BERKEL AND RODENRIJS – The day our country had been looking forward to for so long has ended in deep mourning in Berkel en Rodenrijs. The German capitulation should have ended all violence of war, But at the flower auction, three resistance members died and twenty civilians were taken hostage. A bloodbath was barely preventable.

The party mood is palpable in the early morning of the fifth of May. A day before was everywhere hear that the German commander in the Netherlands would surrender. The Domestic Armed Forces (BS) are getting ready to take over the law enforcement and disarmament of the occupiers, also in Berkel and Rodenrijs.

Commander Jan Rozendaal from the local BS department had already gathered his men in the local flower auction at the Rodenrijseweg. That is the past few years always been their headquarters. Everyone wears blue overalls and one white band, with a lion and the orange letters SG (Combatant).

The men receive orders to post at the Sicherheitsdienst building (SD) in Rotterdam, to to intervene there if Germans oppose their disarmament resist. Rozendaal is already sending some men ahead to bring weapons to Rotterdam to bring. The rest of the group would follow later.

The dozens of BS's hang around at the auction, some are sleeping in the sun. There are even friends and betrothed. But then suddenly German soldiers arrive hit who start shooting at the resistance group.

Interior Forces, with the Flower Auction in the background


It now appears is in it nearby Zoetermeer resistance started too enthusiastically and too disarmed the Germans present there early. They grabbed the BS and locked them up in a school building. Two resistance fighters who tried have been shot dead. Then the Germans are in a car jumped and drove to Berkel en Rodenrijs.

Siem Rozendaal, Jan's brother, still do not understand why they came to the flower auction: “The Germans probably took a drink and then thought: "Wait a minute, then we will now go to Berkel and we will disarm those illegals there. "They must have been told that we were in the auction. There is no other way."

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The resistance group in the flower auction do not know what happens to them. They run in all directions in blind panic when the estimated twenty Germans open fire. Three resistance fighters perish. The rest crawls everywhere. "They even have a few men in it house from the neighbors from behind the organ. ”

Resistance fighter Jan Hensen is still dazed: “I was focusing on hand grenades when the Germans came. I immediately grabbed my gun and what I did afterwards have got, I do not know anymore."

Commander Rozendaal sends its best shooters, including some poachers, to the roof of the flower auction. There they attack the Germans. Some say there are then seven Germans dead and eight more hit. But the problems for the resistance group are not over yet.


Two Germans know escape. Jan Rozendaal sees them go and already knows: “They don't take this. That get reinforcements. ” The entire resistance group moves to Berkelse greenhouse region Siberia, that is easier to defend. Siem Rozendaal: "The polder around it is low and Siberia is a bit higher, so you have a good view. ”

The Germans send some hundreds of men to Berkel. But because the BS-ers have crept in the greenhouses of Siberia create a stalemate. Then the German soldiers take otherwise. They take twenty random civilians hostage and put them against the wall of the flower auction. If the resistance wouldn't surrender, then would the hostages have to pay for it with their lives.

Black Wim

Meanwhile, know resists the command of the Interior Forces in Rotterdam warn. They send Wim van Dijk, aka Black Wim, to the SD in Rotterdam to demand there that the troops in Berkel and Rodenrijs be brought to order called. The Germans say the resistance has started firing at the flower auction.

Siem Rozendaal knows too tell that Black Wim punched the table: "He said: "If you do nothing about it, then I call all the BS's from Dordrecht, Delft and Den Hague and surroundings to battle with you. ""

"Black’ Wim van Dijk. Foto: Oud-Berkel and Rodenrijs

The Germans bind in and Zwarte Wim personally goes to Berkel, accompanied by the SD commander. Then give the German soldiers admitted that they had opened fire and then peace was settled quickly. "This could have turned out very differently", Siem Rozendaal nods. “It had quite a lot great battle. ”

Brother Jan had a double feeling about the fifth of May. He says that he is struggling to process everything that has happened. But he also says: “That we came out of the battle with so few losses, have been able to conclude a truce with full military honor, that is an act of war, that no Allied commander should have been ashamed of. "

Hoe ging het verder?

Jan Rozendaal later reports that there 24 Germans died. But Lou de Jong keeps it in six in "The Kingdom of the Netherlands in World War II 1939-1945" (Part 10, once. 1405). Later Rozendaal talks about seven German dead.

Of the BS-ers bring Theo Fish (Bergschenhoek), Willem Thijs and Nicolaas Vogelaar (both Berkel and Rodenrijs) it does not survive. They are buried with military honors.

The events at the flower auction in Rodenrijs are called "it." last regular fight on Dutch soil in World War II. ".

But there are on 6 May still fighting between BS and Germans in Rotterdam. A day later there is an hour-long change of shots between Germans and BS-men on the Dam in Amsterdam with a crowd in between who want to celebrate the liberation.

The very last acts of combat take place on Texel where Georgian prisoners of war revolt against the Germans. Fierce fighting with 100's of dead ensued. Pas op 20 Canadian soldiers put an end to the fighting in May.

For those who fell in the resistance in Berkel and Rodenrijs is in 1946 a monument was erected. First is that a wooden cross on the Johan van Oldenbarneveltplein. Three years later there is a stone memorial of Gerard Hoppen, provided with the text:

‘1940. TUE 1945.








The natural stone column is later moved to the General Cemetery on the Ds. van Koetsveldstraat. Around it are the graves of the victims of the war, including Willem too Louis, Theodoor Thijs and Nicolaas Vogelaar.


New Leidsche Courant – 25 april 1970 – They had to become heroes

Website of Oud Berkel en Rodenrijs – Liberation day became war day

Website of Oud Berkel en Rodenrijs – Jan Rozendaal

Website of Oud Berkel en Rodenrijs – Monument

Website of Oud Berkel en Rodenrijs – Stationshuis

Radio Rijnmond – Interview Siem Rozendaal

Author: Aries van Meeteren

Published on: 25-04-2020

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