A Research Guide for Students by I Lee

Autobiography of Carl Kaas

A Member of the Dutch Underground in World War II

Chapter 69. Hair Raising Events

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Another time I did not laugh too much, for a while anyway. An unknown underground man and I went on a trip to a main road which was heavily travelled by the German army. Our orders were to plant a few heavy duty truck bombs. These were about 10 x 20 cm and 5 cm thick. We packed dirt around them like a little ramp so they would stay put when a tire came upon them.

While we were busy doing this in the pitch dark, all of a sudden, we became aware of a vehicle coming toward us, and it was close. It was so close there was no time to run away. So we kind of rolled off the road into a fox hole, which were everywhere along the main roads.

Here we waited for the blast . . . It did not come. The vehicle missed the bomb. We were lucky again, the good Lord was on our side for sure. If this vehicle had hit the thing, with all that TNT, it might have blown the hair off our heads too. Many always said there would be days like that. Another saying, "It's all in a day's work".

I made it a habit to become good friends with school boys who passed our house to and from school. I probed one bright kid who always had his eyes open as to what he saw and what the Germans were doing.

One time, a new unit moved in on a farm about one kilometer down the street. The boy said they had horses and wagons, and had moved the wagons inside the pig barn. Suspecting they may have something of value, I told Jaap (my underground contact) that we should go and have a look. He was all for it.

I knew the farmer Klaas Brouwer and how to get there. This same night around midnight we took off through the fields, made a big circle and finally came to the farm from the rear. The weather was just right, overcast and dark but no rain.

However, when we got there, it was more difficult than we had expected. The buildings were in an L shape, one was the main house and cow barn, the other leg of the L was where the hogs used to reside, but they were eaten long ago. This was where the wagons were. The worst part, a rifle-toting soldier was guarding the place. The only way to get in was through the back door. No problem there, those doors had no lock on them. The soldier was the problem. But we had luck here too. In front of the buildings, it was all paved with bricks and the Germans had steel clad heels, so we could hear them coming and going when they paced back and forth.

Being so pitch dark inside, we had to feel what we were looking at. And be very careful not to make any noise or knock anything over, lest the guard would hear us. It took us about two hours groping around, but we did alright because we found a machine gun with extra barrels and five drums of ammo. Also two bazookas, anti-tank weapons. Wow, what a nice loot.

But now how could we get it home? The soldier was still walking his beat in front of us. Ha, also in one of the wagons was a plywood box long enough to put our loot in. We loaded it up and were ready to sneak out the back door.

Ah oh, what a shock! When we looked outside, the clouds had disappeared and it was bright moonlight. Now we couldn't leave with our killing apparatus. To top it off, we were looking straight at a nest of ack-ack (anti-aircraft arms) on top of the highest structure with a flat roof in the neighborhood. We could see the men clearly in the moonlight. If we could see them, they could see us just as good.

We couldn't wait, so what could we do to get out? There was only one thing to do - we had to become desperate. I found a dark blanket among the treasures and wrapped it around the light colored box and got ready.

When the guard was on the far end of his beat, and we hoped the guys on the building were looking the other way, we dashed over 100 meters of open terrain to the protection of a hedge. Having reached that, we had to sit down to give our hearts time to catch up. If they did not see us, then we were safe.

We were going home in a way no German soldier dared to tread in the dark. A half hour into our trip, Jaap could not contain his excitement over our catch. So we unpacked the machine gun, set it in position and aimed. We found it had kind of night vision with radium sights or something. Most of the night was gone before we got home. There we hid the stuff very well and went to sleep.

Two days later, two very attractive young maidens came to the house and asked for "ETOS".
"Never heard of 'Etos'. What do you want of him?"
"We heard he has some fire works and wants us to take it to town."
"Okay girls, indeed we have."
The fire works got loaded beneath the baby's bed, then a pile of fire wood on top and we were ready to travel, walk that is, for seven km.
"But how do you get past the sentries?"
"Oh easy - when we come to them lonely boys and are nice to them, we can wrap them around our fingers."

Related resources:

Germany Occupation Booklet 1945 from Jim MacClay, Web Staff. "In Holland, girls belonging to the resistance made dates with German soldiers. Just after dark they walked their dates along a canal or river. At certain places, Dutchmen waited. Then, a wallop with a sock full of sand from behind, and another unconscious German soldier was shoved into a canal to drown.

One Dutchman now serving with the Ninth Army teamed with his sister to drown 15 Germans in canals during the German occupation of Holland."

Life in the Dutch Underground: A Deadly Game of Hide and Seek as transcribed by Tony Welch. "At age 23 and living at home with his parents, John Kapteyn and his brother Boudie helped establish a local branch of the Resistance in Sassenheim, a Dutch town of 6,500 inhabitants. Now approaching his 95th year, John consented to share his memories of those dark days that politically divided so many of his countrymen. For the Kapteyn family of five, the drama begins inside a crippled B-17 returning from a bombing mission over Germany." Includes photos.

The Netherlands in World War II. "From 14 May 1940 to 5 May 1945, the Netherlands were occupied by Nazi Germany. Almost every Dutch person was affected by the consequences of the occupation ... The exhibition covers all forms of resistance: strikes, forging of documents, helping people to go into hiding, underground newspapers, escape routes, armed resistance, espionage ... The exhibition tells a chronological story from approximately 1930 to 1950 ... Using authentic objects as well as all kinds of modern techniques, the Dutch Resistance Museum evokes a powerful atmospheric picture of the time ... The permanent exhibition is ... bilingual: Dutch and English."

The underground Nazi 'city' of tunnels and bunkers built by Dutch slaves for 3,300 SS soldiers who were treated to saunas under The Hague by Gareth Davies in London and Allan Hall in Germany for Mailonline, 18 May 2017. "... Dutch slaves were forced to built the complex network of tunnels ... An incredible set of photographs have revealed an underground Nazi city which was built under The Hague to house 3,300 SS soldiers. The subterranean facility was built in 1942 in a fishing village called Scheveningen when some 135,000 inhabitants had to leave their homes when the Nazis declared it a restricted area."

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