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The other day I read an article in the interesting Historiek newsletter. Unless you read Dutch, don't bother to look it up. The newsletter is about a wide variety of historical subjects, both Dutch and from abroad. The article in question is about Prinjesdag 1932. Prinsjesdag, literally translated means 'the day of the little princes'. It is celebrated on the third Tuesday in September and marks the new parliamentary year. The event takes place in The Hague. In an address to the Parliament, the reigning monarch outlines the policy of the government for the year to come.
Before the Second World War, many social movements tried to promote their ideals by organizing demonstrations, whether or not approved by the authorities. The movements ranged from socialist and communist on the left to fascist on the right.
On that particular Prinsjesdag, on September 20, after the ending of a nearby communist rally, a group of people tried to enter the Binnenhof where the Queen was in the process of addressing the Members of Parliament. Obviously, many police officers tried to prevent this. As a consequence of this clash, whereby the officers used sabers and rubber bats, there was a lot of unrest in the streets around the Binnenhof. A little further away, on the Heerengracht, a traffic cop was trying to give direction to motorized traffic and many pedestrians, when suddenly he was stabbed in the breast. This event was the headline in the a.m. newsletter: "Deadly fights during Prinsjesdag 1932".
The thing that triggered me was the fact that the newsletter editor wasn't certain about the victim's last name. He thought it was Baars and added that some sources said it also could be Baas. Well, I thought, if in doubt, check it! There are plenty of sources for that period. Birth certificates, population registers, papers, to name a few. And indeed, the birth certificate, checked against other sources, reveals that the name of the police officer is Baas, Hendrik Baas to be precise. If you get stabbed on the job, I think the least journalists can do is get your name right.
Three days later Hendrik dies and his wife has the following 'obit' published.