The Dutch brothers in Shumen POW camp
On the 2 -th of April 1944 Bulgarian intelligence forces captured around Melnitza (6 km from the Turkish border) two Dutch brothers- Hubertus and Lodewijk (Louis) van der Meulen. They were not flayers, and till the liberation from Shumen camp no one really found out what was their mission in Bulgaria. Before the capture for 13 months they crossed 11 countries in Europe, starting from Holland.
Now is clear, that they were brave fighters against the Nazi occupation of Europe and the fascism.
Hubertus van der Meulen and his brother Lodewijk van der Meulen left occupied Holland in August 1943 (illegaly) in order to reach England . Via France and Italy they first tried to reach Turkey. When crossing the Italo-Croatian border near Triëst they were arrested by the Croatian Fascist police and forced to leave Croatia. Near the Croatian-Serbian border they were arrested by German police. During their detention in Serbia they succeeded to contact the Bulgarian consul. They pretended to be Serbs from the region which was confiscated by Bulgaria and asked to got permission to 'visit their family' in Bulgaria. In Bulgaria they managed to travel to Jambol (30 km from the Turkish border). They were arrested in Jambol but escaped. The next day, April 2 1944 they were again arrested and transported to Sofia. From this point on they changed their identity and told that they were Dutch officers .The German Sicherheitsdienst in Sofia requested their extradition, but the Bulgarian authorities refused and sent them to the POW camp Shumen. After the liberation from this camp they joined the group of allied POW's and traveled via Greece to Turkey. Then they left Turkey to go to Aleppo in Syria where they joined the Allied Forces.
Soon in Bulgaria will be published an article for them by Victor Laurentius and Stanimir Stanev.
Hubertus (L) and Louis van der Meulen in English uniforms after the liberation from POW camp, Cairo, September 1944
( Courtesy of Wenja van der Meulen, daughter of Louis )