At the beginning of 2023 I learned that the Dutch helper files have been scanned and made available on the Internet by the National Archives. To view them, go to https://catalog.archives.gov/id/5709392.
In the following sub-pages, I have posted an index to Dutch Helpers of Allied airmen during World War II from the records of The National Archives (TNA) of the United Kingdom, which I will refer to as the British index. (For the comparable index from National Archives II in College Park, Maryland, in the United States, the U.S. index, click here. Anyone researching a Dutch helper’s name should check both lists.) Researcher John Howes photographed the British index and was kind enough to provide me with a copy on a DVD. There is a total of 266 pages with upwards of 8000 names. The correct citations of the sources at TNA for the Dutch helper lists are WO 208/5476 Holland A – K and WO 208/5477 Holland L – Z.
Researchers also should take note of the database of Righteous Among Nations Honored by Yad Vashem for The Netherlands at http://www1.yadvashem.org/yv/en/righteous/pdf/virtial_wall/netherlands.pdf
In searching for a name, there are several things to keep in mind:
1. Not all helpers of Allied airmen will be listed. There are several reasons for this: (a) The helper may have died and there was no one left who could describe what he or she did. (b) The helper may have been too modest to speak about what he or she did or the person’s experiences may have been too painful to talk about. (c) The helper may have been an active Resistance member but involved in other types of Resistance work, with aid to airmen being only incidental. (d) Allied Military Intelligence tried to let it be known that they wanted to know what each helper did and who they helped, even advertising in newspapers. The helper may not have heard about it. (e) It may have been unclear which office of Allied Military Intelligence was in charge of that helper’s records or, for that matter, what the helper’s nationality was. For example, one of Tom Applewhite’s helpers was born in Switzerland, living in France, but a Belgian citizen. Conceivably, someone who was Dutch might turn up in the Belgian helper files. I have found some Dutch helpers in the Hungarian helper files.
2. The names are listed alphabetically by the main part of the name. For example, “van Aalst” is listed according to where “Aalst” appears, not “van Aalst,” but the “van” still appears in front of the “Aalst.” This is precisely the reverse of the way Dutch helper files are organized at the National Archives II in College Park, Maryland, with all “v’s” lumped together. This system of listing names applies also to “de” as in the case of “de Beer,” etc.
3. The alphabetical listing has some errors. For example, note how page B18 ends with BORGH and page B19 begins with BORCH. In at least one instance, a name (KIRK) was tacked on, out of order, at the end of the names starting with that same letter, i.e., following KWINT. In another instance, the name SILKENS has a page to itself, between SIDERIUS and SIEBELINK on the list. Also note that the consecutive letters “IJ” are treated as a “Y” for purposes of alphabetization. On page headings I have included the “Y” spelling in parentheses in order to make clear the alphabetical range of the names. See for example, pages B33 and B34 in the case of names like BIJL. In any event, if you don’t find a name where you expect to find it alphabetically, look at the entire list of names beginning with the same first letter.
4. A helper may no longer be living in the town where he or she was active. If you are looking for a helper you know was active in a particular town during the war but don’t find anyone by that name and that town, look for the person in a different town. The records of Allied Military Intelligence, in listing a helper’s address, give the contact address where he or she was after the Liberation.
5. Watch out for nicknames, middle names, and noms de guerre. A helper may have been known by his or her nickname, middle name, or nom de guerre but the helper list may use the person’s formal given name.
6. Award Grades. It is immediately obvious that the most common award grade was a 5 or 6. (NIL appears to refer to a lack of information or too little activity to warrant an award.) Much rarer were Grades 4 or higher. Out of the roughly 8000 awards, approximately 185 or 2.3% were Grade 4. Grade 3 had 61 or 0.7%. Grade 2 was 16, or 0.2%. The top award, Grade 1, had seven recipients, or 0.09%. Note that the award reflected aid to Allied military personnel and did not take into account other Resistance activities. Note also the high mortality rate: 15% of the Grade 4 awards were posthumous. For a discussion of the meaning of the Award Grade assigned to a helper, see an English-language explanation at http://www.evasioncomete.org/TxtAwards2.html and for French see http://www.evasioncomete.org/TxtAwards.html. Or for an explanation of the Award Grades on this website, see the History of the Holland Office, 6801 MIS-X Detachment, the second memo (dated 28 June 1946), pp. 7-11.
