White replaces blue as the guards eyes slowly roll toward the back of his head. Johan removes the chloroform drenched cloth from in front of the guards nose and mouth; quickly dragging his body out the back to the waiting car.
Another guard stands perfectly erect, directly facing me with our second chloroform soaked cloth across his face. I can see his shocked pupils slip away as he passes out as well.
“Gerrit, Lucas, get that other one quick!” Willem orders as the third and final guard runs toward the back of the room.
We entered the records building en-masse. Three dutch guards against sixteen members of the resistance; no question why it’s been easy to secure the place.
Chances are the guards really didn’t want to put up a fight anyway. They’re just doing a job.
“Isa, a bomb!” I call out to the sensual blond with green eyes at my left just as she begins handing me a brown paper bag covered object about twelve centimeters in width.
Isa always knows just what I’m thinking the moment the idea comes to my mind.
Opening the bag, I look inside to see one of the firebombs resting nicely, safely, and comfortably within. A glass bottle filled with cheap alcohol capped with a wick of cloth makes for the perfect fire starter. We’ve come with ten of these, intent on torching the municipal records of all who live in Amsterdam.
Isa hands me a second bottle, this time out of the bag.
I didn’t even have to ask her.
“Place them in the drawers,” Willem commands us.
Taking both bottles, I leap to the other side of the room, knocking over the filing cabinets and pouring the liquid across everything. Isa, Finn and Tess do the same thing, each in our own direction so that the whole room is now littered with fiery concoctions awaiting a spark.
“Ready!” Rudi calls out, after looking at each of us to ensure we’ve done our jobs.
I nod my head before running back to Isa’s side.
She has to know my feelings.
Isa looks at me, smiles, and lights a flame from a matchbook.
“Everyone out!” She screams while turning toward the others so as not to hurt my ears.
I step slightly away as Isa lights the wick of the final firebomb. She then takes my hand, pulls me out of the room, and throws the explosive-filled bottle back inside.
“The flame of young love.” Willem calls out from three paces ahead of us as we run-away hand in hand.
I turn toward Isa whose angelic face is illuminated by the freshly lit blaze.
It’s Mutual! It’s Mutual! She does love me too!
Willem Arondeus led a band of Dutch resistance fighter who gave their lives trying to protect their Jewish countrymen from the Nazis. He was a talented artist and writer whose work can still be viewed today in galleries across the world. At a time when nearly all gay people were in the closet, Willem was open about his sexual orientation. When the Germans invaded Holland Arondeus started a resistance movement against the occupiers; publishing articles in a regular print periodical focused on encouraging resistance across the country. He was also very active in the movement to hide Dutch Jews in the homes of non-jews to keep them out of the hands of the Germans. Aligning himself with like-minded patriots, he used his artistic skills to create false identity papers.
A problem with the papers was the Germans could simply check the false papers against the population list located at the Amsterdam Public Records Office. Therefore, on 27 March 1943, Arondeus led a group of resistance fighters in a brazen attack against the records office, destroying many of the public records the Nazis used to hunt the Jews. This attack delayed, or may have prevented, Jews from being identified. Gerrit van der Veen, Willem Arondéus, Johan Brouwer, Rudi Bloemgarten and several others who participated in the attack wanted to ensure that there were no casualties. They overpowered and drugged the guards, taking their bodies to a waiting car and then on to the local zoo for safety. The filing cabinets containing public records were turned upside down. After soaking the files in benzene, the group set the largest possible fire.
Unknown to Arondeus, his resistance cell has been compromised, and he was picked up, along with his accomplices, and quickly executed by the Nazis. His last words to a friend before being taken away were, "Let it be known that homosexuals are not cowards.”
In 1986 Yad Vashem recognized Arondeus as Righteous Among the Nations. Because of his sexual orientation, Willem’s story was omitted from Dutch history books until the late 1980’s. You can find his grave at Bloemendaal Municipality in Noord-Holland, Netherlands at Plot: Grave VI, Stele 5.