Item Description: Dutch Resistance Brassard

Introduction: Battledetective has inherited another battle relic. From Tom's grandfather this time. It is a white cloth armband worn by the Dutch Resistance Group known as Partizanen Actie Nederland (Partisan Action Netherlands).

The Story: The PAN resistance group operated mainly in the Eindhoven area and is described in a special CIA study, called: "The Dutch Resistance and the OSS; Of Market Garden and Melanie".

In part, it says:

"The Eindhoven and Nijmegen Undergrounds.

Some organizations, established locally by individual Dutchmen, operated with no formal, structured links to any other groups. In Eindhoven, a group known as the "Partisan Action Nederlands" (PAN) functioned along the lines of the KP but did not consider itself part of that organization.

PAN was founded by Hoynck van Papendrecht. He studied engineering at the Technical University in Delft until April 1943, when the Germans closed the Dutch universities and began forcibly relocating Dutch students to Germany as a manpower and professional talent pool. Van Papendrecht went into hiding and eventually moved to Eindhoven, where he established the PAN. By June 1944, the PAN had reached its full strength of 80 to 100 young men and women. The PAN had several small cells operating in the small towns around Eindhoven. These included the Group Sander, named after its leader, which worked as a KP and LO subgroup.

Margarethe Kelder and her sister were members of the Group Sander. They smuggled downed Allied airmen and Dutch onkerduikers to a crossing site on the Belgium border, coordinating their activities with a Belgian Resistance group. The female members of the PAN were primarily couriers, but they were also valued intelligence collectors. In early September 1944, Kelder and another female Resistance member were asked to go into the woods near Eindhoven to confirm the presence of a German antiaircraft battery. On the pretext of gathering mushrooms, they conducted their reconnaissance and, when confronted by German guards near the battery, were able to convince them of their innocence.

Another PAN group in a town north of Eindhoven conducted sabotage operations. It put salt in gas and oil tanks of German vehicles and blew up railroad tracks, using smuggled explosives provided by mining engineers
After D-Day, many in the Dutch underground grew impatient and wanted to conduct more aggressive operations against the Germans. The PAN did so by launching raids against, among other targets, the 20- to 30-man German garrison at the Eindhoven airport on 5 September 1944. It also began conducting a form of psychological warfare; PAN members would approach German soldiers they knew and try to persuade them of the hopelessness of Germany's situation and to surrender. Some PAN members were reported by German soldiers and arrested. The punishment for belonging to a Resistance organization was summary execution.

Details of how Tom's grandfather obtained the brassard, are unknown, but he served as a Chief Inspector with the police in Eindhoven before, during and after the German occupation of the city. After the war Chief Inspector Matla was the head of the Political Investigations Department, a police unit which located  war criminals and collaborators and brought them to Justice.  Perhaps in these positions he had his contacts with members of the resistance group.


This is the brassard  (click on the pictures to enlarge):


In- and outsides


The brassard in period photographs:

(click on the pictures to enlarge)

This female resistance worker wears her PAN-brassard while she waits in a requisitioned car in front of a building on Emma Singel.

The same location as the previous photograph on Emma Singel in Eindhoven.


Members of the Partizanen Actie Nederland use weapons and equipment of both German and American origin. The car is a "Kübelwagen" and on the hood is a German machine gun. The man on the left carries an American M1 rifle and wears a paratrooper helmet. Turned backwards! Note the PAN-brassard taped to the bumper.


Shortly after the liberation, membership of the Partizanen Actie Nederland was booming! Here, members are seen parading on Bilderdijk Laan.

January 7th 2012 UPDATE:
In the Regional Historical Center of Eindhoven we discovered the archives of the founder of the Partisan Action Netherlands; Adrianus Petrus Hoynck-Van Papendrecht.
Hoynck-Van Papendrecht's files, notes, World War 2 Battle Relics and a manuscript for a book about his Partisans were donated to the Historical Center after his death in 2001.
In his heritage are Hoynck-Van Papendrecht's PAN-identification card (numbered 1) and PAN-brassard which bears the additional markings "DC", "KPL" and "DO".

For safety reasons we only brought a photograph of our Battle Relic into the study hall of the Historical Center and photographed it with the one of the Partizanen Actie Nederland's founding leader.

(click on the pictures to enlarge)

So far we merely assume that "DC" stands for District Commandant and "KPL" for "Knok Ploeg Leider" (Fight Team Leader).
What "DO" stands for is unknown.
We do know that the PAN organization was somewhat deviant from most Dutch resistance organizations during the Nazi occupation.
In most parts of this country there had been armed units, like the PAN, which were named "KP" - after "Knokploeg", Dutch for Fight Team -.
It is our theory that the PAN was not sure if their existence was known to Allied intelligence organizations but  that they where familiar with "KP" and other Dutch underground entities. 
Taking no chances, Hoynck van Papendrecht therefore may have had all his forms of address printed on the brassard he would wear into battle....
We welcome any suggestions explaining the abbreviations "DC", "KPL"and "DO" to us.


 Back to Battlerelics

(c) 2007-Present Day Email: all rights reserved.