Kom, Cornelis Gerhard Anton de.

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Kom, Cornelis Gerhard Anton de, born in in a working-class Creole neighbourhood of Paramaribo , on 22-02-1898. Anton  was born as the son of farmer Adolf Damon de Kom and Judith Jacoba, born Dulder. His father, who earned a living as a farmer and gold miner, was still born into slavery and belonged to the slave power of plantation Molhoop, owned by Hendrik Jan Veldwijk. His name is probably derived from a plantation owner Mok.

Anton attended primary school and secondary school, and obtained a diploma in bookkeeping. He worked at the Balata Companies Suriname and Guyana. On 29-07-1920, he resigned and moved to Haiti, where he joined the Societé Commerciale Hollandaise Transatlantique. In 1921 he left for the Netherlands. He volunteered for a year with the Hussars. In 1922 he started working for a consultancy firm in The Hague. There he was fired a year later due to a reorganization, after which he became a representative in coffee, tea and tobacco for the coffee roasting company Reuser en Smulders in The Hague. Here he met Petronella (Nel) Borsboom,   his later wife, who died in 1983.. In addition to his work, he was active in numerous left-wing organizations, including nationalist organizations of Indies students and Links Richten.

De Kom left on 20-12-1932 with his family for Suriname, where he arrived on 04-01-1933. From that moment on he was closely watched by the colonial authorities. He established a consultancy in the yard of his parents’ house. On February 1, he was arrested while on his way to Governor A.A.L. Rudfers   with a large group of supporters. Rutgers. Both on February 3 and the day after, his supporters gathered in front of the office of the Attorney General to demand De Kom’s release. On Tuesday, February 7, a large crowd gathered at Gouvernementsplein (later Oranjeplein and now Independence Square). It was rumored that De Kom would be released. When the crowd refused to leave the square, the police opened fire. Two people were killed and thirty injured. This day has since been known as Black Tuesday.

On 10-05-1933, De Kom was put on a ship to the Netherlands. He had little choice; imprisoned for months without any form of trial, or returning to the Netherlands with his family. He found no regular work in the Netherlands and continued to write his book We Slaves of Suriname, which was published in 1934 in a censored form. De Kom participated in campaigns for the unemployed and was deployed in 1939 for the Werkverschaffing. Before the war he lectured on colonialism at communist meetings; he had regular contact with the communist author Nico Wijnen from The Hague. Yet outside the Surinamese community, few Dutch people know the man who has spent his entire life fighting against the legacy of slavery and the resulting inequality and discrimination.

After the German invasion in 1940, De Kom joined the communist-oriented Dutch resistance. At the request of Nico Wijnen he wrote articles for the communist resistance magazine De Vonk and later for the Revolutionary Socialist magazine of the same name, of which he knew one of the founders, the writer Jef Last.

On 07-08-1944, he was arrested in front of his home at 296 Johannes Camphuysstraat in Bezuidenhout in The Hague. He was imprisoned in Scheveningen prison (Oranjehotel) , and was transferred to Kamp Vught that same month. At the beginning of September 1944 he ended up in Sachsenhausen, where he had to work for the Heinkel aircraft factory.

Death and burial ground of Kom, Cornelis Gerhard Anton de.

 

     Anton De Kom died of tuberculosis on 24-04-1945, age 47, in Camp Sandbostel  near Bremervörde, a so-called satellite camp of Neuengamme concentration camp. He was buried in a mass grave. At home they knew nothing of his death. Nel de Kom often sat in the bay window of their house on the Johannes Kamphuisstraat in The Hague, waiting for her lover to return. In 1960 his remains were found. Clarity and room for closure only came fifteen years later, when De Kom’s body could be identified in 1960. Because of his role in the resistance, he was reburied at the National Field of Honor in Loenen. He is buried between many Dutch heroes in the honorary cemetery in Loenen. He was posthumously awarded the Resistance Memorial Cross in 1982.De Kom was married to Petronella Borsboom. The couple had four children. Their son Cees “Cornelis”  de Kom lives in Suriname. Judith de Kom became known as a recital artist. Their grandson is the poet and psychiatrist Antoine “Ad” de Kom.

 

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