Leopold Abraham Ries ( Groningen , April 15, 1893 - New York , July 10, 1962 ) was a Dutch treasurer general .
Ries, a lawyer, was a child of a wealthy Jewish textile trader from Groningen. He studied law from 1913-1917 at the University of Groningen . During his studies, he became intimate friends with Eelco van Kleffens , later Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Harro Bouman, later a lawyer. Ries was homosexual ; still at university he contacted Jacob Schorer , the founder of the Dutch branch of the Wissenschaftlich-humanitäre Komitee of Magnus Hirschfeld , the first Dutch organization to deal with homosexuality.
After his studies, Ries went to live in The Hague , where he started working at the Ministry of Finance . He was knighted for his merits at just 28 years old . In 1927 he became acting Treasurer General; eight years later he was appointed treasurer general. In these years he was frequently involved in negotiations with the German government on financial and economic affairs.
On May 25, 1936 , a day after returning from Berlin, when he had just reported to Prime Minister Colijn , Ries was arrested. A 17-year-old boy, Henk Vermeulen, had told police that he had sex with Ries for money. Although this boy was known as a pathological liar, all of his statements were held true, neglecting any denial of Ries. His house was searched and his personal correspondence confiscated. The Ries case, as it was soon called, caused considerable publicity. Also eight other men were arrested according to the statements of the seventeen-year-old. According to newspaper suggestions, many more arrests would follow. However, that did not happen, and Ries was released after a few days. Of the eight others, only two received a suspended sentence; the others were acquitted. However, all those involved were fired by their employers. One of them, destroyed by the publicity, comitted sucide.
Ries was defended by his childhood friend, the lawyer Harro Bouman, but also the Member of Parliament A. van der Heide (1872-1953) stood up for him. Justice Minister J. van Schaik and his colleague from Finance P.J. Oud were sharply questioned in the House of Representatives about the affair, especially when examining the budget of both departments. Bouman also wrote a brochure in 1936 in which the whole matter was explained. Was Ries rightly fired? At the decisive session of the House on budgetary treatment on November 24, 1936, a night report from 1923 was produced which would have shown that Ries was then considering to have sex with a soldier who volunteered to do so; it had not come to any act. He also appeared to have been present at a gay party in 1932, where no fornication had been committed either. Despite this, the budget was adopted and with that Ries' dismissal was final.
The Ries case was one of the most striking pre-war examples of discrimination against homosexuals. Although the Treasury General could not be held responsible for any criminal offense, he was fired for his homosexual disposition despite his excellent track record.
Ries left the Netherlands in 1937. He first settled in France, later with his widowed mother in Portugal. There he met Eelco van Kleffens, who in 1941 offered him a job with the Free Dutch Broadcaster in the United States . He then became editor of the Knickerbocker Weekly , a weekly magazine promoting Dutch interests in the United States. After 1947 he worked for the international trading company Müller & Co.
In New York he had a lot of contact with a number of Dutch people living there, including Jan Greshoff , Adriaan van der Veen and Arnold Tammes , as well as with the Flemish Marnix Gijsen . He also met the gay son of the extremely wealthy Dutch director of Müller & Co., the poet Hans Lodeizen . After Lodeizen's early death in 1950, Ries prepared his poems for publication, which resulted in the greatly expanded version of Lodeizen's debut The Inner Wallpaper, published in 1952 . Ries no longer left the United States and died in New York in 1962.
Half a century after his death, the candid, sardonic correspondence (1923-1962) between Ries and his lawyer Bouman was published by the son of the latter, Hessel Bouman (1933-2018). These deal with Dutch and American politics, literature, World War II and the persecution of the Jews.
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