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Gunnink, Jan

    Date of birth:
    December 30th, 1894 (Ruinerwold, the Netherlands)
    Date of death:
    September 20th, 1954 (Meppel, the Netherlands)
    Buried on:
    Dutch War Graves Meppel
    Plot: M. Grave: 395.
    Dutch (1815-present, Kingdom)


    Jan and Jentje Gunnink lie buried near the resistance monument since Jan Gunnink (Uncle Hein) was the founder and leader of the resistance movement in the South-West of Drenthe/Kop of Overijssel. He collaborated closely with the group of Johannes Post about which Anne de Vries has written a book. Usually they hardly collaborated with anyone since this carried great danger in wartime. This fact is not widely known since at the time, Jan Gunnink refused to meet Dr. L. de Jong to have his wartime experiences recorded. Jan Gunnink shunned any worshipping or admiration which might have resulted from this. The couple’s sons and daughters have all been members of the resistance. They have all been in hiding. The whole family survived the war unscathed, partly because they trusted nobody. Emotionally however, the war did leave its marks among the family. For long after the war, the family was the king pin in the commemoration of May 4th and festivities of May 5th and reunions in the town of Meppel and surrounding area. Their sons Klaas (Benno), Henk (Tom) en Gerrit (Jan Rap) have likewise never sought publicity after the war. All of them have received the Resistance Cross (Verzetskruis) partly from Prins Bernhard personally. After the war, Klaas took it upon himself to provide all anonymous helpers of the Group Meppel and surroundings with a pension from the resistance. Jan and his sons have worked for the intelligence agency to bring members of the NSB (Dutch branch of the Nazi party) to trial. There have also been court proceedings, gossip and scandals (see Wikipedia) in which the family was involved.
    A few years ago, Gerrit wrote a book with short stories of his memoires, Presently (at the age of 88) he is working on part 2. Two of his stories have been made into movies by Geert Lassche (EO producer of documentaries) in the two-part series “Nooit meer laf” (Never a coward anymore); see YouTube.

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