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After a brief spell on remand in Dortmund and Krefeld, Berens was sent to a prison at Duisberg where he served his time. The first few days were spent in solitary confinement being beaten and at one point the sadistic guards forced me to lick food from the floor of my cell. Although the prison was badly damaged several times by the RAF, for me the single worst moment came when two Dutch sailors were brought in after they had escaped from a prison in Holland. The following day all the inmates were paraded in front of a gallows and forced to watch as the sailors were executed.

I never did find out what was in Dirk’s note but received a letter a couple of days later stating that I was now exempt. The first organized strikes — orchestrated by communists – occurred on February 17, 1941, when the authorities in Amsterdam tried to requisition some 3,000 sheet-metal workers for work in Germany. The victory was short-lived as the SS were called in and martial law was declared. The situation worsened when the dockworkers joined the strike, as the authorities deported 400 Jewish residents.

Mr Philips kindly provided the flats (originally built by his company for single employees) as temporary accommodation for around two hundred Jewish asylum-seekers, who had previously escaped persecution in Germany. Soon after the occupation, persoonsbewijs (identity cards) were introduced, the Jewish population began to suffer and were banned from streetcars, cinemas and public parks. Sadly the asylum-seekers who remained at the Dommelhuis (now a private school called Luzac College) were deported.

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