News Articles

Nightly raid on Orangist’s home netted wrong person

Ede resistanceman in hiding in 1799

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

The regional genealogical periodical, ‘Veluwse Geslachten’ in its recent 25th Anniversary issue details a failed attempt to catch a resistanceman during a nightly raid. Sometimes after midnight just over two hundred years ago, local Ede policeman G.J. Roelofsen was aroused from his sleep by an officer of the Gelderland provincial court with the order to help catch watchmaker Tobias Berends, a wellknown enemy of the occupying forces and the ruling collaborators.

Roelofsen who knew Veenendaal-born Berends, learned from the order that the man two days earlier had incited a crowd in his former hometown to shout Orangist slogans. Berends also had distributed orange-coloured ribbons, then a prohibited item.

When Roelofsen and the court official pounded the door at the Berends’ home, a curious male answered wanting to know who had awakened him. Just at that point the raiders discovered the door was not locked and burst inside where they overpowered the man and held him with a knife to his chest. To their chagrin, they then discovered - after a lamp had been lighted - that their catch only was Berends’ brother-in-law Aalbert Jansen, a single man who lived with his family.

The raiders then searched the entire house, including the loft and every nook but failed the find Berends who regularly avoided staying home at night.

Embarrassed, the invaders departed with a stiff warning to keep inside during the night and to lock the doors.

Tobias Berends (or Barends) along with hundreds of Ede townsmen was signatory to a 1785 protest against Patriot political initiatives. The raid took place in 1799 by which time the formerly Dutch Republic had been subdued by the French occupation. The publication does not report if Berends ever was tried for his political beliefs.