Radio Netherlands Worldwide

SSO Login

More login possibilities:

Close
  • Facebook
  • Flickr
  • Twitter
  • Google
  • LinkedIn
Home
Friday 29 August  
Robert Chesal's picture
Map
Roermond, Netherlands
Roermond, Netherlands

Multiple deaths at boys’ home were no accident

Published on : 28 June 2012 - 3:32pm | By Robert Chesal (Photo: Dimitri C)
More about:

A Roman Catholic brother administered a deadly overdose of medication to 37 severely handicapped boys at a home for the disabled in the Netherlands 60 years ago, the Dutch public prosecution office has confirmed. On the heels of a castration scandal in the church this spring, a deeply macabre cold case has been solved.

Murder, manslaughter or involuntary manslaughter. Thirty-seven counts. Those are the charges that would have been brought against Brother Andreas if he were still alive and if the statue of limitations had not expired.

The public prosecutor in the Dutch city of Roermond reports that Andreas, who belonged to a congregation called the Brothers of the Holy Joseph, put the permanently bedridden boys to death one by one, shortly after they arrived at the home between 1952 and 1954.

No regrets
The public prosecutor's report, released this morning finally clarifies a sharp spike in deaths during that period at the Saint Joseph's home in the tiny southern hamlet of Heel.

Brother Andreas himself wrote in his memoirs that he had acted with the permission of his brother superior at Saint Joseph's, and in his writings he never expressed any regrets, according to the prosecutor's report.

If the staff medical doctor at the facility in Heel were alive today, he would be charged with forgery for issuing 37 death certificates falsely indicating death by natural causes.

The "Injection Brother"
The report details the worst crimes within Dutch Roman Catholic institutions since the sexual abuse scandal erupted in 2010. It does not specify the actual cause of death of the 37 youngsters, but calls it probable that the boys died of an overdose of medication, either morphine or Phenobarbital.

The statue of limitations for the criminal acts described in the report expired in 1972. The main "suspects" in the case are dead. Brother Andreas, who was known at Saint Joseph's as the "injection brother," died in 1997 and lies buried in Westvleteren, Belgium.

The Dutch public prosecution reports that several other brothers at Saint Joseph's were aware of what Andreas was doing. In 1954, at the very moment that the labor inspectorate was to begin an investigation into abuse allegations, Andreas was moved to another facility.

"Death room"
The spike in deaths in Heel came to light last year when the Deetman Commission, which was investigating sexual abuse in the Roman Catholic Church, found suspicious evidence in the archives of the diocese of Roermond. The commission turned over the case to the public prosecutor’s office.

Amid a public outcry, the prosecutor launched a fact-finding inquiry last May, putting six investigators on the case. It was announced at that time that no criminal prosecutions would be possible.

As the story gripped the country, Nico van Hout, former head nurse at St Joseph's, told investigators from the prosecution office about a conversation he had when he was hired in 1969. An elderly nurse, a monk named Augustinus, took him by the arm to the infirmary and showed him the coffin storage rooms and the "death room."

False death certificates
Augustinus claimed his predecessor had personally killed 20 of the boys "to put them out of their suffering," Van Hout said.

Nico van Hout told the prosecutors he then went to the staff medical doctor at St Joseph's and confronted him with the story. The doctor told him the situation had been "a real headache." When Van Hout asked him what he meant, he said that "you could write 'heart failure' on a few of the death certificates, but you couldn't keep on filling in the same cause of death."

Aside from the deaths by overdose, the prosecution office's report also cited documentation of rampant physical and sexual abuse by the brothers at Saint Joseph's. Less severely disabled boys were slammed against walls, choked, and hit in the face with a ring of keys. At night they were put to work in a makeshift factory in the cellar where they produced light bulbs for Philips.

Widespread cover-up
The Dutch authorities at different levels were aware of the deaths, exploitation of children and other abuses as early as 1954, but none reported them to the police or prosecution service. The prosecutor's report says the facts were covered up by successive directors and management of the Saint Joseph's home, superiors of the Brothers of the Holy Joseph, the state labour and public health inspectors, and the state child protection authority.

The diocese of Roermond, responsible for the village of Heel, was also aware of the deaths and helped to cover them up, even though it was aware of the likelihood of foul play, the public prosecutor's report says. Even by the standards of that day, the prosecution service adds, it was "unacceptable" that the diocese took no further action.

