Bert Sas

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Gijsbertus Jacobus (Bert) Sas (born August 1, 1892 in Leeuwarden ; † October 20, 1948 in Scotland) was the Dutch military attaché in Berlin at the time of the German invasion of the Netherlands in May 1940.


Sas was the youngest of three children of Lieutenant Colonel Gijsbertus Jacobus Sas. In 1910 he entered the Royal Military Academy in Breda as a student . In 1917 he was promoted to lieutenant 1st class and married Maria Johanna van der Minne in the same year. From 1923 to 1926 he attended the course for staff officers at the Higher War School. In 1928 he was promoted to major .

Military attaché in Berlin

In 1936 and 1937 Major Sas was the Dutch military attaché in Berlin. He spent ten days a month there, the other days of the month he stayed in The Hague. In 1938 Sas was ordered back to The Hague, where he was the right-hand man of the Dutch Commander-in-Chief, General Izaäk Reijnders , as head of the operations department.

In March 1939, after the establishment of the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia , he was sent again as a military attaché to Berlin because of his good German contacts, where he immediately revived his friendship with Colonel Hans Oster , whom he had met in Berlin in 1936. Oster shared a lot of important information with Sas. At the end of August 1939, Sas was therefore able to inform the Dutch government that the German attack on Poland was imminent.

In September 1939, Sas, now a colonel, received a hint from Oster that the neutrality of the Netherlands and Belgium would not remain unscathed in the event of a German attack in the west. On the evening of October 8, 1939, Hans Oster had his driver, Franz-Maria Liedig, stop at Sas on the way to his apartment. When Oster came out of Sas' house a few minutes later and sat down next to Liedig again, he said that he had just committed “ treason ” because he had betrayed the planned German attack date in the West. In the autumn and winter of 1939/1940, the date of the German attack, about which Oster informed him each time, was postponed twenty-nine times, as a result of which the credibility of Sas and that of his source suffered until the actual German attack on May 10, 1940. General Reynders rejected all warnings that Sas had directed to him since the end of September 1939. He could not imagine that the Germans could intend to attack his country. Reynders was not alone in this view . Most Dutch people, even in government circles, believed that the "miracle of 1914" ( neutrality of the Netherlands ) would repeat itself . Sas's relations with General Reynders, until then excellent, had been tarnished from the moment he gave him bad news. The Commander-in-Chief did not believe a word of what Sas reported to him from Berlin. The Dutch secret service, headed by Colonel JGM van de Plassche , was of the same opinion as Reynders. Major Sas' warnings did not fit in well with all the news Reynders had received up to then.

On April 3, 1940, Oster Sas informed that on April 9, Denmark and Norway would be attacked by German troops. Sas informed the Dutch government by means of a coded telegram.

Oster also correctly informed Sas about the actual beginning of the western campaign . He emphasized to Sas that the Maas bridges near Maastricht had to be strengthened and said goodbye with the words: “My dear friend, it is really over now. There are no counter-orders. The pig has left for the western front , now it's really over. Hopefully we'll see each other again after this war. ”Sas first informed the Belgian attaché Goethals in Berlin and then the government in The Hague.

After the victory over France , the Canaris Research Office announced that the date of the attack in the western campaign had probably been revealed by a German officer in the Abwehr . The eavesdropping stations in the Research Office had recorded Colonel Sas's telephone conversation with The Hague on the evening before the attack. The suspicion fell indirectly on Oster, but was not pursued further because Canaris withdrew the further investigation and finally broke off at high risk, although Hitler had taken on the matter himself and had commissioned Canaris to clarify the case with Heydrich .

London and Washington

After the German attack on the Netherlands, Sas came from Berlin to London via Switzerland. There he had to defend himself against rumors that he had been "turned around" by the Germans, which he successfully achieved , also with the help of his good relationship with Queen Wilhelmina . He then took on a military command in Canada.

After the war he was promoted to major general and Dutch military attaché in Washington.

Sas died in a plane crash in Scotland in 1948.


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Photography Bert Sas (before 1940) ( Memento of the original from May 9, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.  @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  2. See Joachim Fest: Coup. The long way to July 20th. P. 141 f.
  3. ^ Jean Vanwelkenhuyzen: The Netherlands and the "Alarm" in January 1940 . In: VfZ 1, 1960, pp. 17-36, here: pp. 20 u. 24 ( PDF , 5.4 MB).
  4. This meant Hitler.
  5. Verslag verhoor Majoor GJ Sas van Tuesday 16 March 1948 Parlementaire Enquêtecommissie (paragraph 4363)
  6. See Fest: coup d'état. The long way to July 20th. P. 169.
  7. See Fest: coup d'état. The long way to July 20th. P. 171.