Who was this Gerard Kerlen?
Started in the military, ended as a Chief of Police
Gerard Kerlen was born in 1890. Before his job as a police officer, he was a soldier in the Dutch East Indies. There he had risen to lieutenant colonel and commander of the First Garrison Battalion of Atjeh, an Indonesian province that st that time was violently occupied by the Dutch army. Kerlen quit the military in 1938, after which he returned to the Netherlands. There he became an NSB-member (the pro-nazi party in the Netherlands) in June 1940 and Chief of the Utrecht police in 1942. Together with his second wife Alida van Yperen and his young son, Kerlen lived in Utrecht on the street Willemsplantsoen, not far from the headquarters on Paardenveld. Wife Alida was also a fanatical NSB member and their son enjoyed a pro-German upbringing. Kerlen also had a daughter from a previous marriage, with whom he had no further contact. Alida had two daughters from a previous marriage, one of whom was anti-NSB and lived in Ede. Under Kerlen's leadership the number of NSB members in the Utrecht police force grew. Among other things, he was ultimately responsible for the course of the persecution of Jews in Utrecht. Officers who did not want to cooperate with the persecution of Jews were dealt with harshly by Kerlen. Most eventually cooperated anyway. Only 23 officers refused to do so, risking their lives, and subsequently forced to go into hiding.
Because of his devotion to the German occupiers, Gerard Kerlen soon found himself to be the enemy of the resistance. It was eventually Truus van Lier of the resistance group CS-6 who took him out. Kerlen's murder was widely reported in the newspapers; after all, the identity of his killer was still unknown and at large. He was also given a grand funeral, attended by prominent NSB members and Germans such as Hans Albinn Rauter (SS boss in the Netherlands) and Anton Mussert (NSB leader).