Anda Kerkhoven - A Groningen resistance fighter
From 1 July 2013, the Groninger Museum will display three portraits of the Groningen resistance fighter Anda Kerkhoven. Anda Kerkhoven (1919- 1945) grew up in Indonesia as the daughter of a wealthy tea plantation owner. She was a woman of principle in many matters, as well as a convinced pacifist. The Medical School in Batavia (now Jakarta) could not accommodate her objections against vivisection. Groningen University was willing to accept conscientious objectors with regard to this principle, and Anda was able to take up student life in Groningen in 1938.
However, this life was soon plunged into disorder with the Nazi occupation of 1940. Anda Kerkhoven became active in the resistance, in the ‘De Groot’ group. She was arrested by the Sicherheitsdienst (the German secret services) on 27 December 1944. However, she withstood severe interrogation and torture in the Scholtenshuis (German headquarters in Groningen at the time) on the Grote Markt, without revealing significant information. In addition, with her steadfastness she managed to encourage and console her fellow prisoners. In the night of 19 March 1945, along with resistance fighter Gerrit J. Boekhoven, she was executed and buried by two NSB officers near the Oosterbroekweg on the border between Haren and Glimmen. There had been no trial.
Their grave was discovered after liberation. To great public attention, Anda Kerkhoven was reburied in the Noorderbegraafplaats, and her remains were finally transferred to the Loenen fields of honour near Apeldoorn in 1967.
Anda Kerkhoven was interested in art, had a creative nature, and posed for artists, including Ploeg painter Johan Dijkstra, on several occasions. Unwittingly, these portraits form a monument to this remarkable, brave and gifted woman.