Wim Aantjes

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Wim Aantjes
Wim Aantjes 1972.jpg
Parliamentary leader of the Christian Democratic Appeal in the House of Representatives
In office
December 19, 1977 – November 7, 1978
Preceded by Dries van Agt
Succeeded by Ruud Lubbers
Party leader of the Anti Revolutionary Party
In office
March 7, 1973 – May 25, 1977
Preceded by Barend Biesheuvel
Succeeded by Party Disbanded
Parliamentary leader of the Anti Revolutionary Party in the House of Representatives
In office
March 7, 1973 – May 25, 1977
Preceded by Barend Biesheuvel
Succeeded by Party Disbanded
Parliamentary leader of the Anti Revolutionary Party in the House of Representatives
In office
June 22, 1971 – November 30, 1972
Preceded by Barend Biesheuvel
Succeeded by Barend Biesheuvel
Member of the House of Representatives
In office
May 26, 1959 – November 7, 1978
Personal details
Born Willem Aantjes
(1923-01-16) January 16, 1923 (age 91)
Bleskensgraaf, Netherlands
Nationality Dutch
Political party Christian Democratic Appeal (from 1980)
Other political
affiliations
Anti Revolutionary Party (before 1980)
Spouse(s) Gisela Braun
(m. 1953–1995; divorced)
Ineke Ludikhuize
(m. 2000)
Children 2 sons and 1 daughter
Residence Utrecht, Netherlands
Alma mater Utrecht University (Master of Laws)
Occupation Politician
Civil servant
Jurist
Religion Protestant Church in the Netherlands

Willem "Wim" Aantjes (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈʋɪləm ˈʋɪm ˈaːncəs]; born January 16, 1923) is a retired Dutch politician of the Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA). He served as a Member of the House of Representatives from May 26, 1959 until November 7, 1978, first as a member for the Anti Revolutionary Party (ARP) and from 1977 as a dual member for the CDA. He served as the Parliamentary leader of the Anti Revolutionary Party in the House of Representatives from June 22, 1971 until November 30, 1972 when Barend Biesheuvel the Party leader of the Anti Revolutionary Party served as Prime Minister. He served again as the Parliamentary leader from December 19, 1977 until November 7, 1978 when he resigned both his positions.

Biography[edit]

Early life[edit]

Willem Aantjes was born on January 16, 1923 in Bleskensgraaf in the Netherlands Province of South Holland. His father, Klaas Aantjes, was alderman in Bleskensgraaf and from 1 October 1950 to 14 January 1951 mayor of Hendrik-Ido-Ambacht. His brother Jan Aantjes was also mayor of several municipalities. Aantjes attended the Marnix Gymnasium in Rotterdam.

On 8 February 1940, Aantjes started to work for the postal mail company PTT.[1] On 19 July 1943, he was selected for Arbeitseinsatz and sent to Güstrow to deliver mail. Aantjes would later say he had not refused selection, because the board of PTT would otherwise have sent a married employee in his place. In September 1944, Aantjes wanted to return to the Netherlands. Other Dutch forced laborers told him that if one joined the Germaanse-SS, one could ask for an assignment in the Netherlands and be trained as a police officer on the Avegoor estate near Ellecom.[2] Aantjes decided he would follow this route, and enlisted in the SS.[3] To his dismay, he was assigned to Landstorm Nederland, a division of the Waffen-SS and he received a uniform. After being transferred to Hoogeveen, Aantjes refused to wear the uniform and to enlist in Landstorm Nederland. He was arrested and imprisoned in Port Natal near Assen, an abandoned psychiatric hospital that had been turned into a work camp by the Nazis.

After the war ended in May 1945, Aantjes enrolled at the University of Utrecht to study law. He never mentioned his enlisting in the Germaanse-SS to anyone.

Politics[edit]

Wim Aantjes as a Member of the House of Representatives in 1965.
Wim Aantjes (left) as the Parliamentary leader of the Anti Revolutionary Party in the House of Representatives in 1972.

Aantjes became a member of the House of Representatives for the Anti Revolutionary Party (ARP) in 1959.[1] He was offered the Ministry of Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment in 1967. He turned it down, because several party members knew enough about his war past to object to his candidacy in public.[4] On 6 July 1971, Aantjes became leader of the ARP group.

Aantjes played an important part in the fusion of the Anti Revolutionary Party (ARP), the Christian Historical Union (CHU) and the Catholic People's Party (KVP) into the Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA).[5] His address to the first joint congress of the three parties, which was held in 1975, has become known as the "Sermon on the Mount". After the Dutch general election of 1977, Aantjes was offered the Ministry of Justice in the first cabinet of Prime Minister Dries van Agt.[1] Again, Aantjes refused, and used his continuing involvement in the development of the CDA party as reason for his refusal. He then became the first leader of the CDA party in the House of Representatives on 20 December 1977.[6]

World War II controversy[edit]

On 6 November 1978, dr. Loe de Jong of the Dutch Institute for War Documentation announced in a press conference that Aantjes had signed up for the Waffen-SS in World War II, and that he had been a camp guard in Port Natal. Aantjes, at that time leader of the CDA party in the House of Representatives, resigned his position as parliamentary party leader and member of the House of Representatives the next day. Later, it turned out that De Jong had confused the Waffen SS with the Germaansche SS. Furthermore he had misinterpreted the motivations of Aantjes's behaviour. Aantjes had joined the Germaansche SS because he believed that this was the only legal way to escape from forced labor in Güstrow. De Jong mistakenly assumed that Aantjes had joined the Germaansche SS out of mere opportunism or sympathy for the Nazi ideology or the Dutch collaborating fascist Nationaal-Socialistische Beweging.

Decorations[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c (Dutch) Biographical info on www.parlement.com, set up by the Parliamentary Documentation Center of Leiden University, retrieved 11 May 2007.
  2. ^ (Dutch) The downfall of CDA politician Willem Aantjes in 1978, retrieved 11 May 2007.
  3. ^ Meek, James (28 April 2011). "In the Sorting Office". London Review of Books 33 (9): 3–9. Retrieved 23 May 2011. 
  4. ^ (Dutch) NRC Handelsblad, "Loe de Jong admits mistakes", 5 February 2001, retrieved 11 May 2007.
  5. ^ (Dutch) De Groene Amsterdammer, "Aantjes en de CDA-machinaties", 15 October 1997, retrieved 18 May 2007.
  6. ^ After a general election the previous cabinet continues as a caretaker. The intended Prime Minister is a member of Parliament until the next cabinet is inaugurated, and in that period functions as interim leader of the parliamentary party. So, from 25 May 1977 until 19 December 1977, Dries van Agt was technically the first leader of the CDA parliamentary party.

External links[edit]

Party political offices
Preceded by
Barend Biesheuvel
Party leader of the Anti Revolutionary Party
1973-1977
Succeeded by
Party Disbanded
Preceded by
Barend Biesheuvel
Parliamentary leader of the Anti Revolutionary Party
in the House of Representatives

1971-1972
Succeeded by
Barend Biesheuvel
Preceded by
Barend Biesheuvel
Parliamentary leader of the Anti Revolutionary Party
in the House of Representatives

1973-1977
Succeeded by
Party Disbanded
Preceded by
Dries van Agt
Parliamentary leader of the Christian Democratic Appeal
in the House of Representatives

1977-1978
Succeeded by
Ruud Lubbers