7. Check Both Dutch Lists. In the case of Dutch helpers, where there are two versions of the same index, both a U.S. index and a British index, be sure to check both for the following reasons: (1) spelling differences–only one version of the name may be correct; (2) use of initials on one list but not on the other; (3) on one list there is the helper’s spouse or other family member but not on the other; (4) one list may contain a more complete address; (5) one list may not even have that helper’s name but the other list does; (6) misspellings on one list may lead you astray but the other list has the name spelled correctly.
8. Eisenhower Certificate List. Another useful tool is the Netherlands Grade V (Eisenhower Certificate) available on-line, courtesy of the National Archives. It consists of 187 pages with 4,870 names and addresses of Grade V Dutch helpers compiled in late 1946 and early 1947.
It might be of interest to see who the recipients were of the top awards. For Grades 1, 2, and 3 the recipients were as follows:
- Johanna Maria Folmer, Zeist
- Peter Jan v.d. Hurk, Meppel
- Dick Kragt, c/o G.S.I.(X), B.A.O.R.
- Joseph Piller, Laren
- Henri Tummers, Echt
- Dirk Wildeboer, Ede
- Adriaan L. van Wylen, Sprang-Capelle
- Gerrit v.d. Born, Amersfoort
- Joannes Laurens v. Elsen, Tiel
- Jules Haeck, Hengelo (post.)
- Klaas Heljboer, Ammers
- Willem Houwen, Helden
- Trijntje Mulder, Leeuwarden
- Willem N. v. Nooten, Meppel
- Harry J.P. Otten, Erp
- J. Poels, Amerika
- L.A. Poels, Amerika
- Joannes Rombout, Dordrecht
- R. Roosjen, Roermond
- Karst Smit, Den Haag
- Frans Verbruggen, Roermond
- Johannes Cornelis Wannee, Den Haag
- C. van Woerkom, Sliedrecht
- Cornelis de Boer, Zwijndrecht
- B. Bouman, Roermond (post.)
- Evert Bruinekreeft, Barneveld
- Hendrik van Cleeff, Den Haag
- Klaas Decker, Brandwijk
- Klaas Decker, Boxtel
- Heimen v. Esveld, Kootwijkerbroek (Gld)
- Hendrik J. Evers, Roggel
- Jan Evers, Ederveen
- Henk Geerdink, Weert
- Hartog de Gelder, Tilburg
- Hubert Alphons Gerard, Hengelo
- J.P.G. Goossens, Deurne
- Mrs. Jentje de Groot-ter Bruggen, Meppel
- Johannes B. ter Haar, Lichtenvoorde
- Gerrit Hakkesteeg, Ammers
- Jan Jacobus de Heer, Delft
- Peter L. Hendrikx, Kepen
- Rachel Herz, Huize Berkhof Lunteren
- Eugene van der Heyden, Hilvarenbeek
- Harm Hoekstra, Fort Vuren by Gorinchem
- Johan I. Hollebrands, Sliedrecht
- M.E. Hooyer-Dubois, Haelen
- Johannes Jager, Ede
- Roel de Jong, Amsterdam
- Albert Jan Koeslag, Laren (father)
- Albert Jan Koeslag, Laren (son)
- Adriaan S. Kuystsen, Sprang Capelle
- Leen Kuysten, Sprang-Capelle
- Paulus W. A. Landman, Hilvarenbeek
- Willem Leenman, Hardinxveld
- Ivan Johannes v.d. Ley, Dordrecht
- Captain Herman Lucas Alex. v. Loenen, Zeist
- Hendrik v. Loenen, Zeist
- Bernard Manders, Bakel
- Pieter G. Marang, Deventer
- Johan Adrian Meewis, Amsterdam
- Stefanie Memelauer-Nedwed, Hengelo
- Andries v.d. Meulen, no city
- Andries Mooren, Kelpen
- Menno A. de Nooy, Ede
- Herr de Nooy, Bennekom
- Dieuwke Nijhof, Ede
- Johannes v.d. Putten, Deurne
- G. Rietberg, Zutphen
- Aart Roelofsen, Lunteren
- C.A.J. Ruikes-Tummers, Echt
- Jan Seigers, Ommen
- Hendrikus Semler, Maarheeze
- C. Semler, Maarheeze
- Jan W. Stam, Ochten
- Petrus (Major) Symons, Maastricht
- Hendrik Jan Verhaaf, Ede
- Hendrik P.H. Verkennis, Stamprooy
- Roelof Corn. Vermeulen, Drachten
- Renier Hubert v.d. Vin, Neeritter
- Pieter Visser, Sliedrecht
- Mrs. Hermance de Vries-v.d.Wall-Bake, Amsterdam
- Pieter Westdorp, Utrecht
- Marinus van Wyngaarden, Dordrecht
To enlarge the image of a page, click once. Double-click to make it even larger. Use the back arrow to reverse the process.
