The Hit Squad

On this wall of the Blokhuispoort is hanging a graffiti portrait by the artist Roy Schreuder.

This work of art portrays the special Knokploeg (Hit Squad) of the Frisian resistance who executed a rescue attempt at the prison Blokhuispoort on the 8th of December 1944. This rescue attempt became known as De Overval (The Raid).

The Frisian resistance feared that the Germans would violently retrieve information from a number of their seized leaders. To prevent this of happening, action was demanded. A detailed plan was conceived in order to enter the jail facility Blokhuispoort, to surprise the Germans and to free 51 members of the resistance. In the raid it was needed to try not to use violence. Beside the raid itself also escape routes, safe houses and locations of assistance were arranged surrounding the jail. In short, a complicated and dangerous mission.

On 8 December 1944, early in the evening, a bunch of so-called guardians rang the bell at the entrance gate to drop off a few fake prisoners. Once inside, the Knokploeg succeeded in overpowering the German guardians and to liberate the in beforehand selected 51 prisoners. All of this without using force. Remarkably the German occupier took no retaliation in response to this rescue attempt. 

Artist Roy Schreuder based his artwork on a group photo of the Knokploeg which was taken in November 1945. The hit squad which actually performed the raid existed of 26 members of the resistance. In the group picture were missing Tjitze van ‘t Zet, alias Jaap, due to illness, Johannes Kolff, alias Jodocus, who was shot on the run by the Germans early 1945 and Taco van der Veen, alias Taco. The overall group participating in De Overval in 1944 numbered 75 persons.

The operation De Overval continues to live in the movie from 1962 by Paul Rotha , in several books, in a theatrical performance and in numerous stories told in Friesland and beyond. And now also visually in the former prison the Blokhuispoort in Leeuwarden.

The Neighborhood Association Inner-city (Wijkpanel Binnenstad) sponsored this artwork on the occasion of 2018 being the Year of Resistance, proclaimed by the Platform Remembrance WW 2 (Platform Herinnering WO 2).  In the summer of 2018 this graffiti was unveiled by Gerrit Fokkema, one of the liberated prisoners, and alderman Henk Deinum, son of one of the liberators. The photograph which was taken in 1945 together with a list with names of the members of De Knokploeg and their aliases within the resistance are hereby included.

Name                                                Resistance name

 Bottom row from left to right

Gerben Oppewal                           Gerard

Joop Willemse                               Berend

Jelle Visser                                     Jelle

Piet Oberman                                 Piet Kramer

Willem Stegenga                           Wim

Chris Hofing                                   Arie

Egbert Bultsma                              Eppie

Middle row

Gerrit Niesing                                 Chris

Jan Visser                                       Jelle

Piet Stavast                                    Cor

Piet Schuddeboom                      Piet S.

Gerard Reeskamp                         Harry

Tinus Pieters                                  Tinus

Ernst Rob                                        Ab

Hans Deinum                                 Hans

 Top row

Joffe Hoogsteen                           Theo

Alle Ytsma                                       Johan

Henk Rijpkema                              Henkie

Jan Barendsma                             John

Wim Leistra             `                      Anton

Hepke Paauw                                 Klaas

Jacob Abels                                   Frits

Siemen Cuiper                               Marten