Paesi Bassi / Monumento

The Hidden Village in Vierhouten



Indicazioni stradali

The Hidden Village: an underground refuge located on the Pas-Opweg in the forests near Vierhouten and Nunspeet. During the Second World War, this site evolves into a complex of nine underground huts in the forest. This "Pas-Op Camp" for people in hiding is an expansion of the hiding place camp on the estate of the Von Baumhauer family.

The Hidden Village is an initiative of Edouard Henri von Baumhauer, alias 'De Boem', and the couple Dionisius and Cornelia Bakker from Nunspeet, using the aliases 'Opa Bakker' and 'Tante Cor'. Since June 1943, the underground village has been a hiding place for stranded Allied pilots and people fleeing from persecution due to the Jewish persecution, resistance, or forced labor. The number of inhabitants of The Hidden Village varies, but usually ranges between eighty and a hundred people. Some notable residents include Herman Löwenberg, a five-year-old boy who arrives alone at the camp, Lenie Duyzend, a schoolmate of Anne Frank, the Russian soldier Kuzma, the German deserter Peter, and the American pilot James Wilson.

For a year and a half, the Pas-Op Camp remains undiscovered by the German occupiers or collaborators. This is achieved through assistance from the resistance and thanks to the local population's silence. Strict security measures are enforced in The Hidden Village, as the risk of discovery is significant with so many people. Supplies are delivered at night to designated locations, and every trace in the forest is erased. Food is buried in deep holes to keep it safe and cool. Mushrooms are picked in the forest for consumption. There is no hunger in the camp.

Daily life in the huts is tough, but made more bearable by organizing activities. Reading, cabaret performances, and teaching children take place. Sunday is a special day when people dress more neatly despite the challenges of cold and dampness, and often Opa Bakker, Tante Cor, or other resistance members bring something tasty. Each hut also receives a name.

In the last year of the war, tragedy strikes. On October 29, 1944, the village is discovered by chance. Two men from the Landstorm are in the woods looking for game when they suddenly hear the sound of chopping wood. Landstorm Nederland is a military organization under the command of the SS officer Rauter. The Landstormers become suspicious and investigate, catching a boy fetching water. They believe they have found a camp full of terrorists, so they decide to get extra help from De Paasheuvel, the former campsite where the Germans are stationed.

With the extra time, most of the people in hiding manage to escape, but eight Jews are arrested and imprisoned in the cellar of De Paasheuvel. In the cellar, one Jewish woman dies, and her husband is executed outside De Paasheuvel. The remaining six Jews are forced to walk to The Hidden Village, where they are also executed. Among them is a six-year-old boy. In 1994, a monument was erected on Tongerenseweg in Vierhouten to commemorate this massacre.

The impressive story of The Hidden Village has been documented by Aart Visser in the book "Het Verscholen Dorp: verzet en onderduikers op de Veluwe" ("The Hidden Village: Resistance and Hiding in the Veluwe"). After the war, some huts of The Hidden Village were reconstructed as a tribute to the courageous people who sought refuge there.

Pas-Opweg, Vierhouten