SLIEDRECHT - In an office of the Municipal Energy Company in Sliedrecht, Lt. Col. Jo Mussert was shot by an officer. The officers openly question the loyalty of the man who had to defend Dordrecht against the Germans. Jo Mussert is the brother of NSB leader Anton Mussert.

The lieutenant colonel was shot a day after Dordrecht was abandoned, because the city could hardly be defended anymore. A lieutenant and captain, who were also active in Dordrecht before, heard that Mussert was in the G.E.B.office, and wanted to arrest him for that treason.

On that arrest, Mussert lowered his arms. The Lieutenant thought the later victim wanted to grab a weapon and fired four times.

Mussert has been taken to hospital. There he is later died of his injuries.

Cannon at the Vriesestraat in Dordrecht. Foto: City Archive of Drechtsteden

Battles

In recent days there was fierce fighting in and around Dordrecht. Paratroopers had landed at several places in Dordrecht and at the Moerdijk Bridge.

A lot went wrong during the defense. There was hardly any communication between the three divisions that were eventually on the island. Also, due to wrong information, Dutch troops at the Seaport would have shot at each other.

After the Germans broke through the last line of defense yesterday, it was decided to make Dordrecht an "open city", so without defense. The Dutch troops crossed the river towards Papendrecht and Sliedrecht.

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NSB-gang

There have been doubts among officers about the loyalty of Mussert. His adjutant even had another one the day before yesterday staff officer begged to replace Mussert. "Do it for the Fatherland", there was even a phone call.

That request was firmly rejected by General Van Andel. He had every confidence in the man who had been in the service for almost forty years.

Nevertheless, the mistrust in Mussert was enormous. For example, other army units refused to share information with the troops in Dordrecht, because they did not trust Mussert.

They also called Mussert's actions in the battle with the Germans restrained. He would be like that 10 may have gone back to bed, when the first Germans had arrived in Dordrecht.

The dissatisfaction and distrust led to two petty officers deciding to arrest Mussert this afternoon, with all its consequences.


Hoe ging het verder?

Mussert was a traitor? Nee. Immediately after the May days Mussert is rehabilitated posthumously by General Winkelman.

After the war, several historians researched the role of Mussert in Dordrecht. On the website Zuidfront (van historicus A.M.A. Goossens) a very extensive analysis is developed that certainly read it is worth.

Goossens states on the basis of the documents that have been preserved that Mussert tried to perform his task in the manner as prescribed.. It ensured that the Germans estimated the defense of Dordrecht as unexpectedly strong.

The two officers who wanted to arrest Mussert, were picked up myself. Anton Mussert, the NSB leader, reported murder.

The two officers were sentenced to 10 en 20 years of imprisonment. Ms. Mussert received compensation of 35.000 gulden, converted six annual salaries. That was an astronomical amount at the time (converted to current standards: 610.000 euro).

NSB family

The mistrust in Mussert was remarkable? Nee. Jo Mussert himself had never spoken in favor of the NSB and the Germans, but his wife had done that. Mussert had to come on the mat even earlier, after his wife gave an NSB salute at a meeting.

His two daughters were members of the youth section of the NSB. Many people have known the Musserts as an "NSB family".

Mussert himself was in the military and with people who were with him worked as a punctual, and occasionally was neurotic, craftsman. He was already sitting almost forty years in the military.

Betrayal psychosis

Mussert was not the only one who fell victim to someone with "betrayal psychosis". The brother of NSB CEO Rost van Tonningen also filed the army and was adjutant to Queen Wilhelmina. During an inspection visit Amsterdam was attacked by a captain. He survived that attack well.

Also then mayor of Gorinchem, Knight of Rappard, was threatened by military personnel, because a family member was involved in the NSNAP.

The Mussert relatives who initially had nothing to do have the NSB, eventually made, possibly due to the murder of them father, a turnaround. Son Joan, who just impressed in defense of Rotterdam, eventually joined the Waffen SS. Son Hans, that during the May days was still a teenager, also joined the Waffen SS and even filed the German army in Russia. Both managed to survive the war.

Why Mussert?

One of the questions that remains is "How is it possible the brother of the NSB in the Netherlands is responsible for the defense of one of the key cities in the Netherlands?Jo Mussert was training commander at the enjoyment troops in Dordrecht. He also had a garrison of about 1500 men below them.

He worked in The Hague for a short time, but became sent back to Dordrecht. Mussert had practically no field experience, but was known as someone who could train the troops.

Nobody in the army had expected that the war would come to Dordrecht so soon. Hence it was expected that Mussert's position would not be a problem.

Sources:

Zuidfront was mainly used to create this retrospective, the website where historian A.M.A. Goossens looked back at the "Matter Jo Mussert’

historical Newspaper – The death of Jo Mussert

Fallen in Brabant – Jo Mussert