Poels, Bert, born in 1916, in America, South Netherlands, was the oldest of seven children and Jacobus Poels a milkman in Horst America,
The farms of the Smedts, Geurts and Poels family were located in the Peel area. There are many different stories about the resistance work in the Zwarte Plak and especially about the pilot assistance that took place there. Exactly how many pilots were helped is not certain. De Zwarte Plak was also an important meeting point of the Council of Resistance (RVV), group Deurne. Several shelters had been dug and under the stables of the Smedts family farm was a cellar where prisoners were kept for a while. The families had all kinds of different people in hiding at their homes, from students to Jews and pilots. Resistance people could also find a hiding place in the Zwarte Plak. The farm of his father, Jacob, the Antonius farm, “the Zwarte Plak” “the Black Spot”
became a refuge for escaped French prisoners, crashed pilots, Jewish people (see Wiesenthal) and from the spring of 1943 for English pilots, when Germany was attacked from the air frequently. They digged a large bunker underground in their garden.
The Deurne RVV group, later Knokploeg Bakel and part of the Domestic Forces as of September 1944, had its own hiding place on De Zwarte Plak, a storage place for pistols and an air-raid shelter under the stable of the Smedts family that was used, among other things, for prisoners temporarily accommodated.
Four men from the resistance group, with Cornelus Klaas “Cor” Noordermeer as commander, were already present at Tinus Geurts when later, on the advice of Bert Poels, Nico van Oosterhout and Johan Vosmeer were added. Left members of the RVV Resistance Group Deurne at their base De Zwarte Plak. From left to right: Johan Vosmeer, José Peerbooms, Nico van Oosterhout and André Remery. The identity of the last person is (still) unknown. Noordermeer was a sergeant at the Royal Netherlands Marechaussee Deurne and founder / leader of the RVV Resistance Group Deurne. During World War II he was known to his resistance comrades under the name “Clement”, so named after his fiancé Clementine. They were housed at Thei Geurts on the farm. This group was previously in hiding in Bakel, they were all wanted by the occupying forces. In Bakel it became too dangerous they were afraid of treason. Their connection with De Zwarte Plak was Bert Poels and that had to do with hiding and transporting allied pilots. On 13-05-1944 together with his combatant Nico van Oosterhout and on the recommendation of José Peerbooms, en route to a meeting of “The Council of Resistance” in Utrecht, Noordermeer were arrested. His “resistance dock” José Peerbooms, aka Don Jozé, was held responsible for the arrest and liquidated Noordermeer on 13-07-1944, age 38, by the resistance. Shortly before the liberation, on 01-08-1944, Cor Noordermeer and Nico van Oosterhout were killed in a concentration camp in Vught by a firing squad. Their remains were “incinerated” in the crematorium of the concentration camp.
Bert here with person in hiding Arnold Jacobs. The Poels family with help of other brought the hiding people to the free side of France and Spain, back to England. In the beginning the Germans had no idea what happened on this distant farm in the hamlet of “ De Zwarte Plak” , “The Black Spot” but this changed as two French prisoners were captured by the Germans near the Belgium border. One of them had the address of Poels in his pocket, but an assault in America gave no evidence. The family could hide all illegal papers and material in time.
In July 1944 the SD , Sichersdienst, German police, strike again, Bert could escape but his father died of a heart attack, running into the fields. Two brothers of Bert were imprisoned, but later released. The family Poels and Bert with his milk car saved the life of more than 35 pilots. Bert could transport his pilots in the milk car, which had a secret section. Via “De Zwarte Plak” passed a 300 pilots, 60 French prisoners, 30 Jewish people and many more who had to hide for the Gestapo, back to the save lines. Bert told his story many times after the war, but some weakened the heroic activities of the Poels family. The story and pictures are also to find in the Dutch barrack of Auschwitz. Hauptsturmführer, Josef Mengele infamous for performing human experiments on camp inmates in Auschwitz, including children, for which Mengele was called the “Angel of Death”.
Death and burial ground of Poels, Bert
The father of Poels died of a heart attack near their house, escaping for the SD men during a razzia.
and is buried on the local cemetery. I met Bert Poels several times in Horst America during the memorials for the war victims, on Mai 4th, our yearly, National Remembrance Day, and he gave me his signed biography. Bert Poels was decorated by the American Government and the Durch Government for his heroic deeds
Bert Poels retiring in Sittard died at the old age of 91, on 29-03-2007 and is buried with his wife Lies, born Schreurs, who died age 80, in 1997, on the Common Cemetery of Sittard, My wife and me attended his funeral.