Government cover-up
The labour inspectorate informed the diocese it would not report the deaths to higher authorities "so as not to harm the Catholic cause." Correspondence cited by the prosecution also indicates that the Secretary General of the child protection authority offered to ensure that the justice ministry "would not raise a stink" about the severe physical punishments meted out at Saint Joseph's.

The cover-up even extended to the Dutch government in The Hague. A high-ranking Catholic official at the justice ministry was informed in 1954 of the punishments and child labour taking place at the home. He wrote to the bishop of Roermond that if "a good solution" were found, "the minister would be willing to refrain from taking steps against Saint Joseph's."

The prosecution service informed all of the victims' next of kin of its findings prior to releasing today's report.

Discussion

MIKE MAUNDER 8 July 2014 - 9:46pm / GREAT BRITTAIN

ALTHOUGH HE IS SAFE IN THE COMPANY OF THE LORD JESUS, I FEEL VERY SORRY FOR SAINT PETER. HE DID NOT KNOW THAT HIS SHOES, (OF THE FISHERMAN), WOULD BE CLAIMED BY SUCH SELF-SEEKING POLITICALS, AS THOSE IN THE LIST OF POPES, (WITH JUST A FEW EXCEPTIONS). - HE WOULD ALSO BE VERY BLUNT ABOUT THE SINS OF THIS CHURCH, AND FROM WHAT I CAN DEDUCE OF PETER'S CHARACTER HE WOULD WISH TO CORRECT THIS HIMSELF, IN SHORT MEASURE.

MIKE MAUNDER 8 July 2014 - 9:20pm / GREAT BRITTAIN

I WAS FIRST INTERESTED IN FINDING OUT ABOUT THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH, AFTER I MET, AND PROPOSED TO AN IRISH CATHOLIC LASS. AS I FOUND OUT MORE, AND ATTENDED THREE INTERVIEWS, ARRANGED BY MY MOTHER-IN-LAW TO BE, WITH PRIESTS AND A MONK OF THAT CHURCH, I BECAME MORE CERTAIN THAT THE R.C.CHURCH WAS A CORRUPTION OF CHRISTIAN TEACHING. HENCE WE MARRIED IN MY GOSPEL CENTERED CHURCH, WHERE MY WIFE BECAME GLORIOUSLY ACTIVE.
SINCE THEN, MY WIFE HAS DIED, AS A SIMPLE BORN AGAIN CHRISTIAN, AND GAVE ME A SON AND DAUGHTER. - (A MARRIAGE 'BORN IN HEAVEN'). THANKS BE TO GOD !
NOW ON TOP OF THE PROBLEMS THAT THIS CHURCH HAS WITH THE HOLY BIBLE, THE COVERS HAVE BEEN REMOVED, AND I SEE THE DISGUSTING SIDE OF THE R.C.CHURCH IN SOUTH AMERICA, IRELAND AND ALSO IN HOLLAND. - NO DOUBT ELSEWHERE TOO.
DOES ANYONE ELSE THINK IT TIME FOR A FULL LEGAL EXAMINATION INTO THIS ORGANISATION, GLOBALY ? - (STRIPPED OF POLITICAL ASSISTANCE).
OUR ETERNAL GOD WILL DEAL WITH THOSE WHO HAVE PASSED AWAY, IN THE JUDGEMENT, - BUT I DO THINK THAT THE REST OF THE CHRISTIAN WORLD SHOULD BRING THIS DISGUSTING CHURCH TO MORTAL JUDGEMENT, DON'T YOU ?

Anonymous 13 April 2013 - 12:30am / United States

Jeannine, you are exactly right. Hitler was funded to create Genocide also. The same people that funded Genocide were over the Church and State and the schools where between 50-100,000 children died.

