Willem Arondeus was a Dutch artist who was part of the Dutch underground resistance to the Nazis during World War II.
In 1942, Arondeus started an underground periodical called the Brandarisbrief. In 1943, the Brandarisbrief merged with another publication called De Vrije Kunstenaar Through the merger, Arondeus met Gerrit van der Veen, the editor of De Vrije Kunstenaar. In the resistance, Gerrit van der Veen specialized in forging identity cards. As a result, Arondeus also became involved in creating forged documents, along with lesbian resistant Frieda Belinfante. A major detriment to the success of these forgeries was the Municipal Office for Population Registration as its existence made the forgeries less useful, since their legitimacy could be checked against the registration lists and determined to be fakes. Arondeus and van der Veen, developed a plan to destroy the registration office along with a number of associates.
Their attack, which took place on 27 March 1943, was partially successful, and they managed to destroy 800,000 identity cards (15% of the records), and retrieve 600 blank cards and 50,000 guilders. The building was blown up and no one was caught on the night of the attack. However, due to an unknown betrayer, Arondeus was arrested on 1 April 1943. Arondeus refused to give up the rest of his team but his notebook was found, and as a result, a majority of the group were arrested as well.
On 18 June 1943, Arondeus was tried and sentenced to death, along with 13 other men who participated. Two of the group received clemency, but the others were executed on 1 July 1943. Ardoneus pleaded guilty and took the full blame, which may be why two young doctors were spared from execution and given custodial sentences instead. Before his execution, Arondeus made a point of ensuring the public would be aware that he and two other men in the group, Bakker and Brouwer, were gay, asking either a friend or his lawyer (accounts vary) to: “Tell the people that homosexuals can be brave!”
This anti-Vietnam War poster is widely attributed to students at UC Berkeley around 1970.
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