Johan Gerard Westerweel

Geslacht: Man
Vader: Samuel Westerweel
Moeder: Geertruida Johanna Mulder
Geboren: 25 Jan 1899 Zutphen
Overleden: 11 Aug 1944 Vught
Beroep: onderwijzer
Aantekeningen: Amsterdam/ De Bilt. Onderwijzer. Medewerker De Werkplaats. Dienstweigeraar. In Nederlands-Indië wegens illegale actie ontslagen. Secretaris van Jeugd helpt Jeugd -actie. Ondertekent Dienstweigeringsmanifest Mobiliseren 1927. Int. Jugend Conf. (Reims 1939). Lijst links-extremistische personen (1939).
Westerweel Johan (1899 - 1944 )
Personal Information
Last Name: Westerweel
First Name: Johan
Alias: JOOP
Date of Birth: 25/01/1899
Date of death: 11/08/1944
Rescuer's fate: imprisoned
Cause of Death: EXECUTION
Gender: Male
Profession: PRINCIPAL
Organization/ Religious order: Westerweel Groep
Place during the war: Rotterdam, Zuidholland, The Netherlands
Vught, Camp, The Netherlands
Rescue Place: Rotterdam, Zuidholland, The Netherlands
Rescue mode: Hiding
Illegal transfer
Arranging shelter
File number: File from the Collection of the Righteous Among the Nations Department (M.31.2/32)
Date of Recognition: 26/11/1963
Righteous Commemorated with Tree/Wall of Honor: Tree
Ceremony organized by Israeli diplomatic delegation in: The Hague, Netherlands
Ceremony held in Yad Vashem: Yes
Related links to library
In ungleichem Kampf
Rescue Story
Westerweel, Johan Gerard & Wilhelmina Dora (Bosdriesz)
Johan (Joop) Westerweel was one of the most daring and successful of the Dutch Resistance leaders until his execution by the Nazis in August 1944. His background in education and his unconventional parents, who belonged to a non-consensual sect of Protestantism, the Derbists, prepared him for the work he did in the last years of his life. Joop’s motto was one of non-violent resistance. As a convinced pacifist, he had been expelled from the Dutch East Indies for refusing to be drafted into the army. Joop never abandoned his idealistic principles. His strict Christian background instilled in him a sense of justice for all and a belief in the basic goodness of man. He began teaching in a school at the Werkplaats in Bilthoven, where the progressive and innovative educational methods of its founder, Kees Boeke*, were applied. In 1940, Joop and his wife, Wilhelmina (Wil), moved to Rotterdam, where Joop was offered a position as principal of one of the Montessori schools. In Bilthoven, the Westerweels had already come into contact with Jewish refugee children, who had been arriving in Holland in the 1930s, mainly from Germany. By 1942, the couple had four children. Even before their association with the Zionist pioneer groups, the Westerweels had taken Jewish refugees into their home. Joop’s colleague and friend from the Werkplaats, Mirjam Waterman (later Pinkhof), introduced him to a group of young pioneers (halutzim) in Loosdrecht, near Amsterdam, in whom he recognized a sense of idealism and strong principles, which he found attractive. The community consisted mainly of youngsters, aged between 15 and 19, originating from Central and Eastern Europe. They came to Holland for agricultural training in preparation for immigration to Eretz Yisrael. Joop admired the group’s cohesiveness, their inner discipline, and their optimism. Most of all, Joop admired Shushu (Joachim) Simon, a young intellectual from Berlin. In him he discovered a soulmate, a fellow thinker-idealist, with whom he formed a close friendship. Although Joop and Wil were not new to illegal activities, having sheltered Jews three times in Rotterdam---they moved to a different apartment each time---their involvement with the halutzim groups began only in July 1942, with the onset of the mass deportation of Jews. When the Loosdrecht group received a tip-off from the Jewish Council on August 15, 1943, that they were about to be deported, Joop and his friends, who became known as the Westerweel* group, were on hand to provide a hiding place for each of the 50 members. By August 17, 1943, all the young pioneers had vanished and of this group of 50, 33 survived the war, the rest being deported after betrayal. The experience showed Joop and his colleagues that hiding was far from being a perfect solution. Joop had heard of the possibility of crossing the border into Belgium and from there traveling to France and neutral Spain, where it would be possible to reach Eretz Yisrael by boat. The Westerweel group, in collaboration with the Hehalutz movement, decided to concentrate on helping the members escape Dutch territory altogether. In September 1942, an attempt was made to help eight Jewish pioneers escape to neutral Switzerland. The group was caught crossing the Dutch-Belgian border and all were arrested and deported to Auschwitz. A second group reached Switzerland. In December 1943, Joop succeeded in leading a group of halutzim from Holland through Belgium to France. From there they could cross the border to Spain and ultimately reach Eretz Yisrael. At the foot of the Pyrenees, in a dramatic address to the young halutzim with whom he was about to part, Joop urged them to remember the suffering in the world at large. He implored them to accord freedom and dignity to all inhabitants of a future Jewish State. “No more war,” were his final words as they parted company. Later that month, Wil was arrested during an attempt to free Lettie Rudelsheim (later Ben Heled), one of the most active halutz members, from the Scheveningen prison. Wil was taken to the Vught concentration camp, where she remained for about a year, and during which time she witnessed the execution of her husband. She was later transferred to the Ravensbrück concentration camp, where she was subjected to forced labor and contracted a heart disease. She was later allowed to go to Sweden as part of a prisoner exchange and returned to Holland after the war. In the meantime, the Westerweels’ four children went into hiding with friends of the family. After his wife’s arrest, Joop had quit his post at the Montessori school. On March 11, 1944, Joop and his co-worker Bouke Koning* were caught at the Belgian border with two Jewish women from Youth Aliyah whom they were escorting. Joop was imprisoned in Vught and tortured. He soon became a spiritual leader for many of the prisoners since his unfailing high spirits in the face of cruel interrogation and the prospect of execution gave those around him hope and strength. His last communication with the outside world was a poem, entitled “Avond in de Cel” ( Evening in the Cell), written in July 1944, and full of optimism, speaking of the beauty of nature and a life of fulfillment and inner conviction. On August 11, 1944, Joop Westerweel was executed in the Vught concentration camp.
On June 16, 1964, Yad Vashem recognized Johan Gerard Westerweel and his wife, Wilhelmina Dora Westerweel-Bosdriesz, as Righteous Among the Nations.

Gezin 1

Huwelijkspartner: Hendrika Louisa Wilhelmina Kraan geb. 14 Nov 1899 overl. 8 Jan 1961
Huwelijk: 27 OKT 1920 Zutphen
Scheiding: 11 Jan 1929 Amsterdam

Gezin 2

Huwelijkspartner: Wilhelmina Dora Bosdriesz geb. 18 MRT 1908 overl. 26 Feb 1999
Huwelijk: 7 Sept 1932 Amsterdam
  Leo Westerweel Male geb. 4 Juni 1933