Verleun, Johannes Adrianus Jozef “Jan”.

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Verleun, Johannes Adrianus Jozef “Jan” born 13-08-1919, in Amsterdam was a Dutch soldier and resistance fighter during World War II. He was the third of ten children of sub-driver, Johannes Adrianus Verleun and his wife Adriana Cornelia, born Rijkers, who grew up in a devout Roman Catholic family, who lived diagonally opposite the Boomkerk at 36 Admiraal de Ruyterweg III. At the age of nine he decided to become a priest. After the seventh grade of the parish school of the Jesuits in Amsterdam-South, he was able to attend the seminary in St. Oedenrode. After three years, however, the rector informed him that he would not be fit for the priesthood. The reasons for this rejection have remained unknown. He was back in Amsterdam when he was sixteen and continued his studies at home for his final exams. He wanted to do military service, but knew he was just too small for that. Half an inch to be precise. That is why he started doing stretching exercises six months before his call to get that half centimeter there. Successfully. His batch had a long period of service, as the original nine months were extended by six months, which turned into frustrating mobilization. Jan took his study books with him to the barracks, carried them around to the various army places and finally to the casemate at the bridge of Westervoort, where he was encamped with a corporal and six other soldiers.

In the early hours of 10-05-1940, the telephone rang in the casemate and was warned of the rapid arrival of German troops who had just crossed the border. Jan Verleun was chosen as explorer from three volunteers. With his gun in his hand he crept from bush to bush to “the boulder”, a large stone along the IJssel, to see what position the Germans had occupied. In his breast pocket he had a letter from his father, which started with the lines: “God forbid it from happening. But if the Muff puts his big leg in our Fatherland, then a heartfelt act of repentance, and then not hesitated. ” After German helmets appeared above the bushes on the other bank, Jan reported to the soldier behind him: “Eight men; automatic guns pointed to our side. They protect three men who put on a light machine gun. Twelve men with rubber boats and ammunition boxes. “The soldier passed this on to the corporal, who in turn passed it on to the commander by telephone. If the Germans then wanted to cross the river with rubber boats, Verleun shot and hit the rubber boat. However, the bullet just bounced off and the Germans just chugged further across. Then a shot back from the German side, Jan was directly hit in the upper arm, which caused a lot of blood loss. Assuming that the wound could be fatal, Jan made a promise to God that if he survived he would do everything he could to free the Netherlands again. His comrades received him, tied him up and a cart driver with a horse and cart took him to the hospital in Arnhem.

Weeks later, on the train back to Amsterdam and still with his arm bandaged, he met resistance man “Pam” Petrus Antonius Martinus Pooters, who was at the Grebbeberg and had already joined the resistance. Pooters gave him an air pistol and introduced him to the left-radical resistance group CS-6 (‘Corellistraat 6’) of the Jan “Canada” Boissevain family. Pam Pooters would be executed on 01-10-1943, age 32, by the Germans. Apart from Pam Pooters and the brothers Jan Karel Boissevain and Gideon Willem Boissevain

this group also included Louis Boissevain (a second cousin of the brothers), Gerrit Willem Kastein   , Henri Hugo “Hans Geul , Reina Prinsen Geerligs she died age 21, on 24-11-1943 in concentration camp Sachsenhausen, Leo Frijda , , Hans Katan and Sape Kuiper . In his parents’ attic he began to practice with his air pistol on a moving target and on birds. His mother and neighbors could only appreciate that moderately, but he soon left his childhood home to disappear completely into illegality and not endanger his family members. This was certainly necessary after he supported the February strike in February 1941. Verleun used the pseudonyms “George Devage” and “Max Brinkhorst”. As George, he went to work at the distribution room of the Central Kitchens of the Food Supply, where Pooters was chief expedition. In sabotage acts, CS-6 made use of the drivers and cars of the Food Supply. For the resistance group, Kan filed bullets and attached electrical wires to dynamite to detonate them with a timer. His resistance work further included stealing stamps for false identity cards, attacks on distribution offices and helping people in hiding. Verleun was involved in setting the Rembrandt Theater on fire, where Nazi propaganda films were shot and where many German soldiers came and in attempts to set fire to the Hollandsche Schouwburg and the Labor Office on the Passeerdersgracht. He also prepared railway attacks. CS-6 collaborated with other groups including the personal identification card buro of resistance man Gerrit Jan Van der Veen. 

On 01-02-1943 the Dutch NSB movement leader Anton Mussert put together a shadow cabinet of “Agents”, whereby General Hendrik Seyffardt  was named as commander of the Dutch Volunteer Legion. The opposition feared that this was a plan for a Mussert cabinet with Seyffardt as Minister of War and the introduction of military conscription for the German war on the Eastern Front. On the evening of Friday, 05-02-1943, Seyffardt was shot in his house at 36 Van Neckstraat in The Hague by Gerrit Willem Kastein and Jan Verleun, two members of CS-6. A day later he succumbed to his injuries. Seyffardt’s death was one of the reasons for large-scale German reprisals in the Netherlands, the so-called Aktion Silbertanne. Incidentally, later on, doubts arose about the participation of Kastein, who would only have been involved in the preparation. The second man would have been Leo Frijda, but in his lawsuit in January 1944, Verleun would have called the already killed Kastein to exonerate Frijda, who was still at large. On 03-06-1943, Jan Verleun liquidated in Vorden Folkert Posthuma, a former minister who had started working for the Germans. At the end of October 1943, Verleun and a few others carried out a successful robbery at the Police Headquarters in Utrecht, freeing two Dutchmen captured by the Germans. It would be the last action of the group.

Death and burial ground of Verleun Johannes Adrianus Jozef “Jan”

Jan second from left.

Due to the liquidations, Verleun became more and more in need of conscience and needed to talk about this. So he occasionally came home to discuss his acts of resistance with Do,   his sister, two years his junior. She later published a book about this: Soldier in resistance – The promise that killed Jan Verleun. The stories, which Jan sometimes told her sitting on the counter, show how it happened that this serious, faithful young man joined the radical resistance, which cost him his life. On 04-11-1943, he had an appointment with Irma Seelig, a former employee and Leo Frijda’s fiancé. The meeting was supposed to take place somewhere on the street in Amsterdam, but Seelig had betrayed the appointment to the Germans. Verleun was jumped and arrested by the SD and transferred to the infamous Euterpestraat, where he was severely tortured. He was detained for two months, was tried on 06-01-1944, and immediately transferred to prison. A day later, Jan Verleun, age 24, was executed on the Waalsdorpervlakte, where  many resistance men were shot and he received an anonymous grave. After the war he would be reburied on the St Barbara cemetery in Amsterdam. A memorial stone is placed on the outside of the tower of the Roman Catholic Church of St. Francis of Assisi, or the Boomkerk on the Admiraal de Ruyterweg in Amsterdam. The design of Willem IJzerdraat features a female figure with a sword in her hand defending her child against evil (the snake) and a tree, accompanied by the text: ‘1940 1945 – Den Vaderlandt Getrouwe – Jan Verleun – Gerardus Steen.’ . This Gerard Steen was a twenty-year-old resistance fighter.

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