Welcome to the Honorary Grave and en Monument Oranje Vrijbuiters website.

Stichting Eregraf en Monument Oranje Vrijbuiters commits itself to the preservation and maintenance of the monument and honorary grave to remember the resistance hero’s that have been buried there. For a more detailed description of what the foundation does, please check out the pages on the foundation and its board. Eighteen members of the resitance group the Oranje Vrijbuiters – after witnessing the horrors in the Oranjehotel for months – were executed on February 29th 1944 on the Waalsdorpervlakte.
After the liberation of the Netherlands, they were dug up, identified and put in a mass grave on the General Cemetery in The Hague. After releasing the mortal remains, one of the relatives organized a reburial on the third General Cemetery “Tolsteeg” in Utrecht on March 1st 1946. On May 10th 1947, a monument was revealed in honour of the Oranje Vrijbuiters. The monument was restored in 2007 and re-revealed in solemn ceremony on May 10th, 60 years after the first reveal.

On April 15th 2018 we received a remarkable historical letter from Xandra Cartens. The letter was addressed to Xandra’s grandparents, Rieke and Fred Cartens Boer, and written by Riek’s sister Theodora Heij. You can find the letter on the page on the Heij brothers.
On February 28th 2018, we received a letter from Lisa Lou from Australia. The letter contained additional background information about the brothers Egbertus and Frits Meulenkamp. This information enables us to dedicate a new webpage on Frits Meulenkamp who can be seen as one of the co-founders of the Oranje Vrijbuiters. Frits and Egbert were great-uncles of Lisa. We hope she can dig up a photo of Frits.
On the 3rd of May 2018, the Israeli ambassador and mayor of Woerden revealed a plaque to honour and commemorate Jan van Elk as a member of the Oranje Vrijbuiters. The local tv-channel dedicated a fragment to the event. Read more about the Oranje Vrijbuiters and Woerden here.
On April 23rd 2018, the artist Gunter Demnig placed the first eight Stolpersteine in Utrecht. A stone was placed for the founder of the Oranje Vrijbuiters Klaas Postma.

The year 2020

This year Henk Kerkhof was invited to several local elementary schools to talk about his personal experiences during World War II. The first school that he will visit is the USV school in Utrecht. The USV ‘adopted’ the Oranje Vrijbuiters monument at the Tolsteeg graveyard. The children that are in their last year of elementary school (ages 11 to 12) get to organize a yearly commemoration here. The next commemoration is scheduled for Wednesday 13th of May 2020.
The Nationaal Comité 4 en 5 mei (the Dutch National Commemoration Committee) chose "In Vrijheid Kiezen" (To Choose in Freedom) as its theme for this year. For more information, visit their website (Dutch only).

Honorary Grave and Monument
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Oranje Vrijbuiters (Orange Freebooters)
De “Oranje Vrijbuiters” (“Orange Freebooters”) was a resistance group that operated from Utrecht. They were arrested after having been betrayed. Eighteen of them were shot on February 29th 1944 on the Waalsdorpervlakte near The Hague. Read on

Other members of the group were deported to other places in nazi-Germany after having been arrested. Most of them did not survive.

The Oranje Vrijbuiters were also active in Woerden and Epe.
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Honorary Grave and Monument
The Foundation Eregraf en Monoment Oranje Vrijbuiters was founded to remind the municipality of Utrecht that in 1946 they promised to maintain the monument for ever. Until 2006, the municipality had been negligent to annoyance of some relatives.

Personal initiatives did not lead the municipality to act. Consequentially, this foundation was founded.
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“An honorary grave or monument can connect different generations,” says the Nationaal Comité 4 en 5 mei (the Dutch National Commemoration Committee). This is why the foundation has committed itself to let the monument for the Oranje Vrijbuiters be adopted by a local elementary school. The National Committee and the municipality of Utrecht agreed to this, and the monument was adopted by the Utrechtse Schoolvereniging. The children that are in their last year of elementary school (ages 11 to 12) get to organize a yearly commemoration here.
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We suspect that Kors Aelbers was a member of the Oranje Vrijbuiters, but we still aren’t sure. For the time being, we can only conclude that Kors knew some of the members of the group, namely the Heij brothers and sworn friends Ton Hegge and Bob van Oorschot. Of Karel Keizer from Amsterdam and Andries van Beek from Apeldoorn, we know close to nothing. Furthermore, we don’t even now the date of birth of Jan van der Voort.

Who were Kors Aelbers, Karel Keizer and Andries van Beek? Do you know more? Was he perhaps your grandfather? Please contact us if you relevant knowledge for us.
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Help us out, please
De foundation Eregraf en Monument Oranje Vrijbuiters also commits itself to keeping alive the memories of the horrors of World War II. This site alone has helped us to reach out to people that could tell us more about the Oranje Vrijbuiters. Relatives and more distant descendants found our site and that has led to new stories and research.

Help us keep the stories alive. Please contact us if you have relevant information, also when you are in doubt. Sometimes stories are surprisingly easy to tie together!
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Grandpa's stories
The honorary grave and monument is adopted by the USV school and we are very grateful for that. Each year, we are very proud of the kids of this school for organizing a such a good commemoration on their afternoon off. The preparations probably take a lot of time. Before the annual commemoration in May, Henk Kerkhof tells about his own experiences from the Second World War. And not just at the elementary school in Utrecht! Henk also visits his local schools. The children and teachers are very appreciative for telling his story as it makes a big impression.

This is a first attempt at translating this website about the World War II resistance group called the “Oranje Vrijbuiters” (“Orange Freebooters”). We currently work on translating the History page.
This website was set up by Henk Kerkhof and translated by Eline Bos. Please feel free to write us an email if the English needs correcting.
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