web analytics
Cause of death: Execution by firing squad

Cause of death: Execution by firing squad

The topic for next month’s Graveyard Rabbits carnival is Cause of death:

This topic was submitted by Matt Hucke, who authors the blog, Graveyards of Illinois, and I think it’s going to be a great carnival. How did they die? Come on Rabbits, let’s count the ways.

Here in The Netherlands, neither the death certificate nor the gravestone inscription are likely to give you the cause of death, and in many cases it is hard or impossible to find it out. I did find two inscriptions, though, that made the cause of death very clear.

Tombstone of Gerrit Westdijk, Tolsteeg Cemetery, Utrecht

Tombstone of Gerrit Westdijk, Tolsteeg Cemetery, Utrecht

On the first photo we see the tombstone of Gerrit Westdijk, nickname “Bob”, born 19 August 1913, executed by a firing squad (gefusilleerd) on 2 December 1944. The epitaph is psalm 128:1: Blessed is every one that feareth the LORD; that walketh in his ways.

Gerrit Westdijk was executed in December 1944, during the second world war. A large part of The Netherlands was occupied by Nazi-Germany at the time. Gerrit is listed on the website of the Dutch war grave foundation, where I discovered that he was a member of the resistance movement and died in Apeldoorn. A Google search turned up this monument for Gerrit and twelve others who were executed with him.

Tombstone of Justus Johannes Pieter de Swart, Brandenburg Cemetery, Bilthoven

Tombstone of Justus Johannes Pieter de Swart, Brandenburg Cemetery, Bilthoven

The grave on the second photo belongs to Justus de Swart. The inscription reads: Hier rust onze lieve man en vader Justus J.P. de Swart geb. 15 febr. 1914 gefusilleerd te De Bilt 23 jan. 1945. Dat hij ruste in vrede. (Here rests our dear husband and father Justus J.P. de Swart born 15 February 1914 executed by firing squad in De Bilt 23 January 1945. May he rest in peace.)

Mr. de Swart is not listed on the war grave foundation site. All I could find about him was his death record on Genlias: Justus Johannes Pieter de Swart, spouse of Juliana Augusta Schaad, son of Justus Johannes Pieter de Swart and Clasina Johanna Verhoef, died on 23 January 1945 in De Bilt, aged 30.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *