Gay History Month – Willem Arondeus by Owen Keehnen

arondeus 3I have so many LGBT heroes. The LGBT Book of Days and the LGBT history/education organization I am involved in, The Legacy Project, are full of them. However, someone who always strikes a chord with me is Dutch artist and resistance fighter Willem Arondeus (Wiki and Elisa-Rolle).

Here is this guy who had originally dreamed of being a painter; that didn’t work out. Then he turned to writing and that career wasn’t going so superbly, though he did publish. However, Willem knew he had a contribution to make. During WWII Arondeus joined the Dutch Resistance against the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands. Compelled to make a difference, Arondeus and two gay cronies led a raid which resulted in the destruction of the Citizen Registration Building in Amsterdam. After the incident Arondeus was captured and put before a firing squad on July 1, 1943. However, before he was executed he asked his lawyer to make his homosexuality public so that, “The people would know that gays are no cowards!”

This somewhat ordinary life made his act of heroism and courage seem especially extraordinary. And his simple, final statement of power has always moved me.



1 Comment

  1. simon o'corra


    I am writing a play about Willem and am seeking as much information about his family and gay life as possible



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