The Netherlands / Audiospot
During the war, the Veerman Hotel/pub/restaurant in Wijhe is very well-known. Locals play billiards, do gymnastics, enjoy dance lessons or visit the social club. Resident guests include businessmen, Nazi sympathisers and German officers, but also Jews in hiding. With his old military comrade Captain Walta, resistance fighter Jan Dalemans organises food shipments from here for Amsterdam pensioners.
The Peet van Ommen couple take over The Veerman Hotel in May 1940. They have gained considerable experience in hospitality in Amsterdam and begin for themselves here in Wijhe. Although war has just broken out, the couple do well. Local associations use the hotel as their home base. The billiards, gymnastics and dance clubs: they all hold their weekly evenings at Veermans.
The club is always crowded. During the war, there is increasing talk about the course of the war, illegal publications are read and the news of the Dutch Royal Family is spread by word of mouth. One of the regular visitors is Captain Walta. Although he works for the Dutch Labour Department, he also maintains contact with the resistance.
Sometime in 1942, he encounters his old military comrade, Johan Dalemans, right here in the Veerman Hotel. Dalemans works for the Amsterdam underground, arranges accommodation for Jews in hiding, provides ration cards and distributes illegal publications. They devise a plan to help Amsterdam pensioners with extra food. Walta knows the people around Wijhe well and can easily provide food. Dalemans drives to Amsterdam.
During those war years, The Veerman Hotel has a mixed group of guests consisting of businessmen, Nazi sympathisers and German officers, but also Jews in hiding. Whether one of them betrayed Jan Dalemans is unknown. The fact is that Jan Dalemans is arrested and taken to Scheveningen Prison. He dies facing a firing squad on the Waalsdorpervlakte. It was his last wish that The Veerman Hotel would continue after the war under the name ‘The Oranje Hotel’. And that is exactly what happened.