoed de Utrecht, Esbeek.
- DE BIE, P. same same”
[Note that the R. Smit is most likely Karst's brother, Romke. The M.E. Hoogenraad was Karst's commanding officers in the Jagers.]
The term Engelandvaarders was given to the young Dutch men who sought to go to England and join the Allied forces to continue the fight against the German invaders. Escape to England by sea was extraordinarily difficult due to German control of the coast. For most, the best option, difficult as it was, was to go through Belgium and France to Spain and then on to Gibraltar or Portugal. For some interesting Internet sites on Engelandvaarders, click here.
In Karst Smit’s 1945 report, he wrote the following about Engelandvaarders and other Dutch citizens who sought to leave The Netherlands:
“Aid to Dutch Citizens
“During that time period I managed to help about 30 Dutch citizens cross the border, among whom:
- Mr. H.P. LINTHORST HOMAN, currently Lieutenant-Colonel at the M.G. in ‘s-Gravenhage.
- Ir. A. AUSEMS, in Zaandam, current address unknown. In September or October 1943 I transferred that person to Brussels and in January 1944 she was parachuted over Holland again.
- Ritm. PAHUD DE MORTANGES.
- Lieutenant GRETER [Greter is identified in other records as Captain Johan Jacob Greter of the Dutch Artillery and a well-known horseman in equestrian events, having won a silver medal in the 1936 Summer Olympics in the Dutch show-jumping team.]
- ERIK SCHIFF (son Director Vredestein-factory), Westeinde 3a, Voorburg, Presently pilot R.A.F.
- KAREL VAN ROSSUM, presently pilot R.A.F.
- GOVERT V.D. BOSCH, rue de Java, 48, ‘s-Gravenhage.
- TRIP (son director Ned. Bank-Banque néerlandaise-)
- VAN STOLK (son Abr. van Stolk’s Houthandel, Rotterdam)
- ELSJE BOON, Rapenburg, 11, Leiden.
- Mr. P. WIBBENS, presently secretary of the purging (purifying?) committee in Gröningen.
- KROL, Director R.M.I., Nassaukade 36, Rijswijk (Z.H.)
- Mme N. [Nel or Petronella] VAN GELLICUM, avenue Brugmann, 422, Brussels.
- Peter VAN DORMALEN from Udenhout, pseudonym in Belgium, “J. VERSTRAETE[N?]”, in Holland van Delft.