TracesOfWar needs your help! We miss photos of important sights in the Netherlands, Belgium, France and Germany. Submit your photos to and it will be published!

Jan Olij (1920 - 1996)

Jan Olij lived in Argentina in the vicinity of Buenos Aires until his death in 1996. In July 1949 he was convicted in absentia to 20 years of imprisonment by the special court in Amsterdam. His crimes were burning a farm in Barneveld, arresting and handing over Rotterdam people to the Nazis and membership of the SS, which he had joined in 1940.

The Netherlands already asked the government in Buenos Aires several times for his extradition but without success. In 1952 Olij received Argentinian citizenship on which ground he could not be extradited. Even if he were to became stateless chances of Olij being extradited were small commented his attorney Luis Artola. Nevertheless Olij repeatedly contacted the Dutch embassy to offer his regrets; he longed for returning to the Netherlands. The address of Olij was known to the Dutch department of justice since 1961. Later attempts to get Olij convicted failed. According to the verdict from the federal judge Gerardo Larramberre in 1989 "Olij didn’t get the chance to defend himself in court. A conviction in absentia like the one in the Netherlands, would not be valid in Argentinian legislation." A treaty for extradition existed between Argentina and the Netherlands since 1893 but that didn’t include the topic of war criminals. Dutch law says that anyone who during war joins a foreign military service loses his citizenship. If the Dutch courts want to judge him he first needs to be naturalized.

Jan Olij, who was born on August 10th,1920 in Landsmeer, North Holland, came from a boxing family. Both his father and brother were meritorious boxers. "The giant from Landsmeer" as Jan Olij was sometimes nicknamed became Dutch heavy weight champion in 1940. The Olij family was sympathizing quite early with national socialism. They became members from the NSB, the Dutch national socialist movement, in the thirties from last century. A logical consequence was that his father who had been a policeman since 1928 in Amsterdam joined the Zentralstelle für jüdische Auswanderung or the Nazi central place for "Jewish emigration" in 1940. Both his sons, Kees and Jan joined the Waffen SS.

Jan’s career got momentum after he returned to the Netherlands to recuperate after being wounded in the leg at the eastern front. He joined the Arbeitskontrolledienst in 1943 with the task of rounding up persons who tried to escape the forced labour in Germany. In 1945 he was transferred to the Grüne Polizei where he became even more notorious for beating up arrested people in order to extricate confessions.

In July 1945 Jan Olij was arrested and locked up in the prison at the Amstelveenseweg in Amsterdam. Awaiting his trial he was sent in 1947 to the internment camp at Hoensbroek, where he did forced labour in the coal mines of Limburg. There he managed to escape his guards and since that time he remained a fugitive. As he said during an interview with the Nieuwe Revue in February 1989: "It was clear I had to leave Holland and I immediately fled to Spain." He ended in the concentration camp Nan Clares de la Oca at Bilbao. His stay there wouldn’t last long. He fled and started to box for a living under the pseudonym of Jack Olij. It was in this environment that he met Dries Riphagen who like him was a fugitive. Riphagen owned some money that he had "saved" during the war with which he organised boxing contests in Spanish Basque country. From the profits of these games Jan was able to buy a ticket for a boat to Argentina. In 1949 he crossed the Atlantic on board the ship Rio Tessana and arrived in Argentina through Brazil. Upon arrival he was registered under the name of Hans Olij.

He stayed in contact with Riphagen who sometimes pretended to be a Danish and sometimes a Dutch national. Riphagen invested his savings in a transport company and financed the boxing matches from Olij. Jan Olij was dubbed by the Argentinian press Jan Olij Hottentot, Hottentot being his mother’s maiden name.

Jan Olij settled down at the foothills of the Andes in the village of San Juan where he offered his services to the local police. It was there that he met his second wife Rosa Castula Tonon who he married and with whom he had a son. Since that time he worked as an electrician and as painter of cheesy paintings. He had given up on boxing because he suffered from arthritis. At the end of the fifties the organisation ODESSA made it possible for him to visit his relatives during a short stay in West-Germany. He lived in Herten ,Westphalia only 30 kms from the Dutch border where he worked as a letter painter. In Germany his presence was quickly noted and he was arrested once again. He managed to escape yet another time.

In 1962 he settled in Isidro Casanova and lived there almost unnoticed until in 1989 reporters from the Parool and Nieuwe Revue once more got onto his trail and managed to interview him on several occasions. Again a scandal erupted and Olij was arrested once more but was later released after appeal. His brother Erik also stays in Argentina. His address is not known nor is it known if a warrant against him still exists. His father Simon (Sam) Olij was sentenced to death for arresting and mistreating Jews and other detainees. This sentence was commuted to life imprisonment but in higher recourse the verdict was recalled. After a psychiatric investigation Sam was considered less accountable for his deeds. His sentence was commuted to nine years imprisonment. In June 1954 he was released. He died in 1975 in Amsterdam.

Reporter Arnold Karskens said on June 16th 2009 on that Jan Olij already passed away on May, 8th 1996. He is buried in "Jardin de los ceibos" in the La Matanza quarter of Buenos Aires.


concentration camp
Closed camp where people are being held captive that are considered to be anti- social, enemies of the state, criminal or unwanted individuals. These groups mostly do not get a fair trial or are condemned to doing time in a camp.
Largest Soviet ground formation. It was attached to a certain area which gave its name to the units involved. For instance the Voronezh front.
Middle Eastern people with own religion that lived in Palestine. They distinguished themselves by their strong monotheism and the strict observance of the Law and tradition. During World War 2 the Jewish people were ruthlessly persecuted and annihilated by the German Nazis. . An estimated 6,000,000 Jews were exterminated.
national socialism
A political ideology drawn up by Hitler based on the superiority of the German race, the leader principle and fierce nationalism that was fed by the hard Peace of Versailles. National socialism was anti-democratic and racist. The doctrine was elaborated in Mein Kampf and organised in the NSDAP. From 1933 to 1945 National socialism was the basis of totalitarian Germany.
Abbreviation of a national socialist.
National Socialist Movement. Dutch political party sympathising with the Nazis.
Organisation of Former SS-members. Secret organization of and for former SS-members. Organised new identities and housing abroad after the war.
Political ideology aiming at slight or no class differences. Means of production are owned by the state. Evolved as a response to capitalism. Karl Marx tried to substantiate socialism scientific.


Archive photo, presumably from 1958, of the Dutch war criminal Jan Olij. Source: ANP Fotoarchief.


Translated by:
Peter ter Haar
Article by:
Jochem Botman
Published on:
Last edit on:
Send it!


- Arnhemse Courant, 09 - 12 - 1988, Cees Olij is eveneens in Argentinië.
- Algemeen Dagblad, 06 - 05 - 1989, Argentinië wil Olij toch uitleveren.
- Het Parool, 20 - 08 - 1954, Sam Olij II.
- Het Parool, 03 - 12 - 1988, Jan Olij gaf zelf schuilplaats vrij.
- Het Parool, 15 - 12 - 1988, Advocaten Olij denken vanuit smerige oorlog.
- Het Parool, 16 - 02 - 1989, Gebroken man met spijt.

- Nieuwsblad van het Noorden, 27 - 02 - 1992, Oorlogsmisdadiger Olij wil rustig ademhalen.

- Nieuwe Revu, (februari 1989), Wachten op uitlevering, door Anton Foek, 16 - 23.
- Het Vrije Volk, 03 - 10 - 1947, Sam Olij "ik was maar een grote nul".
- De Waarheid, 03 - 10 - 1947, Ook Olij "wist van niets".
-, 16 - 06 - 2009, Nedernazi's al jaren dood.