May 7 1945 Shooting at the Dam from the Groote Club
The Krijtberg Church (St. Franciscus Xaverius) at the Singel in Amsterdam had founded for many years before the war started, a scouting group. After the capitulation in May 1940 the scouting was forbidden by the occupiers. We had our space in the Dubbele Worststeeg parallel with the Beulingsloot. A benefactor from the parish gave us a complete camp equipment : 4 eight persons tents, 4 shelters, 1 tent for the commander, 1 tent for the chapel, canvas, kitchen utensils, rope etc.etc. The Germans put a seal on our place and confiscated also our new camp equipment. After a while it started to itch and we decided to go on illegal with a selected group. Scoutmaster Frans Paardekooper had permission from his father to use one of the attics of Bindery Paardekooper, at that time established at the Noordermarkt.
With the liberation we had a small scouting group. Partly in uniform (from elderly brothers) we were standing at the Dam at the beginning of the Kalverstraat in the Paleisstraat. When the shooting started, the germans fired above our heads.
After the shooting stopped the Dam was empty, except the wounded and dead people, but in the centre of the Dam stood a helpless little girl of 5-6 years old, in panic. One of our scouts, Hans Labout waving with his hand, overlooked the situation and walked waving with his handkerchief to the little girl and brought her back to her waving mother. Girl unknown, she will be a women of about 74 years old and Hans about 83 if they are still alive.
Hans was living at the Prinsengracht and worked many years until his retirement as a salesman at the sport and camp equipment Neef at the Raadhuisstraat, opposite the Gallery.
In confidence that you will sent this article to the concerned authority, greetings
Our Foundation has contacted Mr Hilhorst. At that time he was 16 years old and their group scouts were about 6 boys, all about the same age. In his letter he described the role of fame from Hans Labout, who should have saved a 6 years old girl and gave her back to her mother. We also located him and spoke to him. Now he is 85 years of age and remembers not much: “What was going on? It was a partying crowd, suddenly panic, shouting, hiding and running people. The moment it was obviously that there was a shooting from the balcony of the Grote Club, we hide and ran, afterwards we knew it was the direction of shooting, into the direction of the Nieuwekerk (New Church), around the corner, safe. We crossed the road and besides the Post Office to home, run! “. The group was no longer together. On his way he grabbed a child, if it was a boy or girl, of which age it was, he certainly don’t know. “For sure, I’m no hero. It was a reflex”.
9 October 2013
Ludmilla van Santen, member Projectgroup