Burgomaster Rückert: Shimmering between Good and Evil A research regarding the position of Burgomaster J.J.G.E Rückert of Enschede between 1940-1945, based on the analytical model of Dutch Historian Peter Romijn
During the Second World War in the Netherlands, the occupier implemented regulations and measurements that had a deep effect on national and local government. In local government, these measurements had an effect on the burgomaster. He became the centre of attention and was sole responsible for the execution of Nazi regulations on a local level. One such burgomaster, Johannes Jacobus Gerardus Everwijn Rückert of Enschede, could maintain his position throughout the whole occupation without being fired or replaced by the Nazis. Through the use of the analytical model by historian Peter Romijn in Burgmeesters in Bezettingstijd. Besturen onder Duitse bezetting, the behaviour and position of the burgomasters during the occupation in the Netherlands can be analysed. The main research question is therefore: ‘’How did burgomaster Rückert behaved during the occupation and how does that fit in the theoretic model of the historian Peter Romijn?’’ Romijn’s model revolves around three themes. These three themes are ‘’the function of the burgomaster and local government’’, ‘’the dynamics of the occupation seen through the eyes of government’’ and lastly, ‘’the clash between state and society due to the imported revolution of national socialism.’’ The three themes or Romijn’s model are translated in three sub questions in order to analyse burgomaster Rückert. The sub questions focus on three key developments of the occupation, which are the persecution of Jews in Enschede, Rückert and the Dutch National Socialists and lastly, the April-May Strike of 1943. All three sub questions look at the position of the burgomaster and the behaviour of Rückert during those three developments. Rückert’s position as a burgomaster ‘’fitted’’ mostly in line with other contemporary research regarding the position of civil servants during the Second World War in the Netherlands. The outcome of those researches argued that most civil servants and burgomasters shifted between cooperation and negotiation. The notion was that it was not a matter of ‘’black and white’’ or ‘’good and evil’’ regarding the position of the civil servants after the war. Instead, it was to be seen as a ‘’grey’’ area. Burgomaster Rückert had to shimmer between cooperation and negotiation with the Nazis, as there was rarely objection. He could not formally object, since that would result in being fired or replaced by members of the Dutch National Socialists. One such National Socialist, Wevers, was preying on Rückert’s position. This might serve as an explanation as to why Rückert wanted to maintain his position as burgomaster. He could have feared that if he would be replaced, something worse could happen to the people of Enschede if was not in a position of power in order to negotiate with the Nazis.
|Keywords||Second World War, Netherlands, Occupation, Burgomaster, Local Government, Civil Servants, Persecution of Jews, 1940, 1945, WWII, Nazis, NSB, Enschede, Twente, Overijssel.|
|Thesis Advisor||H. Klemann|
|Series||Maatschappijgeschiedenis / History of Society|
P. Kooke. (2019, June 28). Burgomaster Rückert: Shimmering between Good and Evil A research regarding the position of Burgomaster J.J.G.E Rückert of Enschede between 1940-1945, based on the analytical model of Dutch Historian Peter Romijn. Maatschappijgeschiedenis / History of Society. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/2105/49969