Groot, Jan Jacob de.

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Groot, Jan Jacob de, born 05-06-1903 in Oude Pekela, Groningen, Netherlands, the son of carpenter Kornelis de Groot (Oude Pekela 1865) and Jakobje Meijer (Nieuwe Pekela 1865). Jan Jacob is the youngest of three children. Like his father, he became a carpenter and construction supervisor.  In Den Ham he met his wife Eibelliena Jacoba Westera (Den Ham 1903). The couple married in March 1928 and settled in Vroomshoop. They have seven children and start a timber business together, while Eibelliena also makes hats with her sisters. De Groot starts by making chicken coops, but soon barns and country houses are added. This is how De Groots Houtbouw was created , which grew into a large company. In the late 1930s, Jan also started a toy factory, where wood scraps were processed and many people with disabilities were employed. House at Hoofdstraat 29, where the de Groot family lived with six children.

De Groot receives many business assignments from the Ministry of Defense and during the war he ends up working at an air base in Leeuwarden that was commandeered by the Germans. His factory staff is therefore protected from the Arbeitseinsatz. Jan Jacob simultaneously decides to take up resistance activities and helps finance the underground, for help to Jewish people and people in hiding without officially becoming a member. Company trucks smuggle food hidden under toys to the west. De Groot travels throughout the Netherlands in a luxury Chevrolet that runs on wood gas, transporting pilots, weapons and ammunition, among other things. With a Wehrmacht sign he can drive anywhere. He manages to single-handedly free the manager of his sawmill from Camp Amersfoort.

National Monument Camp Amersfoort, located on the border of Leusden and Amersfoort, preserves the memory of the suffering that approximately 47,000 prisoners had to endure during the Second World War. This concentration camp was governed by a degrading regime of hunger, abuse, forced labor and executions.Camp Amersfoort was originally a barracks site for the Dutch army. From August 1941 onwards, the Nazis imprisoned various groups, such as resistance fighters, labor evaders, communists, hostages, (alleged) criminals such as black marketers, victims of raids, approximately 2,500 Jews, 271 American citizens, 123 Jehovah’s witnesses and 100 Soviet -prisoners of war. 359 prisoners were forced to sign a contract as SS Front workers and ended up on the Eastern Front. Members of two professional groups were imprisoned for collective resistance, approximately 400 police officers and approximately 300 doctors. An estimated three-quarters of the prisoners were transported to other camps for forced labor, many of whom never returned.

He builds wooden houses as shelters for people in hiding – including a mayor – on his own land and on the neighbors’ land. He also helps Jews. Moreover, he was involved in the droppings on the Stegerveld (initiated in the autumn of 1944).   Weapon drops on the Stegerveld near Ommen

Jan Jacob’s brother-in-law Frits Haselhoff (married to Eibelliena’s sister Jantje) is commander of the RVV in Vroomshoop standing sixth from left and through him, in November 1944, three Belgian paratroopers – who had already camped with various resistance fighters in the area – hid in a large caravan in De Groots appelhof. They are part of the allied army and were thrown over Drenthe around the battle of Arnhem. There is a transmitter and a lot of ammo. Resistance fighter Jan van der Haar is also in hiding in the caravan. He is recovering with his leg in a cast from a broken ankle, which he suffered during a sabotage action on a railway line on September 3.

But the place is betrayed. On the evening of December 4, guards from German prisoner camp Erika from Ommen surrounded the caravan.

Erika concentration camp was a Nazi concentration camp during World War II. The camp was situated at the Besthemerberg near Ommen, in the East of the Netherlands. The camp was designated mostly for Dutchmen convicted of black market trade or resistance to occupational authorities; only eight Jews were detained here.

Death and burial ground of Groot, Jan Jacob de.

The pilots escape, but De Groot – who had brought dinner – and Van der Haar are arrested. The latter is said to have asked De Groot to stay with him: “Because if you leave, they will shoot me immediately.” The two men end up in Camp Erika and then in the House of Detention in Almelo, where they are sentenced to death.  Jan Jacob de Groot was excecuted on 02-03-1945, age 41 by the Germans with 45 other men on an arable field in Varsseveld.

A monument in Varsseveld commemorates the executionspot of 02-03-1945. Janny Visscher-de Groot from Emmen, the eldest daughter of the de Groot family, was one of those who, together with other former hostages, unveiled the liberation monument along the Zwolsekanaal on April 5, 2018

Jan Jacob’s wife Eibelliena Jacoba Westera is heavily pregnant when, on Sunday morning, 04-03-1945 before church time, the pastor brings news of Jan de Groot’s death to the family. Due to the great sadness, the rush of liberation in April passes them by. The timber yard was looted, but after the war Eibelliena continued the business very successfully with the help of a few old employees. Unfortunately, she has less time for the emotional well-being of her children at home. They have to save themselves. A daughter and son of De Groot still visit the commemoration in Varsseveld every year.

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