Cafés, Hotels – Centers of Resistance Activity

Names of cafes, restaurants, and hotels turn up in various accounts of the escape line activity.  It might be valuable to list them all on one page on this website in order to focus attention on them.  I am including not only those used by the Smit-van der Heijden Line but also some that appear in Tom Applewhite’s story after he was passed on to Service EVA and then the Comet Line.  They appear in order from north to south, starting with The Netherlands and ending in Spain.

THE NETHERLANDS

Amsterdam

  • Coffee House of the N.Z.T.M. (Noord-Zuid-Hollandse Tramwegmaatschappij) – Described as on an apron across the Central Station, it was a regular meeting place of Eugene van der Heijden and Alphonse Theissing of the Dutch-Paris Line.

Baarle-Nassau

  • Café den Engel – Located in the center of Baarle-Nassau and directly opposite the Marechaussee headquarters.  It was owned by Cees Verheijen, who provided food for escaping airmen and guided them to Karst Smit.  It may also have been the place from which Elsje Boon of the Leiden University student escape line telephoned Karst to set up their meetings.  Escaping Engelandvaarders would meet Karst there.
  • Café Smolders – German soldiers who were customers at the café might express opposition to the war.  The owner would arrange for Marechaussees to help them desert.  (There is a question as to whether this should be the Café Smulders, but a café by that name may not have existed in Baarle-Nassau in WWII.)
  • Den Bonten Os Café – Popular with German soldiers.  One of them passed on information to the  owner’s two daughters.
  • Van Beek Family - Karst Smit and other marechaussees would have lunch at the Van Beek family home on Ordeelsestraat.  (Was this a family-run restaurant?)  Here they discussed what to do about Maria Cornelissen-Verhoeven’s Resistance activity and decided to have no connection to it.  (See Karst Smit’s article, “The Tragedy of Baarle-Hertog/Nassau.”)

Boxtel

  • Cafe Royal – Located diagonally across from the train station in Boxtel.  Resistance activity was directed from the cafe.  Top leadership of the L.O. met there, Jacques Raaijmakers directed a messenger service, and organizations helping airmen operated from there.  (See Vught in de tweede Wereldoorlog by Jeroen van den Eijnde.)

Esbeek/Landgoed de Utrecht

  • “In den Bockenreijder” (“Billy Goat Inn”) – Owned by Jacques and Octavia de Bruijn at their farm in the center of the Landgoed de Utrecht near the Belgian border.  Nearby, but deeper in the forest, was the hideout of the Dutch students.  When the weather turned cold, the students moved into a chicken coop near the inn.
  • (Name unknown) – According to the German trial record of Willem Schmidt, Petrus van Geel, and others, a teacher by the name of Lingemann from Zeist who knew Van Geel, called Van Geel and asked if he would be willing to take three young men across the border.  Van Geel contacted Marechaussee Albert Wisman and arranged for Lingemann to deliver the three young men to Wisman at a cafe in Esbeek.  Wisman took the three men across the border.
  • Rustoord – A vacation hotel and restaurant in Esbeek to which the veterinarian Roelvink of Oirschot in early June 1943 delivered Robert Conroy for pickup by the Smit-van der Heijden line.
Goirle

  • Hotel de Golf – Located in the woods south of Goirle, it is run by the Franken family.  Marechaussee Gerrit “Cas” van Kasbergen and marechaussee De Jong are quartered there.  Mrs. Franken puts them in touch with the Sewuster family who are willing to hid Jewish refugees on their way to Belgium.

Leiden

  • Café Doelen – Cited by Karst Smit in his list of contacts.  Located near the University of Leiden and the Leiden train station, it served as a convenient place to meet Elsje Boon and Pieter Wibbens of the university student Resistance group.  Boon hid a case of fake Belgian and Dutch ID papers at the café.

Moergestel (near Oisterwijk)

  • De Jonge Hertog (The Young Duke) - A tavern between Moergestel and Oisterwijk owned by Carol Schade who was active in the Resistance.  Before the war it was a popular rest stop for members of the Jagers Regiment on training marches.  It was here that Tom Applewhite was turned over to guide Jan Naaijkens on 13 Nov. 1943.

Tilburg

  • Hotel Mulders – It was located directly across the street from the Tilburg train station and is now known as the Central Hotel.    Airman Carl L. Spicer described how he was picked up by Marechaussees at the Tilburg train station and taken across the street to a hotel.  In one of the rooms he put on the uniform of a Marechaussee and rode in the sidecar of their motorcycle across the border into Belgium.  (See Over de Grens by Gerritsen and Gerritsen.)

