March 16th, 2017 Headsman
On this date in 1946, the Dutch journalist/propagandist Max Blokzijl was shot at Scheveningen for wartime Nazi collaboration.
From 1918 to 1940 he worked from Germany, and Germany worked on him; in 1935, with National Socialism ascending its zenith in Germany, Blokzijl joined Anton Mussert‘s Dutch knockoff, the Nationaal-Socialistische Beweging party. He also wrote anonymously for the fascist newspaper De Waag.
When Germany occupied the Netherlands in 1940, Blokzijl decloaked as a fascist and accepted a gig as Berlin’s hand for the Dutch press. He was noted for the wartime radio show Brandende kwesties (Burning Issues) which helped make his the calm and measured voice of Dutch national socialism — an identification which soon proved to be a great liability.
The last Nazi redoubts in the Netherlands didn’t surrender until the very end in May, 1945, and that’s when Blokzijl was arrested, too. He stood a half-day trial on September 11, 1945 for his media campaign “aimed at breaking the spiritual resistance of the Dutch people are against the enemy and infidelity of the people to his government and the Allied cause.”
One could argue that the firing squad was a harsh penalty for a guy who had no direct hand in any atrocities. As with the French propagandist Robert Brasillach, the circumstance of facing the nation’s judgment so directly after the war contributed to the severity of Blokzijl’s punishment: indeed, Blokzijl was the very first Dutchman tried for his World War II behavior, which made a death sentence virtually de rigueur. As he wrote to his lawyers in the end, “I fall as the first sacrifice for a political reckoning.”
* One of his prewar careers: he was also a professional singer.
On this day..
- 1868: Eleven samurai, for the Sakai Incident - 2016
- 1773: Lewis Hutchinson, "the most detestable and abandoned villain" - 2015
- 1789: Not Mary Wade, 11-year-old thief - 2014
- 1649: Saint Jean de Brébeuf, missionary to the Huron - 2013
- 1677: Thomas Sadler and William Johnson, mace thieves - 2012
- 1244: Two hundred-plus Cathars at Montsegur - 2011
- 37: Some poor wretches, despite the death of Tiberius - 2010
- 2005: Mohammed Bijeh, the desert vampire - 2009
- 1457: László Hunyadi, the death before Hungary's rebirth - 2008