1943-07-01

WILLEN ARONDEUS (B: 1894) was a Dutch  artist and author who was executed on this date. Arondeus joined the Dutch anti-Naze resistance movement during WWII. He participated in the bombing of the Amsterdam public records office to hinder the Nazi German effort to identify Dutch Jews and others wanted by the Gestapo. Arondeus was caught and executed soon after his arrest.

A concerted operation was underway to hide Jews among the local population, with various underground organizations preparing forged documents for Jews. Arondeus was a member of one such group, Raad van Verzet (Resistance Council), which also included openly Lesbian cellist and conductor Frieda Bellinfante and typographer Willem Sandberg, who was then curator at Amsterdam’s Stedelijk Museum. Within a short while, the Nazis began to expose the false documents by comparing the names with those in the local population registry. To hinder the Nazis, on 27 March 1943, Arondeus led a group in bombing the Amsterdam Public Records Office. Thousands of files were destroyed, and the attempt to compare forged documents with the registry was hindered. Within a week, Arondeus and the other members of the group were arrested. Twelve, including Arondeus, were executed that July by firing squad. In his last message before his execution, Arondeus, who had lived openly as a gay man before the war, told his lawyer: “Let it be known that homosexuals are not cowards!