The Netherlands / Monument
Jan was arrested with his nephew, chaplain Gerard Hermkens, on 17 December 1944. Both died in February 1945 due to war violence in Germany.
Jan had been the priest of the Brachterbeek rectorate since 1927. After the evacuation of Maasbracht on 7 November 1944, Jan found shelter with his nephew and resistance fighter, Gerard, in Montfort. On 16 December, the two decided to walk through the front to liberated territory with dozens of civilians in tow. It was an extraordinarily risky venture that failed. Back in Montfort, the two cousins were arrested by the Nazis after being betrayed on 17 December on charges of aiding in an attempt to pass through the front. They ended up in the Köln (Cologne) prison, after which they were sent to the Buchenwald concentration camp. On 8 February 1945, they were seriously injured in a bombing of the factory near the camp where they had to perform forced labour. Jan died from his injuries a day later and Gerard just over a week later. Jan's remains stayed in Germany and are not in his memorial grave in Brachterbeek.