First CDA leader, Germanic SS member Willem Aantjes dead at 92

Willem Aantjes in 2008 (Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Dennis Coenraad)Willem Aantjes in 2008 (Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Dennis Coenraad)

Long-time Dutch politician Willem Aantjes died peacefully at his home on Thursday at the age of 92, his partner, Ineke Ludikhuize, 57, told media outlets in the Netherlands.

Aantjes was at the center of controversy when historian Loe de Jong mistakenly proclaimed that the politician enlisted with a foreign army, the Waffen SS, during World War II. It later emerged that Aantjes actually joined the Germanic SS in the Netherlands, technically a Dutch force.

The revelation led to Aantjes’ resignation as the first-ever leader of the Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA) party, and a member of Parliament. He served in that role from December 1977 to November 1978. For most of the six years before that, Aantjes was the leader and MP of Protestant political group Anti-Revoloutionary Party (ARP).

He was in the Tweede Kamer, the lower house of Dutch Parliament a total of 19 years, beginning in 1959. He was instrumental in the formation of the CDA, a combination of Protestant parties ARP and CHU with the KVP, a Catholic-affiliated group, broadcaster NOS noted.