Amsterdam has long been one of our favourite cities and I would often visit while Andrew lived in Holland for six years. But it wasn't until 2019 that I stumbled upon the inspiring story of Willem Arondeus.
I was taking a morning stroll to nowhere in particular when I turned the corner into Plantage Kerklaan. There on the wall was a small, grey plaque commemorating the intrepid bomb attack that Willem led on March 27, 1943, on the city’s Public Records Office, which used to stand on the site.
His name was at the top of a list of 12 people who “fought and fell for freedom.” Although I have a keen interest in the Second World War, I had no idea who any of these individuals were.
After doing some research, I was astonished to find that they were a diverse group of artists, gay men, and students, who had stood up to be counted in the face of overwhelming evil and made the ultimate sacrifice to save others.
What’s more, they were little known, not only outside the Netherlands but also in their own country. To add insult to injury, Willem’s courage had also been downplayed for many years because of his homosexuality.
Both Andrew and I were immediately drawn to the story of this unlikely band of Resistance fighters.
This screenplay is our attempt to bring their story to life, to set the record straight and to recognise their heroism as the 80th anniversary of the attack approaches.
The plaque honouring the men, designed by Willem Sandberg