Partner Chris Dekker

Queer Places:
Kerkedijk 3, 1862 BD Bergen, Netherlands
Herengracht 401, 1017 BP Amsterdam, Netherlands

Vincent Weyand (October 31, 1921 - February 22, 1945), son of a painter, and Chris Dekker were a young couple from Bergen. In an article in April 2004 about the start of Castrum Peregrini Gert Hekma wrote: “At the Herengracht in Amsterdam, at the corner of the Beulingstraat and across from the Leidsegracht, there is a world-famous house, dubbed by Mattias Duyves 'The gay version of the Anne Frank house’. ... Most of the residents were gay but they never called themselves that way”. The German poet and writer Wolfgang Frommel lived there, probably from mid 1942 on, together with friends, some of them Jews who were in hiding during the occupation. The invitation came from Gisèle van Waterschoot van der Gracht, an artist from the coastal village of Bergen who had studied in Roermond with glass artist Joep Nicolas, and who had a long time relationship with him. The poet Adriaan Roland Holst called her 'the girl with the wettest name in The Netherlands' (Waterschoot stands for drainage-canal and Van der Gracht for canal).

Manuel Goldschmidt and Peter Goldschmidt, 'half-Jews' according to Nazi laws, were also student from Eerde. They belonged to the Frommel circle. Their non-Jewish mother arranged safe papers. Their non-Jewish appearance made it possible for them to leave Ommen without going into hiding. Manuel lived in a boarding house on the Amsterdam Singel and was a regular visitor to Herengracht 401. So was his brother Peter. Other friends and frequent visitors included Reinout van Rossum du Chattel and, from Bergen, Chris Dekker and Vincent Weyand. When the author Percy Gothein, the former apple of the eye of Stefan George, who served Wolfgang Frommel as master and lover, visited them in November 1943, a special picture of the men from the Frommel circle was taken in the kitchen of Miep Theunissen and Guido Theunissen. The picture actually shows a sect-leader, Wolfgang Frommel, and his master Gothein, surrounded by disciples. In 1944 Gothein returned for a longer period of time. Because of the culture of silence created by Frommel, Reinout could only write in 1996 that Percy Gothein 'suddenly found himself in a boy's brothel'.

Vincent Weijand, son of painter Jacob "Jaap" Gerrit Weyand and the Jewish Betsy Polak, grew up in Bergen. At the age of 18 he met the charismatic Wolfgang Frommel who had fled from Germany and settled in Bergen. Frommel was an adept of the poet Stephan George, in which the pedagogical eros, the raising of boys by older gentlemen, was central. Vincent developed from that moment on as a poet and translator, especially of the work of Stephan George. During the 2nd World War Vincent lived in Amsterdam for a while and then, because of the danger of being arrested for the Arbeitseinsatz, left for Landgoed De Esch near Ommen to be able to devote himself in peace to writing and translating. There he was betrayed, arrested and detained in the infamous Erika camp in Ommen. He was accused of evading the Arbeitseinsatz, but possibly also of homosexuality. From Erika he was transferred to the Koepelgevangenis in Arnhem where he shared a cell with Ad Lysen for a few days. After a few weeks he was transferred to camp Amersfoort. There it was discovered that he was half-Jewish. That meant deportation to transit camp Westerbork. From Westerbork he was transferred to concentration camp Bergen-Belsen. In mid-December 1944 he was put on a train to camp Buchenwald, where he died of typhus on 21 February 1945 at the age of 23.

Vincent Weijand
Vincent Weyand

Back row (left to right): Vincent Weyand, Peter Goldschmidt
Back row (left to right): Vincent Weyand, Peter Goldschmidt Middle row: Reinout van Rossum du Chattel, Manuel Goldschmidt, Chris Dekker Front row: Friedrich W. Buri, Wolfgang Frommel, Percy Gothein, Guido Teunissen (Source: and Peter Elzinga)

Francesca Rheannon, daughter of Guido Teunissen, describes how Claus Bock and Manuel with Friedrich W. Buri, as Germans, belonged to the inner circle around the charismatic leader Frommel. In the second circle the young Dutchman Vincent Weyand (or Weijand) was the primus inter pares - Frommels favourite. But he did not live at the Herengracht. He lived in Bergen and later in a room on the Singel. He was a son of the painter Jaap Weyand and his Jewish wife, and therefore half-Jew according to the Nazis. Gisèle was the 'mother' of the circle, also as an artist. She was indispensible because of the help and resources she provided. She was also the one who provided the hiding places.

After 20 June 1944, Gothein fled to Castle Eerde in Ommen, where Vincent Weyand and Simon van Keulen were also staying in order to evade forced labour. Gothein knew Simon from a street encounter. They lived in villa De Esch. The 9 remaining Jewish students of the Quakers school in April 1943 had been transported to camp Vught in April 1943. Maybe Vincent and Gothein thought that De Esch would be safe after the raid. Francesca Rheannon suspects that Gothein was reported by someone in Ommen. 'The police came to the house where he was with Simon to ask him to come into police headquarters the following day. They found him in bed with Simon, and somehow the news got to the Gestapo'. Simon later claimed that 'he and Percy were in bed together only because there was no other bed around'. But Gothein had been arrested in Germany 2 or 3 times under the infamous anti-gay paragraph 175, and he made no secret of his sexual orientation - possibly one reason why the poet Stefan George rejected him in the 1920's'. George was very secretive about his own gay feelings.

From Castle Eerde Gothein and Van Keulen were transported to the cruel Erika camp, a penal camp in Ommen, manned by mostly Dutch personnel. Four days later, on July 27, Weyand was arrested as well and brought to Erika in the car of camp commander Werner Schwier. Rheannon was told by a Vincent's brother Olaf Weyand that the Dutch guards accused the young men of being gay and beat them up. Gays were often beaten up in the camps, by the guards, their fellow prisoners, or both. Gothein had been separated from Simon immediately upon entering Erika. Simon reported seeing him a few days later from a window and that he had looked very 'bad'.

When the news of the arrest of Percy, Simon and Vincent and their transport to the infamous camp in Ommen reached the Herengracht, precautions were taken. Maybe, under torture, information about the circle around Frommel and Gisèle would come out. Buri and Bock went in hiding elsewhere. The fear turned out to be unfounded and the two returned in September.

During that time they found out, Simon van Keulen was in camp Amersfoort. Gisèle, after waiting a morning at the Sicherheitsdienst, managed to get a permission to visit him. The permit was signed by the chief, Willy Lages. On 12 September she went to the camp by tandem bicycle with Guido Teunissen. She introduced herself as a the friend of Lages, bribed the guards with cognac and cigarettes, made use of the fact that the brute Kotälla was drunk, and had a 5-minute conversation with Simon. She could tell the badly beaten young man that the hiding at the Herengracht still was functioning and that nobody had talked. On 19 October Simon jumped from the train which would have transported him to Germany, and appeared at the Herengracht 'like a ghost'.

Percy Gothein was transported to Sachsenhausen and from there to the Neuengamme camp where he died on December 22, 1944. During that time Willem Niemeijer stayed there as well. On August 18 Vincent Weyand was brought to the Amersfoort camp and from there, ten days later, to the Dutch deportation camp for Jews, Westerbork. On September 4 the last train to Auschwitz departed. But Vincent was on the train that left the camp on September 13 to the, relatively mild, Bergen-Belsen camp. The train also transported 77 children from the Westerbork orphanage, a group of diamond workers, and a group of 44 Turkish Jews. Vincent Weyand, who had been arrested as a political prisoner, was deported again. He died on February 21, 1945 in Buchenwald.

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