Here are links to the sub-pages of this page:
- British Index to Dutch Helpers of Allied Personnel
- Dutch Helpers by Selected Cities and Towns
- Other Sources of Information on Members of the Resistance
- Digitized Dutch Helper List
- Dutch Resistance Memorial
- U.S. National Archives List of Dutch Helpers
- Dutch Pastors Who Aided Airmen
- North Brabant Helpers of Allied Airmen
Another source of information on Dutch helpers may be the Atkinson List of Dutch Helpers from the Dutch National Archives found elsewhere on this website. Click here to view it.
For the names of persons who received the Resistance Memorial Cross (Verzetsherdenkingskruis), which was awarded in the early 1980s, click here.
In October, 1944, I was shot down over the Dutch Islands and spent a month in hiding with Izak and Marie van der Maas on the island of Noord Beveland. My E&E #2614. I am still in touch with van der Maas family. Izak and Marie are deceased.
Jim Frolking, 1st Lt.
479th FG, 436 FS, 8AF Wattisham Airfield, Suffolk County, UK
I am writing you on behalf of my father Engelhard Adamse who is 95 years of age and is now living in the U.S. in Viera, Florida. He participated in saving American flyers during World War ll. He worked with the underground to get the flyers back to the U.S.
The flyers landed in a potato field in Holland by parachute. The farmers took off their work clothes and gave them to the flyers so their identity would be hidden from the Germans. The flyers were brought through the underground through several countries until they reached Spain where they were rescued by Americans and brought home.
My father’s family hid Jewish people in different homes to save them from going to the concentration camps.
He also brought English written books to the Americans to help pass the time while being hidden. He has alot more to tell and I would like you to have some information from him.
Maria Adamse-Van Name
Kan ik uw vader wat vragen stellen over een specifieke Amerikaanse piloot die geholpen is en die hij mogelijk heeft gekend?
Thanks God for people like your dad and thousands of brave men and women who standed against the Nazi regim. Thanks to you for sharing this story.
hello to you
i like to give you a name of a perssom who was helper during the ww2 in holland ede benekom!
Rachel DIDI Ross Hertz !!
Pleas !i look for this name (who is my mother ) and i dont find here .
please inform her name in the list of Dutch helpers at ww2
thanks for your help
Dear Mr. Harel,
I found what I believe is her listing, “Hertz, Rachel, Berkhofweg, Huize Berkhof, Lunteren” with a award grade 3, which is quite a high grade, recognizing her contribution. Most people on the list have no more than a grade 5. You will find the listing at https://wwii-netherlands-escape-lines.com/dutch-helper-list/index-to-dutch-helpers-of-allied-personnel/dutch-helper-names-haafter-to-hey/. For a discussion of award grades in English, go to http://www.evasioncomete.org/TxtAwards2.html. For it in French, see http://www.evasioncomete.org/TxtAwards.html. A video about her experiences which works is at http://www.communityjoodsmonument.nl/page/325723?forum_sta326664#comment-326664. The Wikipedia article at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rachel_(Roos-Hertz)_Harel is in English and gives a good overview of her life. She was a remarkable person.
I have a letter written by my grandmother who was hidden at times in Lunteren and Beunekom (her spelling) and stayed on and off with family named Folenar.
Dear Mr. Kohnstam,
I have ordered a copy of your book, “A Chance to Live,” and look forward to reading it.
My father ( Jacques Vrij) helped to escape British pilots during the WWII to Belgium. He was based in Maastricht, in the south of Holland. He received the pilots from J Folmer and R Roosjen. For his work he was awarded with the King’s Medal for Courage. To my surprise I do not find him on your list. His hiding name was Leo v. d Brink. Also under this name I can’t find him. Is there a way I can add him?
Dear Mr. Vrij,
I don’t know why your father is not listed. He certainly was a major figure among the Dutch helpers of Allied airmen. If you look at the following page on this website, https://wwii-netherlands-escape-lines.com/govt-reports/history-of-the-holland-office-6801-mis-x-det/, you will see how the British and Americans tried to identify everyone who helped airmen but had a limited amount of time in which to do it. In spite of publicizing their search in Dutch newspapers and on Dutch radio stations, some helpers chose not respond. If you would like to submit a story about your father’s help to airmen, I would be quite happy to add it to this website. As for the list of Dutch helpers on this website, it consists of photographic images of the list at the British National Archives and reflects what the Allies compiled by 1946. I don’t know any way to change it. But adding something written by you would be searchable on the Internet and therefore more accessible to the public than a name on the list.