BELGIUM

Brussels

  • Frituur de la Bourse – Café used as a meeting place by Karst Smit, Pieter Wibbens, Piet Henry, Jan Nauta, Baron Frans van Hugenpoth tot den Berenclauw, Elsje Boon, and Christiaan Lindemans (King Kong).  (See Karst Smit’s article, “De Laatste Weken Voor Mijn Arrestatie…”  See also Elsje Boon interview of 16 June 1982.)
  • Gendarme - Located in the Brussels commune of Schaerbeek near the Gare du Nord railway station, it was described as a beer joint run by Victor and Henriette Struelens.  Airman Lloyd A. Stanford was taken there by guide “Gaston.”  Stanford and another airman stayed upstairs in one room and would go downstairs every night to eat.
  • Hotel Saint Antoine – Described by Karst Smit as a third-rate small hotel near the Gare du Nord where he and Chris Lindemans would stay.  (Interview of Karst Smit by Dekkers and Klinkenberg, Intl. Institute of Social History, Dec. 13, 1980.)
  • Novada - Located on the Rue Neuve just north of the National Opera and south of the Notre Dame du Finistère church.  The street is now a popular shopping area.  Arthur Schrynemakers knew the owner, Richard Deboeck, regularly ate there and took Tom Applewhite there for lunch.
  • Taverne Bass (or Bas) – Karst Smit remembered this as having been used for meetings with Elsje Boon, Pieter Wibbens, and Chris Lindemans.  (Interview of Karst by Frans Dekkers and Wim Klinkenberg, Intl. Institute of Social History, Dec. 13, 1980.)  The book King Kong, by W.F. Hermans, cites testimony before the postwar parliamentary enquiry commission describing meetings at the Tavern Bas of Boon, Hugenpoth, Wibbens (going by the name Lambooy), and Smit.   Researcher Ed Reniére remembers a cafe by the name of Taverne Bass at 3, rue des Chartreux, a block from the Place de la Bourse.

Poppel

  • Kemph Café – 2nd Lt. Art Horning, USAAF, in his Escape & Evasion report, stated he was taken by a farmer to the Kemph Café in Poppel.  “The buxom, bossy woman who runs the Cafe took me to a farmhouse where I stayed with one of the farmhands for two weeks.”  This was probably the café of Yvonne DeJong-Abeele.

Turnhout

  • Cafe Jos. Engels – This café was listed by Karst Smit in his National Archives file as one of his contact addresses.  He described it as located opposite the railway station in Turnhout.  This may have been where Nello Malavasi and his guide Willem Schmidt were arrested leading to the destruction of the Smit-van der Heijden Line.  Airman Lloyd A. Stanford said that he “stopped at a beer joint in Turnhout which seemed to be a post office for the underground organization.”  From Stanford’s description, his guide must have been Willem Schmidt and the beer joint may have been the Cafe Jos. Engels.

Weelde

  • Segers Ooms Café – The café, owned by Maria Segers-Ooms, was the stopping point for the bus to Turnhout.  Guides would deliver Allied airmen and other escapees to the café and wait there for the next bus.  Bicycles would be hidden in the pens behind the café that were used by Maria’s husband, a butcher, to hold livestock waiting for slaughter.

FRANCE

Anglet (near Biarritz)

  • Café Larre in the Sutar neighborhood of the town of Anglet, owned by Marthe Mendiara.   Many  airmen spent a night there before being taken across the Pyrenees.

Paris

  • Hotel Montholon (also referred to in some written accounts as Hotel de Montelon or Montilon) – Located at 15 Rue Montholon, just off the Rue La Fayette, and less than a half mile from the Gare du Norde.  Used by escape line members, it was the scene of the arrests by the SD on approximately the night 9-10 March 1944 of Vic Swane and Agnes de Beaufort (Mrs. Van Boetzelaer), E. Verstijnen, Miss Verstijnen, and “Gilou,” wife of Christiaan Lindemans.   The hotel is still in business.

SPAIN

San Sebastian

  • Sometimes referred to as the Martutene pub (Martutene is a suburb of San Sebastian), it was run by a British couple who provided airmen who had just crossed the Pyrenees with food and new clothes.  Sometimes the husband also drove them to the British Embassy in Madrid.

One response to “Cafés, Hotels – Centers of Resistance Activity

  1. Nick Lambrechtsen

    Regarding Hotel Montholon in Paris, on that fateful night, my uncle Jacob Andreas Lambrechtsen was also arrested, and eventually died in Natzweiler KZ on about 28 April 1945. He was on the Germans’ “Nacht und Nebel” list. I can tell you a lot more about him if you wish to add him to the list of names you have already.
    Your website is an incredible goldmine. Congratulations.

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