Seminary Beekvliet - Sint-Michielsgestel
Seminary Beekvliet was a Roman Catholic grammar school for boys, as part of the diocese of Den Bosch. The 12- to 18-year-old boys followed internal training to become priests here. After primary school, they left their parental home and started working at the luxurious estate, with a long driveway, a large garden full of exotic trees, a pond and a large courtyard.
During World War II, the seminary became one of the hostage camps, where the German occupiers imprisoned prominent men in order to control the Dutch resistance. Hundreds of politicians, professors, clergy, musicians, lawyers and writers were taken hostage.
On 4 May 1942, 460 Dutch men were rounded up and imprisoned in the Seminary Beekvliet. Two months later, the same happened to another 800 hostages held in the nearby Seminary of Haaren.
Conditions for the hostages in Beekvliet were favourable. They were allowed to move freely. Cultural activities such as lectures and philosophical reflections were organised, they could take courses and play tennis - though of course it was within the walls of the boarding school and there was little privacy.
Still, tensions arose. When, on 7 August 1942, an attack, albeit a failed one, was made on a German army train by the Rotterdam resistance, the Germans threatened to shoot as many as 50 hostages. Unless the perpetrators had come forward by 14 August.
None reported as perpetrators. On the morning of 15 August, five men were eventually picked at random and executed in retaliation for the attack.
In memory of the former hostages, a memorial stone was placed in the seminary on 14 August 1948. You can also read the story 'I opened the door myself' by Piet Sanders, later secretary-general to the Dutch prime minister.
Photo: ©BHIC Den Bosch, via VisitBrabant Routebureau
5271 SG Sint-Michielsgestel
The Seminary is now a secondary school. Visible only from the outside.