Wally van Hall 1906 - 1945. Banker to the Resistance
65 years after the Liberation Walraven (Wally) van Hall has been given a monument: a bronze tree lies like a fallen giant opposite the Nederlandsche Bank in Amsterdam. In 1945 the young banker was acclaimed as a bridge builder and a leading figure in the Resistance. But the story of Wally van Hall was gradually forgotten.
Until October 9, 2011
Wally van Hall – code name Van Tuyl – was a co-founder of the bank of the Resistance, the Nationaal Steunfonds (National Assistance Fund) or NSF. Through illegal loans and a fraud involving millions at the central bank, the Nederlandsche Bank, the NSF was able to distribute over 83 million guilders to victims of the Occupation and countless Resistance groups. This kind of organisation was unique in Europe in the Second World War. Wally was the undisputed leader of the NSF in the west of the Netherlands.
On 27 January 1945 Wally van Hall was arrested by the Germans. He was executed by firing squad in Haarlem on 12 February, three months before the Liberation.
Seaman, banker and father
Wally van Hall grew up in an Amsterdam family of bankers and directors. But he wanted something different. Wally went to sea. He became third mate on the ocean-going trade with NV Koninklijke Hollandsche Lloyd. In 1929 it was found that his eyesight was not good enough for work at sea. He had to stop peering at the horizon. He went to New York and became a banker after all.
On returning to the Netherlands he married Tilly den Tex, the love of his life. They had three children. In March 1940 he became a partner in the banking house Wed. J. te Veltrup & Zoon. When war broke out the young family were living in Zaandam. Almost every day Wally went to the Amsterdam stock exchange. There he made contacts for his work as the banker of the Resistance.
Running an illegal bank
The NSF was set up in 1943 when ever more money was needed for Resistance groups and to support thousands of people in hiding and other victims of the Occupation.
To keep the money flowing, Wally van Hall argued that in future only large amounts of at least 25,000 guilders should be loaned. He hoped that this would also reduce the risk of being caught. For this reason he and his brother Gijs devised a system for the intricate web of illegal loans. All loans were administered in code.
On the expenditure side too, where there were the most NSF workers, everything was recorded in detail. Applications for assistance were checked. And all payments were registered, so that after the war they could be accounted for.
The flow of money at the Nationaal Steunfonds
In the course of the war more and more money was needed to fund the Resistance. By May 1945 the NSF – the bank of the Resistance – had distributed over 83 million guilders to Resistance groups and many tens of thousands who needed help.
Hardly anyone knew where all that money came from. Income and expenditure were strictly separated, so that if one was discovered the other would not be endangered. Only Wally van Hall knew everything about both sides of ‘the bank’. Together with his brother Gijs he ran the income department of the NSF, the Disconto Instituut.
Dispersed about the country there were 23 NSF districts, with district heads, cashiers, administrators and collecting clerks. They were mainly concerned with expenditure. All told, some 2000 workers transported suitcases full of money, brought wage packets to homes, helped Resistance groups or did the bookkeeping.
Leading figures in the NSF
The Nationaal Steunfonds (NSF) was founded in 1943 by Wally van Hall and Iman van den Bosch. They both worked for the Zeemanspot, a fund to help the wives of seamen run by Captain Abraham Philippo of Rotterdam. As the Resistance grew in 1943 and ever more people needed help, Wally van Hall and Iman van van den Bosch decided to extend their assistance.
The leading figures in the NSF were: Wally van Hall, Iman van den Bosch and A.J. Gelderblom. They held weekly meetings in Utrecht. Gijs van Hall played a vital role in the background as the financial adviser. He and his brother raised tens of millions for the NSF.
A monument to Wally
Wally van Hall was arrested by the Germans on 27 January 1945 on Leidsegracht in Amsterdam. At first they did not realise whom they had caught because they were looking for a certain Van Tuyl. But Wally was betrayed while in prison. On 12 February 1945 Wally van Hall was executed by firing squad on Jan Gijzenkade in Haarlem.
In March 1945 the Resistance newspaper Vrije Gedachten published an In Memoriam which described him as ‘one of the leaders of the Resistance whose authority was unchallenged.’
Soon after the Liberation Walraven van Hall was reburied at the memorial cemetery in Bloemendaal. Now, 64 years after the Liberation, a monument to him has been erected on Frederiksplein in Amsterdam. Read more.
After the war
Immediately after the war the process of clearing up all the wartime financial transactions began. Loans to the NSF were repaid by the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the trick with the fake treasury bonds was set right.
After the war the NSF – now a foundation – still had 22 million guilders in cash. This money was used to make financial contributions to the building of the National Monument on the Dam in Amsterdam and to the founding of the Netherlands Institute for War Documentation. In 1953 the NSF Foundation was dissolved.