Bakker, Dionisius Dirk.

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Bakker, Dionisius Dirk, born, 01-10-1879 in Dubbeldam near Dordrecht, the son of Adrianus Bakker (Dubbeldam 1842) and Maria Leenheer (Strijen ca. 1841). He comes from a large family. In 1898 Dionisius married Johanna Willemina Kramp (in Doesburg 1880) and they had four children together. Bakker initially worked as a blacksmith and later as a conductor on the railways. The family lives in Dordrecht, Rotterdam, ‘s-Gravenzande and Amsterdam. There Bakker becomes chief conductor. When his wife suddenly dies at the end of 1937, the much younger Cornelia Johanna van Rheenen (Haarlem 1900) comes to do the housework. Bakker eventually married her and the couple moved to 14 Albertlaan in Nunspeet in the late 1930s. Bakker is stationmaster there for a short time, before taking early retirement. The spouses are socialists and much of the resistance work in Nunspeet and the surrounding area is done by the local socialist organization.

During the war, the couple was known as Opa Bakker and Aunt Cor. Their house is the contact address for various resistance organizations, such as the National Organization for Help to Hideers, National Fighting Teams and the courier and intelligence service Rolls Royce. From the summer of 1940, the couple hides in and around their house near the forest, such as Jews and later Allied pilots. Bakker comes into the leadership of the LO in Nunspeet and in 1943 he and his wife are co-founders of the Hidden Village (April 1943 – October 1944): a hiding place in the Soerelse woods around Vierhouten, which consists of huts and caves underground. Bakker is a quiet figure who works hard, but prefers to stay behind the scenes. At its peak, almost 100 people live in the encampment: mostly Jews (adults and children), airmen, a German deserter, students and resistance fighters. The couple is available day and night. They provide supplies and are also an important spiritual support. On Cor’s birthday, Sunday 29-10-1944, the camp was accidentally discovered by two SS men: 78 people in hiding managed to escape, but 9 people were shot the next day.

Death and burial ground of Bakker, Dionisius Dirk.

During the railway strike of autumn 1944, Bakker was involved in helping railway officials in hiding. He speaks the words: “I will sign for all and bear full responsibility for the cause to which we give ourselves. It is better that they catch me, an old man, than all of you, who are still young.” Bakker ensures that the salaries are paid by personally visiting the various hiding places. He is arrested at home on 13–02-1945, when the SD is actually coming for a temporary roommate: Harry, leader of the Rolls Royce courier post in Nunspeet. Cor sees the robbery truck from a distance and how her husband is being taken away. Bakker is heavily interrogated in the Jan van Schaffelaer barracks in Ermelo and the Willem III barracks in Appeldoorn. Eventually he ends up in De Kruisberg. an S.D. prison in Doetinchem. On March 2, Bakker is executed under his pseudonym Hendrik van Rooyen. When Cor shortly afterwards cycles to De Kruisberg to try to get her husband released, she hears from the Red Cross that he is already dead. She can’t remember how she got home. The memories of the war will haunt her forever. After the war, she was also bedridden for years as a result of a bicycle accident in 1944 with a box of food for the Hidden Village, which damaged her back. In 1966 the couple was awarded the Yad Vashem and in 1981 they received the Resistance Cross.

On 02-03-1945, 46 men from across the Netherlands were executed at the Rademakersbroek near Varsseveld in the Achterhoek. Their death was a reprisal for the killing of four German soldiers by resistance group De Bark, which had its headquarters in a farm in the neighborhood of De Heurne near Dinxperlo. In the night from Sunday 25 to Monday 26 February, four German Fallschirmjäger (elite troops of the Wehrmacht) were found in a half-blown, partially burnt-out car at a bomb crater on the Aaltenseweg. Their bodies showed traces of strangulation.

The Rademakersbroek victims were all ‘Todeskandidaten’ (condemned to be shot), held in the Kruisberg prison in Doetinchem. The youngest was 18, Gerhardus Hendrikus ten Voorde, and the oldest 65 years old, Dionisius Bakker. Among them were leaders of the resistance from the provinces of Gelderland and Overijssel. They were only arrested in the last months of the war, but would not live to see the liberation, just 4 weeks after their death. To the untold sorrow of the families they left behind (pregnant) women, children, parents, brothers and sisters. Subsequent generations would keep suffering from this trauma.


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