Sprey, Jan Jacobus Bate “Co”.

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Spreij, Jan Jacobus Bate “Co”, born 22-5-1911, in Alphen aan den Rijn , Netherlands, son of Leendert Spreij and Gertrude Radersma had become a member of the National Socialist Movement in the Netherlands (NSB) , under leader Mussert, Anton Adrian “Ad”

 . at an early stage. He served as a reserve 2nd lieutenant in the Dutch army. Due to the Civil Service Prohibition that was promulgated by the second cabinet Ruijs de Beerenbrouck at the beginning of 1933, he had to leave the service.

On 08-02-1934, the NSB founded the group 13 Alphen aan de Rijn in his hometown. Spreij became group leader and was also acting group leader of the Bodegraven group. In 1938 he left for Germany where he settled in Düsseldorf. In 1939 the Dutch Central Intelligence Service listed him as leader of Kring 2 Duisburg (Brederode) of the National Socialist Union of the Dutch in Germany (NSBND).

There is a strong suspicion that he was directly involved in the operations of the Brandenburger during the invasion of the Netherlands in May 1940. After all, on 30-05-1941 he requested an interview with NSB leader Rost van Tonningen to discuss the matter of May 1940 and he was most likely one of the one of the first to leave for Germany to follow an SS training. Spreij was also often mentioned as an assistant to Hubert Köhler, the leader of Sports and Games and he was already closely involved in the recruitment for those groups. The Brandenburgers were members of the Brandenburg German special forces unit during World War II. Rost van Tonningen was first transferred to an internment camp in Elst by the Canadian army, then transferred from there to Utrecht and taken to the prison in Scheveningen on 5 June. He committed suicide on 06-06-1945, age 51, by jumping down the balustrade of a staircase.

After the capitulation, Spreij reported for the Waffen-SS. Most likely he was part of the first group to leave for the SS-Ersatzbataillon “Deutschland” in the Freimann barracks in Munich to undergo military training after Hitler gave permission to found Westland in June 1940. Part of the first group was involved in the operations of the Brandenburger. At the end of 1941 he left for the Eastern Front where he was injured in 1942 and subsequently recovered in a hospital in Prague.

After his recovery he became the adjutant to SS Obergruppenführer Gottlob Berger,  the chief of the Reichssicherheitshauptamt in Berlin. Berger played an important role in the recruitment of the Waffen SS troops. In the fall of 1942, Amt VI of the Reichsicherheitshauptamt decided to establish a spy school Seehof on the Park Sorghvliet estate in The Hague (A-Schule West). Spreij became the deputy commander of the school, behind SS-Obersturmbannführer Friedrich (Fritz) Knolle. In fact, Spreij was in charge of the daily management of the school. During that period, Spreij became acquainted with the daughter of an SS General, they started a relationship.

Death and burial ground of Sprey, Jan Jacobus Bate “Co”.

On  24-12-1943 Knolle found him in a very drunken condition. The next day Spreij went on leave to Magdenburg, where he would get engaged. During his absence, 2 students reported to Knolle that he was guilty of sexual acts.

Knolle called him back and he immediately confessed. A Kriegsgericht followed. The charge was that he was guilty of homosexual acts with students. In the first instance, the verdict was the death penalty. On appeal to the Oberster Kriegsgericht, Knolle argued in favor of Spreij, which was not appreciated. In the meantime, Spreij was locked up in the Haaren Minor Seminary, which at that time was called Polizeigefängnis und Untersuchungs Gefängnis Haaren. As SS-Hauptsturmführer he was a special prisoner who had many privileges and with whom the camp commander SD-er Obersturmführer Heinrich Wacker had daily conversations.

Himmler eventually determined that Sprey would be given the opportunity to commit suicide. An aide from Knolle or SS Obergruppenführer Hanns Albin Rauter the highest SS and Police Leader in the occupied Netherlands, himself brought him a revolver in his cell and Sprey took his own life  After the war Rauter was sentenced to death and executed, in The Hague, 25-03-1949, age 54.

“When the guard in the Minor Seminary in Haaren, which was converted into a prison, entered Co Spreij’s cell one morning in May 1944, he saw him lying on the floor. Spreij was “stretched out in blood,” with a wound to the head. “Near him I saw a pistol lying on the floor by his right hand.” said Bas Kromhout – Historisch Nieuwsblad, 16-06-2010.

Jacobus Sprey first was buried at  Algemene begraafplaats Westduin, Den Haag. Then after the war reburied at the German Soldatenfriedhof Ysselsteyn, Ysselsteyn, Venray Municipality, Limburg, Netherlands, Section STA-3-28. He was buried with military honors; an obituary in Volk en Vaderland stated that he had been killed in an exercise with hand grenades.

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