The Netherlands / Monument
The Belfeld War Memorial was erected in memory of all fellow citizens who died during the years of occupation due to acts of war. In particular, five resistance men who were killed by the occupying forces in 1944 are commemorated.
A relatively large number of Jews were in hiding in the municipality of Belfeld. Until the summer of 1944. Then, the Arbeitskontrolldienst (Labour Control Service, also known as the 'AKD') under the leadership of the NSB (Dutch Socialist Movement) member Johan Berendsen from Venlo, became fiercer and settled itself in a Feldpolizei (field police) department within Reuver.
In the spring of 1944, Ben Verstappen founded a local resistance. Initially, the work was limited to finding hiding places. But in the summer of 1944, Ben's resistance group received orders from the provincial KP (resistance) leaders to squat a milk factory in Broekhuizen, break into a mill in Beesel and break into a farmers' union in Velden. Towards the end of August 1944, the KP members stripped a Belfeld black marketer of his usury profits and liquidated two people in hiding who threatened to endanger the KP organisation in Hulsberg. The headquarters of Ben's group was located in an air raid shelter on the Patersweg (Paters Road) in Belfeld.
On Wednesday 30 August, KP member Pereira (a person in hiding from The Hague) waited in the bunker for his comrades, who were carrying out an assignment. Because they did not return at the agreed time, Pereira went outside. That's where he ran into two members of the AKD. Pereira's identity papers were not in order, and he had a striking number of ration stamps on his person. At Pereira's hiding place (Janssen's farm), the AKD members found other incriminating material. A truck driver, who had seen the arrest of the resistance man, informed Ben. He joined forces with A.H. Ummels (Chief Guard of the Marechaussee) and went to the farm. AKD member Sabbé was on guard, and a gunfight ensued. The KP leader was fatally hit and Ummels, who arrived a little later, was arrested.
Together with Pereira and Ben's remains, he was transported to the barracks in Blerick. That's where they found that Ben had carried a list with names of KP members to whom a weapon had been provided. Including the names Ummels and H.W.M. Gommans (leader of the Young Guard in Belfeld). Ummels and Pereira were shot dead by SiPos Mitsch and Conrad on the railway line between Belfeld and Reuver. On 5 October, C. Janssen from Sevenum, who was in hiding and worked on a farm, was arrested. Two days later, H. Gommans was arrested. That same evening, Janssen and Gommans were shot in the woods between Beesel and Reuver.
The names of the five resistance fighters that were killed are as follows: H.W.H. Gommans, C. Janssen, M. Pereira, A.H. Ummels and B.P.L. Verstappen.