Bruce 30 March 2013 - 5:09pm / Australia

I too recently read the Jan Hayden can definitely write, warm intelligent humorous and sensual Ebook 'Bleeding Boarderlines'. As an Aussie doing what we seem to do a fair bit of downunder, look to Europe for ideas comparisons and perspective in social democracy, I found Hayden's book offer insight into underpinning energies and aspirations in a cultural mix at the front lines of human evolution and what it means to be human. A ripper. We are letting go of myth and fantasy in our relationship with life and becoming reality centered. More beauty that can only come from truth please. Bruce

Joe Hill 3 February 2013 - 10:09pm / UK

Just read an ebook on Amazon which fictionalises these events, Bleeding Borderlines by Jan Harden. Whats shocking about the book is how it links the tragedy at Heel with both the wartime collaborate and the abuse of children in other countries

Violette 17 September 2012 - 11:57am / Germany

Oh my goodness! Impressiνe article dude!
Thanκs, Нoωeveг I am experienсing troublеs
with уour RSS. I dοn't know why I cannot subscribe to it. Is there anybody having identical RSS problems? Anybody who knows the answer can you kindly respond? Thanx!!

Take a look at my page: http://www.caraudioguy.com

JuneAnnette 29 June 2012 - 6:32pm / USA

MORE on The Vatican's Holocaust / The sensational account of the most horrifying religious massacre of the 20th century / By Avro Manhattan (1914-1990) / Link: http://www.reformation.org/holocaus.html

The Vatican's Holocaust - Revealed at Last!
A sensational account of the most horrifying religious massacre of the 20th century. Startling revelations of forced conversions, mass murder of non-Catholics, Catholic extermination camps, disclosures of Catholic clergy as commanders of concentration camps; documented with names, dates, places, pictures and eyewitness testimony.

About the Author:
Avro Manhattan was the world's foremost authority on Roman Catholicism in politics. A resident of London, during WW II he operated a radio station called "Radio Freedom" broadcasting to occupied Europe. He was the author of over 20 books including the best-seller The Vatican in World Politics, twice Book-of-the-Month and going through 57 editions. He was a Great Briton who risked his life daily to expose some of the darkest secrets of the Papacy. His books were #1 on the Forbidden Index for the past 50 years!!

JuneAnnette 29 June 2012 - 5:49pm / USA

The murderous campaigns of the Roman Catholic “church” presided over by the pope and carried out by her operatives . . her priests . . her bishops . . her cardinals . . throughout the centuries of her existence bear witness against her and militate against her arrogant and outrageous claim to be the One True Church of Jesus Christ. As Christ said . . “Ye shall know them by their fruits.” (Matt. 7:16)

The Inquisition - Forced Conversions & Murder - Article: THE INQUISITION:
A Study in Absolute Catholic Power by Arthur Maricle, Ph.D.
Link: http://www.mtc.org/inquis.html

The Croatian Massacre – Forced Conversions & Murder - The sensational account of the most horrifying religious massacre of the 20th century By Avro Manhattan - Link: http://www.reformation.org/hol...

The Vatican Role in the Ustasha Genocide in the Independent State of Croatia
Link: http://serbianna.com/analysis/archives/1182

“Thou shalt not kill and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment.” Matt. 5:21 / "Do no violence to no man." Luke 3:14

Christ indicts them for the works of the devil they are . . “Ye are of your father the devil and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning . . . he is a liar, and the father of it.” (John 8:44)

Roman Catholicism is not CHRIST's CHURCH!

JuneAnnette 29 June 2012 - 3:54pm / USA

Those who have brought the name and cause of Christ into such disrepute must now endure the universal contempt, scorn, derision and disdain being meted out to them by the worldwide community and reserved for those who commit the abominable act / crime of child abuse. What a mockery Roman Catholicism has made of the religion of Christ. How fitting then that the Roman Catholic “church” that has so greatly dishonoured the name and cause of Jesus Christ and brought His religion into such disrepute is now being exposed and shamed in such a public way for the reproach they have laid upon Christ!
That is the real SCANDAL! "Be not deceived; God is not mocked:" (Galatians 6:7)
ROMAN CATHOLICISM is not CHRIST's CHURCH!