Just wondering my father Cornelius van eijil told of a time he rescued and hid a Canadian pilot.
Response: I list reasons why a helper of an airman might not appear on the list of helpers at https://wwii-netherlands-escape-lines.com/helpers-of-allied-airmen/dutch-helper-list/ on this website. You might try searching the full list of Dutch helpers for any who were from the same town as your father. Then if there are any from that town, order copies of their helper files from the National Archives. If you father was associated with any of them, his name might turn up on their helper files.
Hi all. I was wondering if anyone would have information or would have heard of/known of my grandfather Justinus (Just) (Adolf) Swaab. He was in the student resistance and at one point had to flee over the Comet Line himself. Once in England he met my grandmother, Grace. I have not known either of them as they both died before my birth. I have become a documentary maker and journalist who now started to cover war zones and I do (voluntary) humanitarian work helping refugees and victims of war. I would at one point like to make a documentary about my grandfather, the Comet Line, and was wondering if I am still in time of anyone who has ever heard of him in his resistance period. Thank you so much, Justine Grace Swaab.
His name does not appear on the British or U.S. indexes to Dutch, Belgian, or French helpers. What was his nationality, where did he live, and where was he active in the resistance? Since he was a student, at what university was he studying?
Hi Justine, We have come across files about Justinus Adolf Schwaab, but I assume that concerns your grandfather. J A Schwaab was born in The Hague on July 25, 1917. He arrived in the UK on March 16, 1943
I’m Justine’s mother and am very interested in the files you write about. Justinus Adolf Swaab is my father and was indeed born in THe Hague on July 25 1917. However the name is Swaab and not Schwaab.
Ty for responding. We have your father in the database of Museum Engelandvaarders in Noordwijk, but we have no photograph. Can you help me there? He was part of the Utrecht resistance, did he study there? Also, we dont know what he did after arriving in England. (email@example.com)
Thank you for your prompt reply.I am very excited to hear that you have information about my father in the database of Museum Engelandvaarders. My father died when I was in my early twenties and I am trying to find out more about what he did in the war. I will email you at the above email address tomorrow and give you the information you asked for. I will also send you a photograph of him. I also have a photograph of him in Lourdes France taken on the 11th of September 1943. Probably on his way to the Pyrenees. Would you be interested? The other questions I will answer in an email tomorrow.
Hi Shannon, many Engelandvaarders passed through Lourdes. Yes, that picture would also be welcome! Thanks.
I have sent an email to the above address and hope to hear from you soon.
Can you try again, i didnt receive it.
I will try again. I did write it in Dutch, hope that’s not a problem.
The email has been sent again to firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for the help! Pauline, I’ve missed the notifications of your replies, that went to my spam inbox. My apologies. Thank you for any leads.
And I am also very excited about this new information! Thank you!
Geachte Heer, dank u voor deze website. Ik,vond er meer informatie over de GRADES I to VI m.b.t. de helpers van piloten. Tevergeefs zoek ik nog naar de afkorting die werd gebruikt op de fiche van een Belgische helper : “ Grade : Un. L of Th. “. Het betreft Lambert DELVAUX uit Lauw, Limbourg, Belgium. Heeft u enig idee waarvoor deze afkorting staat? Met vriendelijke groet, Wim Doms
Dear Mr. Doms,
My understanding is that “Un. L. of Th.” stands for “Unofficial Letter of Thanks”. It seems to fall below the Grade 5 designation in the system used by the Allies to recognize what helpers of Allied evaders did to help them. I see that Lambert Delvaux of Lauw, Limbourg, Belgium was recognized as a Grade 5. (Grade 1 was the highest designation, usually awarded to the head of a major escape line.) If you go to https://wwii-netherlands-escape-lines.com/govt-reports/history-of-the-holland-office-6801-mis-x-det/ on this website, you will find a report on how awards were given, which applies to those given to Belgians as well as the Dutch. Plans by the US National Archives to scan and post on the Internet the files of Dutch, Belgian, French helpers has been postponed because of the virus. But you may be able to get a copy of Mr. Delvaux’s helper file by writing to the following:
National Archives at College Park – Textual Reference (RDT2)
National Archives at College Park
8601 Adelphi Road
College Park, MD 20740-6001