> Anne Pieter Potma was born in Zutphen on January 30, 1891. He studied civil engineering at the TH Delft, where he graduated in1913. Upon graduation Potma moved to Heerenveen, where he became a teacher at the Rijks HBS. He remained there during the next eight years. On July 2, 1921, he was appointed as teacher at the MTS Haarlem, to teach in the fields of mathematics, mechanical engineering, and civil engineering. When on November 1, 1930 a new director is appointed, Potma was already interim director and on February 1, 1931 he became adjunct director. The name of the new director was dr.ir. G. de Gelder, already mentioned above. On August 30, 1939 Potma receives the award of Knight in the Order of Oranje Nassau. Like Ludolph, Potma dedicates himself to writing a large variety of textbooks for the MTS students. He does so in part by himself, and in part by collaborating with Ludolph.
Director De Gelder turned out to be a rabid national socialist, member of the Dutch fascist party NSB. With the Nazis occupying The Netherlands, he wasted no time in firing the Jewish teachers at his school and replacing them as well as others with NSB loyals. Potma is a dedicated democrat, a Christian pacifist, and chairman of the Vereeniging van Vrijzinnig Hervormden in Haarlem. His outspoken righteous attitude led to confrontations with the director of the MTS. In the early part of 1941 Potma was removed from his position of adjunct-director. He was allowed to continue teaching electrical engineering but there was to be no more involvement in management affairs. The NSB loyal ir. J.R.G. de Veer replaced Potma as the new adjunct director. When director De Gelder retires in June 1942, De Veer becomes his successor.
During the period August 1942 - February 1943 the brutal battle of Stalingrad took place. It became clear that the tide of the war was going to turn. When in March 1943 Potma made a humoristically intended but somewhat cynical remark about the performance of the German army, the NSB-infested MTS management struck out and informed the Sicherheits Dienst SD. The SD arrested Potma. The arrest resulted in his imprisonment, in the eventual deportation to the infamous concentration camp at Dachau on May 26, 1944, followed almost immediately by further deportation to the dreaded “Nacht und Nebel” hard labor concentration camp at Natzweiler-Struthof in the occupied French Alsace. He arrived on June 19, 1944, where prisoners were to work on cutting granite in open air quarries and on cutting out underground tunnels intended to house factories. Exhausted and sick, Potma died two weeks after arrival, on July 3, 1944.
The name of Anne Pieter Potma remains enshrined in the national “Honor List of the Fallen” in the Dutch House of Parliament. (See http://www.erelijst.nl/over-erelijst ) In the MTS Haarlem there is a small monument displaying his name – and those of 37 others from the MTS community that had also fallen victim to the Nazi frenzy. NB 1 De bijgevoegde foto en een deel van de informatie over Potma werd ontleend aan het boek: Peeperkorn – van Donselaar, L.A. Een eeuw beroep op onderwijs – de geschiedenis van de Vereniging voor Beroepsonderwijs Haarlem (1891 – 1991). Vereniging voor Beroepsonderwijs te Haarlem, Haarlem, 1990. (141 pp.) Bij plaatsing van de foto, dit boek als bron vermelden, svp. NB 2 DE engelse tekst is genomen uit een nieuwsbrief waarvan ik de redacteur ben. Bent u geinteresserd in het gehele artikel waarvan het verhaal over Potma deel uit maakt, laat het mij dan weten.