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Jan van Hoof
Born Jan Jozef Lambert van Hoof
7 August 1922
Nijmegen, the Netherlands
Died 19 September 1944
Nijmegen, the Netherlands
Cause of death executed by German military
Resting place Algemene begraafplaats Vredehof, Nijmegen
Nationality Dutch
Education Catholic University of Nijmegen
Occupation Student
Known for Operation Market Garden

Jan Jozef Lambert van Hoof (Nijmegen, 7 August 1922 - Nijmegen, 19 September 1944) was a member of the Dutch resistance in World War II, where he cooperated with Allied Forces during Operation Market Garden, and was executed in action. Before and during the war, Van Hoof was a Rover Scout, and to his honour the honorary medal of the Nationale Padvindersraad was named after him.


Story of Jan van Hoof

Logo Katholieke Verkenners

Before the war he was a Boy Scout with the Katholieke Verkenners (Catholic Scouts). But during World War II Scouting was forbidden in most occupied countries. All the Scouting organization would be integrated in the Nationale Jeugdstorm (NJS) the Dutch version of the Hitler Youth. But the Dutch Scouting organisations did not agree with the terms of the NJS and went underground and some even into resistance.

So did Jan van Hoof. Shortly after the start of the occupation of the Netherlands by the Nazis, he became member of a Rover crew and in the spring of 1943 he was secretly installed as full Rover Scout. During the occupation he made observations and drawings of his environment, especially the Waal Bridges. With the coming of the Allies during Operation Market Garden in September 1944 he used his expertise by guiding the Allies through the city of Nijmegen.[1]

It was said that he disarmed the explosives that were attached to the Waal Bridge during the fighting, though no-one saw him do it. After this heroic deed he went home and told his sister 'the bridge is saved'; then he returned to the American unit and resumed guiding them through the city.

Enquiries after the war could not positively identify Van Hoof as the individual who cut the wires to the bridge, however circumstancial evidence backs up the claim and when the Germans eventually tried to blow the bridge, just before its capture, their attempts failed.

In these days Dutch resistance members wore distinguished clothing so they could be recognised as soldiers. The Germans however saw this as a provocation and didn't see them as soldiers but as traitors.

On the 19th of September van Hoof was riding on the top of a Guards Armoured Division British Humber Scout Car, guiding the vehicle from the allied column at the central post office to the American soldiers and Guards Armoured tanks attacking the railway bridge, when Germans opened fire with a 2 cm gun on the vehicle, which caught fire. The British soldiers were already dead when the German troops arrived, but van Hoof was still alive. They took his gun, identity papers and his armband which made him officially an allied soldier. He was beaten and then shot through the head.


Jan van Hoof Cross medal

Because of his deeds he was posthumously awarded:

After the war the Honor Medal for bravery of the Nationale Padvindersraad, the Dutch Boy Scouts umbrella organisation before 1973, was renamed to Jan van Hoof-kruis in his remembrance.[2]

Monuments dedicated to Jan van Hoof

Former grave Jan van Hoof at the Roman Catholic burial site on the Daalseweg, Nijmegen

These monuments and graves are dedicated to Jan van Hoof.

(All Dutch)

See also


External links



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