* Muiden December 18, 1898
† Amsterdam May 7, 1945
Pieter Hendrik Diekmeijer and Johanna Maria Wajon had five children. One of them was Pieter Hendrik Diekmeijer who got married in Amersfoort on April 2, 1931 to Margaretha van Noordt, age 27. She was from Amersfoort. They had two children, Janine and Jan. They lived in Nieuwer Amstel.
Henk died at 3 pm on the Dam from gunshot wounds and was buried at Zorgvlied Cemetery. He was 46 years old.
His granddaughter Janine tells us:
“My grandfather worked for the post office in the present Magna Plaza. The story goes that he went to the market on May 7, 1945 and took my father Henk (12) with him. His wife Margaretha and their youngest son Jan (2) stayed home. When panic broke out at the Dam, I think my father got separated from his father. My father ended up all the way at the back of the fleeing masses of people. He almost got trampled. He was brought home by bystanders some hours later at which point my grandmother said that she would have preferred him dying instead of his father.
It is difficult to decide which of my father’s problems originated that day and which might have been hereditary. But he had a tragic life marked by addictions, panic attacks, aggression, compulsive lying and broken relationships.
I think there was never a proper diagnosis (except for the alcohol addiction) and the opinions varied from post traumatic stress disorder to brain damage and autism.
I was raised by my father and I remember when there were new photo’s of the shooting on the Dam. I was a teenager, it was probably sometime around the late 1980’s or the beginning of the 90’s. He woke me up in the middle of the night. He wanted me to study the pictures in the newspaper because he said my eyes were better. He had been up all night, studying the photo’s with a magnifying glass because he hoped to identify himself and/or his father. He pointed at a small white figure in the back of the fleeing people: Is that me, is that me?, he yelled. He had totally lost it, his eyes were bloodshot. I was very scared.”
Son Jan Diekmeijer:
“During his youth he lived in Muiden, his father was an engine driver at the powder factory.Together with his older sister he went to school in Weesp. In 1916 he worked as a telegraph operator by the State Company PTT and lived in Amsterdam. In 1938 my parents moved to Amstelveen(Nieuwer-Amstel) in a family dwelling. My father worked then for the PTT at the postoffice in the Borgerstraat in Amsterdam.On that fatal day, May 7, my father went to Amsterdam with his brother Henk. The night before he was warned by his brother in law, Matthijs Marinus Duikers, who was married with one of his sisters, that it wasn’t save in Amsterdam and he better stayed at home. According to the stories, that I have heard, my uncle was member of the Domestic Armed Forces in Amsterdam. They lived in the Bosboom Toussaintstraat, that is not far away from the Dam. My mother was very concerned that he wanted to go and take Henk with him. But my father was so pleased that the war was over, he had to go. On his way to the Dam he visited his mother, she lived in the Govert Flinckstraat. After that he went to the Dam, were he died of shot wounds in his head. Henk fled away form the Dam and went to his uncle or was brought, that’s not clear. HIs uncle brought him to Amstelveen and told my mother that terrible news. My father is buried on May 14 at the cemetery Zorgvlied. My mother never really come to terms with that loss because she never saw my father. Because of the wounds Martinus discouraged her to look to my father before the coffin was closed. She told me once, when I was older< that when she heard the door during the night, she thought that my father returned. She went out of bed to look. She told me that her children kept her on her feet. My mother was a strong woman. All her live her children were in the spotlight and took care that we had a good education. I’m still grateful for that. She never married again and died at the age of 85 years. I was 10 years younger then my brother Henk, who’s experienced this tragedy. For me he was a wonderful great brother, I went with him to Tuschinski and the Cineac in Amsterdam and afterwards a sandwich from Dobben. In the 20 years that we lived in the same house, he was a boy/men, who for me, didn’t suffer from the war. In March 2000 he passed away.
Jan Diekmeijer, May 2015
His granddaughter Myrtle, the youngest daughter of son Henk, writes us:
Pieter Hendrik Diekmeijer is the grandfather whom I never knew. My father was with my grandfather at the Dam when the shooting took place. It’s never clear to me how everything worked out. Did my father saw that his father was shot? What has happened with that 12 year old boy when he ran through the crowd? My father couldn’t talk about it. If I started to talk about it, he often made a cynical joke. What I know is that the shooting at the Dam and the dying of his father left his traces. A 12 year old child that has seen such traumatic things, in a period when their was little attention for the mental consequences, they were busy building up the nation. My parents were divorced when I was 9 years old. I stayed with my mother and my three year older sister decided to stay with my father. This divorce was tragic because my mother was the love of his life. The first ten years of the marriage were good. After the divorce my father and I had a good relation. My father was anxious, because of the shooting at the Dam, he used alcohol to forget his fears. My father never talked about it and the older he got it seems difficult. I don’t associate the words Atism and aggression with my father. There was no aggression during the marriage of my parents. My mother passed away but kept until the death of my father a special connection with him. I look back upon my father as a men who had a trauma because of the shooting at the Dam. The consequence of this is that it always played an important role in his life. My father had his heart at the right place.