JuneAnnette, a witness for Christ . . a former Roman Catholic (by tradition) . . made a Christian by God's grace

"But by the grace of God, I am what I am." (1 Cor.15:10)

JuneAnnette 29 June 2012 - 3:51pm / USA

Once more we have been given a glimpse inside this diabolical organization, which blasphemously misrepresents itself as Christ's church. We owe the media a huge debt of gratitude for uncovering their devilish works of the recent past, and for the accurate, comprehensive, and in-depth coverage they continue to give of the SCANDALS unfolding in real time within the unhallowed halls of the Roman Catholic “church”. Their invaluable coverage allows both Catholic and non-Catholic alike a basis on which to form an informed opinion as to the viability, legitimacy and credibility of the Roman Catholic “church as a religious institution, which increasingly bears more of a resemblance to organized crime.
The world community now knows there's nothing HOLY about the Roman Catholic “church.” This is one more nail in the coffin of this SCANDAL-laden organization before finally consigning her to the graveyard of ignominy and shame, whose crimes against humanity committed under the guise of religion and beneath the cloak of piety make them all the more reprehensible. ROMAN CATHOLICISM is not CHRIST's CHURCH!

e-watchman 29 June 2012 - 2:22pm / USA

The Catholic Church has been killing people for centuries. Why be shocked and surprised? At least they humanly killed these boys. Back during the Inquisitions Catholic priests skinned people alive if they were caught reading the Bible.

jasmin 29 June 2012 - 1:25pm

what a sad story--protectors become killers..

JeannieGuzman 29 June 2012 - 12:49am / USA

It sounds as if members of the Dutch government and Legal System paid as much deference to the Catholic Church as did the Irish, the former "Jewel in the Papal Crown." When I read about heinous crimes of the Church, like stealing 300,000 children in Spain or stories like the above, I am often reminded of the Whore of Babylon in the Book of Revelation of St. John the Divine. Revelation 18:7: "To the degree that she glorified herself and reveled in her wantonness [living deliciously and luxuriously], to that measure impose on her torment and anguish and tears and mourning. Since in her heart she boasts, I am not a widow; as a queen [on a throne] I sit, and I shall never see suffering or experience sorrow—" Well, it's about time that "The Queen," be knocked off of Her Throne and given a taste of World Justice!

Heil Mary 29 June 2012 - 12:24am

We need a global birth strike by all women now to end RCC abuse and murder of forced birth kids. The RCC opposes birth control so it will have more victims to abuse. Abortion is much more merciful. I'm a disfigured survivor of a childbirth-ruined Munchausen by Proxy lunatic Catholic mother who burned all my skin as her permanent marital abstinence excuse. I wish she had aborted me instead.

Anonymous 28 June 2012 - 11:08pm / NL

is the Church the only part that should be blamed? The text says: The Dutch authorities at different levels were aware of the deaths, exploitation of children and other abuses as early as 1954, but none reported them to the police or prosecution service. The prosecutor's report says the facts were covered up by successive directors and management of the Saint Joseph's home, superiors of the Brothers of the Holy Joseph, the state labour and public health inspectors, and the state child protection authority.

Anonymous 28 June 2012 - 11:05pm / usa

There are surviving relatives of men who are now dead who were abused by priests and bishops and cardinals etc all over the world including here in Hawaii.. their relatives who have all suffered from the ripple effect (along with states and cities and countries) should all be given restitution from the roman catholic church and other institutions that have systematicall abused millions of people?

Anonymous 28 June 2012 - 11:07pm / usa

and of course millions of females have been abused by the same but that often appears to be an accepted part of the church culture.

JeannieGuzman 28 June 2012 - 10:42pm / USA

This story is so unconscionable, from any perspective that I'm almost speechless. It is something one would have expected out of the Nazis in WWII! That it could happen in a Catholic Orphanage is all the more troublesome, but fortunately for the Church, those involved in the deaths, as well as their supervisors, are probably long dead! I really hope that all surviving relatives are going to seek justice for those physically, mentally and spiritually abuse, particularly those who lost their lives in the senseless authoritarian policies of the Church. I'm sure the Church never thought these crimes accusations would come to light. She must be sent a message in the most serious of terms, possible! I am praying that the fury of God Almighty will rain down on Her! SOON!

Anonymous 28 June 2012 - 8:22pm / USA

May God grant strength,peace & comfort to the surviving relatives of all those poor children!!
To have this sorrow opened up again after all these years, but now with some answers at last!!

Post new comment

Please be reminded all comments must be in English, short and to the point - guideline 250 words. Abusive and inappropriate comments will be removed.

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <p> <br>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.

More information about formatting options

RNW on Facebook

RNW Player

Video highlights

Ladies on the move
RNW is keen on featuring inspiring women in our target countries, women who...
What about men?
In many countries, men don't stick around to raise their children. This is...