Meijer, Johan Christiaan “Chris”

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Meijer, Johan Christiaan “Chris”, born 21-07-1917 in Dieren, was a Dutch soldier, sergeant, on the Grebbeberg, (see Jan Ackermans) who after the German invasion in 1940 was executed on account of desertion. The next reconstruction is based on the official report. In mei 1940 was sergeant Meijer was commander of two panzer guns of the 19th Company, PAG.  After the German attack on 10-05-1940 Meijer and his section had settled in the so-called “Stop line” last defend line in the rear of the defend strip of the front. The military police had the supervision that no man or union left the battlefield on own initiative. On the Grebbeline around the Grebbeberg in Rhenen,  close to Germany, the Dutch Army could hold up the German SS forces for a few days. In the morning of Mai 11th with the outbreak of the battle for the Grebbeberg, Meijer was in the south area, that was under artillery fire of disturbing German artillery. However this caused little damage Meijer and his men felt very restless, not knowing what was going one on the front. As the Germans had not broken the front line yet, they couldn’t see any panzer or SS soldiers and Meijer’s company couldn’t give any defence fire. They felt useless in their situation and they had no contact anymore with the commander. At 11.00 o’clock Meijer decided that it was better to retreat with one gun and left the other one with the crew behind without informing them. Instead of reporting to the nearby higher command, Meijer decided again to retreat to the west, thinking of continuing the battle in the “Vesting Holland” “Fortress Holland”    another Dutch defence line. Some 35 miles further, near Loenen at the river Vecht, he was stopped by the village constable, who carried over Meijer and his section, to the soldiers in the barracks in Nieuwersluis. Already on Mai 12th he was brought to the hasty formed council of war. The commander of the II Army Corps Major General Jacob Harbets,  Harbets died age 88, on 06-10-1971, in Rotterdam, thinking of great cowardice informed the war council of expecting a death sentence for Meijer. He wanted to make an “deterrent example” to make the Dutch Army more able-bodied. The court martial came after 45 minutes with the judgment, Meijer was condemned to death. The same day at 15.00 hours Chris Meijer, age 22, was executed on the rifle-range of Doorn by a firing squad. Meijer left two letters to his parents and fiance in which he suggested to have been wounded seriously and that he would die very soon.

Death and burial ground Meijer, Johan Christiaan “Chris”.

 Meijer was buried on the Algemene Begraafplaats, common cemetery, in Doorn. After the parents of Meijer and his fiancé heard of the details of his death by clergyman Faber who joined Meijer to his end, they took the body in Doorn and reburied it on the Oude Algemene Begraafplaats at the Harderwijkerstraat in Dieren. His mother would hear the true story of his death first in 1970, after the attention of the Dutch TV programme, Avro’s Televizier Magazine. The case of Chris Meijer remained a hot issue till today.

 

Cemetery and grave location of Meijer, Johan Christiaan “Chris”.

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