THE NETHERLANDS: Dutch Vengeance

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A Dutch voice from London spoke to Dutchmen doing labor for the Nazis in Belgium, France and The Netherlands: "Commit acts of sabotage whenever a chance arises . . . damage highways, railroads, waterways. . . . Your chance is here to do your part in the liberation of your country. . . ."

At home, Dutchmen were already busy. The rifles of German firing squads cracked more & more often. In the forested Achterhoek area of Gelderland Province alone, 27 patriots (carpenters, blacksmiths, actors, police sergeants, civil servants) were executed during D-week. Total executions since 1940 were reckoned at 20,000, but the Dutch underground remained strong.

State of Siege. In the future of The Netherlands, the underground expects to play a powerful part, and exiled Queen Wilhelmina has already recognized its strength. When she and her Prime Minister, gnomish, pink-&-white Dr. Pieter S. Gerbrandy, return to Holland, they will carry a three-stage plan: 1) underground leaders will be given places in the Government immediately; 2) the country will be kept in a state of siege until the Germans and their Dutch collaborators are purged, the war with Japan finished; 3) when conditions permit, in the Queen's and Cabinet's view, the people will vote for the kind of government they prefer.

The Queen's Government has legitimate reasons for the interim state of siege; The Netherlands' war will not be over until the Dutch have recovered their Pacific empire. But the plan to postpone popular elections is one of several indications that the exiled Government is none too sure of its reception at home. Many Dutchmen expect a demand for widespread governmental reform; few expect any strong demand that the Queen give up her throne. But the possibility exists, and 63-year-old Queen Wilhelmina is canny enough to meet it before it becomes serious.

Much as they want restoration of their looted land, Dutchmen want revenge even more. In this, the exiled Government met the underground voice more than halfway. Until the Germans came, no person in The Netherlands had been executed for any crime since 1870, when capital punishment was outlawed. But the Dutch law for Dutch murderers was too lenient for Dutch collaborators. The London Government rewrote the criminal code, restored the death penalty, prepared to execute Dutch quislings and their Nazi masters.