George John Lionel Maduro moved to The Hague from Willemstad (Curaçao) at the age of 10. When the war broke out, he was a student as well as an officer in the Dutch cavalry. During May 1940, he distinguished himself by his conduct in the Battle of The Hague, Germany’s first large-scale airborne attack on the Netherlands. After the capitulation, he refused to wear the Star of David (he was a Sephardic Jew) and joined the Dutch resistance. Maduro went into hiding but was arrested and then imprisoned in the Oranjehotel. He was released after a few weeks.
His second arrest was the result of a mistake. One evening in The Hague at the end of June 1941, he ventured out into the street and was arrested. However, he was released again on 19 December. Maduro then decided to leave for the south, along with a number of Allied pilots who had been shot down, and planned to escape to England to join the liberation army. His plan failed and due to an act of betrayal, on 4 September 1943 he was arrested in Charlesville on the French-Belgian border and imprisoned in Strasbourg. Maduro was transported to Dachau concentration camp in November 1944. A typhoid epidemic broke out in Dachau. Maduro had been ill on arrival and succumbed to the disease because of his weakened state. He died on 9 February 1945 at the age of 28. On 17 April, Dachau was liberated by US troops.
There is a commemorative pavement plaque in front of Frederik Hendriklaan 111, one of the houses where he hid. After the war, the miniature village Madurodam (George Maduroplein 1, 2584 RZ The Hague) was created in his memory. Maduro’s parents donated the initial capital necessary to build it. His Dutch Army uniform is on display in the Historical Museum of The Hague (Korte Vijverberg 7, 2513 AB The Hague).
The ‘Oranjehotel’ was the nickname of the Polizeigefängnis, or police prison, the house of detention in Scheveningen during World War Two. More than 25,000 people were imprisoned here between 1940 and 1945.
The Hague in World War Two
In the early morning of 10 May 1940, Germany invaded the Netherlands. The Hague became the centre of German rule in the Netherlands. This is the story of a city’s devastation, the deportation of Jews, ‘justice’ in the Oranjehotel and many more atrocities until the delayed liberation on 8 May 1945.