Verzetshelden Radboud100 - 1942
Verzetshelden Radboud100 - 1942

Radboud100: Resistance hero of dispute H.O.E.K. (1942)

One of the irrefutable resistance heroes in Radboud University’s history is Jozef van Hövell, board member of the H.O.E.K fraternity in 1942, who died at the Neuengamme concentration camp in January 1945 because of his acts of resistance. Five H.O.E.K members of today reflect on the mores of their fraternity, the oldest one in Nijmegen. “We have a strong sense of justice, of doing what you believe to be right, as Jozef van Hövell demonstrated through his example during the war.”

Jozef van Hövell van Wezeveld en Westerflier (Maastricht, 1919) was a boardmember of the H.O.E.K. fraternity in 1942 (on the right on the picture). Due to his leading role in the Nationaal Comité van Verzet (National Committee of Resistance), Van Hövell was arrested in The Hague in 1944 and, after spending some time in prison in Scheveningen and Vught, he was deported to the Neuengamme concentration camp, where he died of exhaustion in January 1945. Today, five Hoekenisten tell about Nijmegen's oldest dispute.

Laurens Stubbé: “Traditionally, you could only join H.O.E.K. if you came from a noble family.”
Tjalling Scholte: “This is something we’ve had to adapt in, otherwise we would no longer exist as a fraternity.”
Stubbé: “Still, even though we are no longer all members of the nobility, we continue to strive to be the best version of ourselves. That hasn’t changed.”
Daan Bossers: “A strong sense of justice. Doing what you believe to be right, as Jozef van Hövell demonstrated through his example during the war. I value him not so much because he was a resistance hero, but because of the ideology behind his actions: he was not afraid to speak up, and when things turned sour, he stood firm in his views. To me, that is precisely where the value of H.O.E.K. lies.”
Freek van den Oetelaar: “This is how you recognise our avunculi (former members, Eds.). They are people who take responsibility in society.”
Stubbé: “H.O.E.K. members tend to become professors, people in high positions in corporate and governmental organisations; we’ve had a few ministers. No prime minister yet, but hopefully, that will come one day.”
Bossers: “Ha, that would have to be Stubbé then, our political science expert.”
Scholte: “We try to communicate certain values, which sometimes shows up in small things. The other day, a fight nearly broke out in front of our house when a furious motorist got out of his car and started to shout abuse at a cyclist he had almost hit. So we intervened.”
Bossers: “When you talk about it like that, you make it sound as if we’re always very serious. But we also joined the fraternity to make the most of our student time. H.O.E.K. is also about having a laugh, and endlessly chewing the fat on some issue or other.”
Scholte: “That’s if you’re not too drunk to chew on anything.”

Van den Oetelaar: "As a young H.O.E.K. member, you’re expected to stand up to the board. To dare to take a critical stance. To also challenge the people you look up to, and dare to corner them if needed.”
Scholte: “But never to just criticise for the sake of criticising. You’re expected to develop a well thought-out position, and to have something meaningful to say. When we meet with other fraternities, and a H.O.E.K. member takes the floor, we all know: this is going to take a while.”
Luca Kroese: “Former Rector Duynstee showed himself to be a true H.O.E.K. member when he opposed the student protests in the 1960s and 1970s. He stood his ground, daring at all times to speak his own mind against the zeitgeist, and always with the support of good arguments.”

Scholte: “If you ask me whether a fraternity like H.O.E.K. could be founded today, if it did not exist yet, I wouldn’t be so sure. But if you ask me whether our fraternity has added value to the student world, then I can wholeheartedly say yes. It’s wonderful that it exists, and that we are united.”
Van den Oetelaar: “If we had simply bumped into one another, it is rather unlikely that we would have become a group. But H.O.E.K. does exist, and we are together, sharing more of a fraternity bond than friendship, a bond uniting you to people with whom that would never have happened otherwise.”
Kroese: “Which is not to say that no friendships develop within the fraternity. It happens all the time.”
Stubbé: “As Nijmegen’s oldest fraternity, we automatically and necessarily lean on our history. We enjoy expressing it, in the way we decorate this house, with the flags, the sigilla, the special colours. That 1925 identity is still part of us.”
Scholte: “We maintain a lot of traditions, like a former dress code, and deliberating on our fraternity nights; we don’t call it debating.”
Stubbé: “There was once an agenda item about formal footwear no longer being compulsory at association parties. We resisted it for a long time, in vain; now people just come wearing trainers.”
Bossers: “A tragic decision, not so much because a tradition was lost, but because of the convenience argument: without this requirement, you no longer have to stop by your house on your way from the University to a party to change shoes. But of course, our traditions are also changing; we also move with the times.”

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This is an abbreviated version of a story from the Dutch book: 2023-1923. Honderd jaar Radboud Universiteit in 101 beelden (or 1923-2023. A century in 101 stories). This anniversary book will appear in May 2023 and will be published by Boom Publishers.

Want to know more? Please send an e-mail to communicatie [at] (communicatie[at]ru[dot]nl). Would you like to reserve the book in advance? Please click here.