Pieter Maaskant

During 1943, Marinus Post, brother of resistance hero Johannes Post, felt the ground under his feet becoming too hot in Overijssel where he had been very active in armed resistance before being betrayed. The Germans went to his farmhouse near Kampen to arrest him but heavy gunfire ensued, in which his children also put up a strong fight. They ceased their struggle only after the Germans had placed a machine gun in firing position. His wife and eldest son aged 17 were arrested and sent to a concentration camp and his farmhouse was set alight. However, Marinus escaped although he had been wounded. His brother Henk, a preacher in Rijnsburg, helped him find shelter in the Raadsherenbuurt in Leiden where he again began organizing an assault group of ‘strong-arm men’ including Piet Maaskant.

Pieter Maaskant was born on 22 May 1921 in Bodegraven. The Maaskant Family moved house to the Johan de Wittstraat in Leiden when Piet’s father became headmaster of an elementary school here. After completing high school, Piet began studying English. He had recently obtained his degree and could proudly call himself ‘English teacher’ when he became member of the strong-arm assault group. He was still living with his parents and worked actively with youngsters in his church.

More and more people were being forced into hiding and providing food for them was becoming problematic. Distribution coupons which were needed in order to get food could be obtained from loyal civil servants who could ‘fix’ things for the resistance or could be stolen or be made by counterfeit. Because Post had experience robbing distribution offices, the strong-arm group then decided to raid the distribution office in Katwijk, located in the town hall. A friendly office employee had made an impression of the key to the safe in a bar of soft soap so that a duplicate key could be made. The raid had been scheduled to take place during the evening of 8 April 1944 but their plans went completely wrong. A policeman who collaborated with the enemy sat waiting in the town hall and shot dead the first man to enter the building; that man was Piet Maaskant.

Pieter Maaskant.

The other men managed to escape but the raid was a failure, even worse. Piet became one of the many victims of war. He was buried on 13 April 1944, next to the cemetery plot belonging to the Wolkers Family.

Detail of Pieter Maaskant’s gravestone.