Paesi Bassi / Storia

Anton van der Waals, aka Joop van der Meer: double agent



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Anton van der Waals was hiding out as Joop van der Meer in a cottage in Midlaren. He had sent hundreds of resistance fighters to their deaths, but also offered his services to the Canadians.

One of the summer cottages near the Meerzicht pavilion on Zuidlaardermeer had a new occupant in February 1945. He had arrived with his wife on a tandem bike. Strapped to the back was a suitcase and a bundle of clothes. The Sunny Home cottage on the second row behind the pavilion was to become their new home.  

He had called himself Joop van der Meer. Usually, you would see him wearing a long raincoat. He talked briskly and often, especially about all he had done in the resistance. It apparently did not bother him that it was quite dangerous to do so in a company of dissenters.  

None of the local residents knew anything about this newcomer. He enjoyed having a chat by the lake and would go fishing on the lake in a boat with Van der Wolde. His raincoat stayed on, even then. On the day of liberation, he went into the village with the same Van der Wolde. This time the flag of the Netherlands was on the tandem bike. 'Van der Meer' took full part in the celebration before returning to his cottage. It turned out to be a farewell.  

'Van der Meer' departed the next day. Even his wife did not know where he had gone. He had said he was heading to Zuidlaren, but at the Groningerstraat he did not turn left towards Zuidlaren, but right towards Groningen. There, he reported to the Allies on Petrus Campersingel to offer his assistance. After some fancy talk, he was offered the chance to work for the British secret service.  

At the same time, the former resistance was diligently searching for Anton van der Waals, the man who had betrayed hundreds of resistance fighters as a double agent, who had been taken to prison camps in Germany. Only a few were left to recount their stories. Van der Waals could refer to himself as Van der Meer because he had killed the real Joop van der Meer with his own hands and disposed of the dismembered corpse in a suitcase. At the time, he was living on a houseboat in Loosdrecht. Joop van der Meer was his domestic servant there. He needed Van der Waals’s identity documents to establish a new identity. 

An increasing number of stories about Anton van der Waals' atrocities appeared in newspapers after the liberation. The residents of Meerzicht shuddered when it became clear that they had shared coffee and went fishing together with this double agent. It also became clear that the raincoat had been hiding a weapon all along, ready to use it. He had done the same several times to relieve people of their identities. 

Van der Waals initially managed to escape to Germany through his job in the British secret service. He was eventually arrested there in August 1946. Once back in the Netherlands, the judges quickly reached agreement. Van der Waals was sentenced to death. And so on 26 February 1950, Anton van der Waals' life was ended on the Waalsdorpenvlakte by an execution squad, at the age of 37.