Seyffardt, Hendrik Alexander, born on 01-11-1872 in Breda, was the son of August Lodewijk Willem Seyffardt, Minister of War in the Cabinet of Prime Minister Gijsbert van Tienhoven, and his wife Catharina Louisa de Hollander. Like his father, he chose a career as a professional soldier, and so at the age of fifteen he became a cadet at the Koninklijke Militaire Academie, KMA in Breda. On graduation he was appointed second lieutenant at the Vestingartillerie, garrison artillery, in the Royal Netherlands Army , but returned to the KMA as a lecturer in 1900 at the age of 28. Alongside his teaching he studied at the Higher War School in Haarlem, in order to become qualified for a position within the General Staff. In 1928, as an interim step, he was appointed commander of the first division in the rank of Major General. A year later he was appointed Chief of the General Staff, promoted to Lieutenant General a year later, remaining as Chief of the General Staff latterly attached to the Central Intelligence (CI), part of GS III. He retired in May 1934, after a very meritorious career.
In the build-up to WW2, he began to give lectures for the conservative Verbond voor Nationaal Herstel, Alliance for National Recovery, VNH. In 1937, Seyffardt became a member of the Nationaal Socialistische Bewegen NSB , and started writing articles for their publication Volk en Vaderland. But after a year and a half, disillusioned with the infighting between Anton Mussert and Meinoud Rost van Tonningen
, (see Florrie Rost van Tonningen), he resigned his membership. In October 1940 he attended a meeting of a Fascists group organised around the magazine De Waag. After the war Meinard Rost van Tonningen, NSB politician and fanatic Nazi in the prison in Scheveningen allegedly committed suicide there by jumping from a balcony in the prison on 06-06-1945, age 51. There have been persistent rumors, but no proof, that he did not jump by himself. He never stood trial for his actions.
On 28 June 1941, Arnold Meijer of the strongly anti-Semitic and fascist National Front party made a proposal in Nederlandsch Dagblad, pleading for a joint establishment of a separate Dutch Legion that would take part in the fight against “the Russian Bolshevism”. Meijer died age 60 on 17-06-1965 in Oisterwijk. After internal opposition within the Dutch leadership, on 05-07-1941 Hitler officially approved the establishment of a Dutch volunteer SS group, and after being approached unofficially Seyffardt was officially appointed head of the Legion on 8 July by Reichskommissar Arthur Seyss Inquart.
(did you know), Hermann Goering (did you know) and Josef Goebbels (did you know) Seyffardt, a nationalist and fiercely anti-communist, saw his immediate political and power gain. However, it must have been clear to the 69-year-old General from the start that he was but a figurehead, only in charge of the regional headquarters of the Vrijwilliges Legioen Nederland, Dutch volunteers as the formation was named.
This was solely responsible for enlisting recruits and for social assistance to the Legion soldiers and their families. SS-Standartenführer, Oberst Otto Reich here with Theodor Eicke , while A.R. Kleijn was appointed chief of staff to Seyffardt. The second unit formed was the 23rd SS Volunteer Panzer Grenadier Division Nederland under SS-Brigadeführer Jurgen Wagner in February 1941. Wagner was sentenced to death by a firing squad and executed on 27-06-1947, age 45. After training in Hamburg and East Prussia, in November 1941 it was ordered to the Eastern Front near Leningrad, under the overall command of Army Group North. The division served with honour alongside their Nazi allies, but suffered large losses. However, Seyffardt’s input and contribution was systematically ignored by the German SS authorities. After rejoining the NSB, in March 1942 he submitted his resignation to Seyss-Inquart and SS Obergruppenführer Hanns Albin Rauter
, but was persuaded to stay. After the war Hanns Rauter the highest SS and Police Leader in the occupied Netherlands was handed over to the Dutch government by the British and was tried by a special court in The Haque. Rauter survived a an attempt on 06-03-1945 and after the war denied committing war crimes but the court found him guilty and sentenced him to death. The death sentence was confirmed by a higher court on 12-01-1949 and he was executed by firing squad near Scheveningen on 24-03-1949, age 54. The location of his grave remains a state secret.
After Hitler had approved Anton Mussert
as “Leader of the Netherlands“ in December 1942, he was allowed to form a national government institute, a Dutch shadow cabinet called “Gemachtigden van den Leider“, which would advise Seyss-Inquart from 01-02-1943. The institute would consist of a number of deputies in charge of defined functions or departments within the administration, and on 4 February Seyffardt was appointed “Deputy for special services”, announced through the press. Mussert was arrested at the NSB office in The Hague on 07-05-1945. He was convicted of high treason on 28 November after a two-day trial, and was sentenced to death on 12 December. He appealed to Queen Wilhelmina for clemency. She refused. On 07-05-1946, exactly one year after his arrest and four days before his 52nd birthday, Mussert was executed by a firing squad on the Waalsdorpervlakte, a site near The Hague, where hundreds of Dutch citizens had been killed by the Nazi regime
As a result, the Dutch communist resistance group CS-6 under Dr. Gerrit Kastein , concluded that the new institute would eventually lead to a National-Socialist government, which would then introduce general conscription to enable the call-up of Dutch nationals to the Eastern Front. However, in reality the Nazis only saw Mussert and the NSB as a useful Dutch tool to enable general co-operation, and further Seyss-Inquart had assured Mussert post his December 1942 meeting with Hitler that general conscription was not on the agenda. However, CS-6 assessed that Seyffardt was the first person eligible for an attack, after the heavily secured Mussert.
Death and burial ground of Seyffardt, Hendrik Alexander.
After approval from the Dutch government in exile, on the evening of Friday 05-02-1943, after answering a knock at his front door in Scheveningen, The Haque Hendrik Seyffardt was shot twice by student Jan Verleun who had accompanied Dr. Kastein on the mission. A day later Seyffardt succumbed to his injuries in hospital. A private military ceremony was arranged at the Binnenhof,
The Hague attended by family and friends and with Mussert in attendance, after which he was cremated. On 7 February, CS-6 shot fellow institute member “Gemachtigde voor de Volksvoorlichting”, Attorney for the national relations, Hermannus Reydon and his wife. His wife died on the spot, while Reydon died on 24 August, age 46, of his injuries. The gun used in this attack had been given to Dr. Kastein by Sicherheitsdienst, SD agent Anton van der Waals , and after tracking him back through information, arrested him on 19 February. Two days later Dr. Kastein committed suicide, age 32, so as not to give away Dutch Resistance information under torture. Seyffardt and Reydon’s deaths led to massive Nazi Germany reprisals in the occupied Netherlands, under Operation Silbertann. Jan Verleun was captured by the Germans after treason, tortured and executed on the same Waalsdorpervlakte as Mussert, on 07-01-1944, age 24. The traitor Anton van der Waals was sentenced by the Dutch court and executed on 26-01-1950, age 37 also on the Waalsdorpervlakte.
Operation Silbertanne, silver fir, was the codename of a series of murders taking place between September 1943 and September 1944. The assassinations were carried out by a death squad composed of Dutch members of the SS and Dutch veterans of the Eastern Front.