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Gerrit Kastein and CS-6

A prominent neurologist and communist, Gerrit Kastein had made his name as an anti-fascist during the 1930s, arguing against the creeping racial politics flooding into the Netherlands from neighbouring Germany. Because of his allegiance to the Communist Party, he was monitored by the Nazis and Dutch authorities.



CS-6 was a communist resistance group founded by Kastein and named after the address Corellistraat 6 in Amsterdam, where the group met. It mainly targeted Dutch collaborators in the SS and others involved and complicit in the shipment of Jews to concentration camps. By the end of the war it had targeted several senior German Nazis. 

Kastein’s professionalism was driven by his longstanding hatred of Nazism and racism. That ideological driver ensured that CS-6 had no time for recreational resistance fighters or late converts. Group members knew they faced unimaginable torture and death if they were caught. The Nazis had already scored successes against early resistance groups that had opened themselves up to strangers and new recruits. 

Group members knew they faced unimaginable torture and death if they were caught.

CS-6 members were snipers and assassins that blurred into crowds of onlookers or made well-planned and executed escapes. But Kastein was reportedly haunted by the retribution carried out against civilians in response to resistance actions. 

Gerrit Kastein

In one such case, the CS-6 accidentally attacked the car of the prominent SS General and Chief of Nazi Police, Hanns Albin Rauter. Rauter responded by ordering the execution of 116 men from the village of Woeste Hoeve and another 147 prisoners. 

Kastein never lived to see the war to an end. On 19 February 1943 he went to the city of Utrecht to meet with a fellow member of the group. What he didn’t know was the Nazis had arrested his contact several days earlier. 

Kastein was arrested and on his transfer to prison pulled a concealed weapon out of his clothing and shot the agent driving the car. Although he attempted an escape, he was recaptured – after again pulling out another concealed weapon. The Nazis were elated they had finally captured Kastein. 

Tied to a chair in a prison outside Utrecht, Kastein was promised that he would be tortured until he revealed the details of his entire network. Instead, he chose to end his life, flinging himself through a window while still tied to the chair. With a severely-fractured skull, the Nazis desperately tried to revive him, but Kastein died a few hours later. CS-6 would continue without him, the identities of its members remaining a secret.