The first arrests
Now the first arrests are also taking place. Everyone is required to be inside at eight o'clock in the evening. Philips employee Feik Fast meets the German Schutzpolizei, the so-called 'green police', and writes in his diary:
'The next day I go for a walk with Rie, when it is almost eight o'clock; exactly at eight o'clock the raid van with green police arrives, so we have to hide for a while with strange people in the house, a few streets away from us. Then run through the gardens on their way home! Everyone, whom they can get hold of, they take away.'
The Philips management places the following appeal in the Nieuwsblad van het Zuiden:
'To the personnel of N.V. Philips. The management of N.V. Philips deems it necessary to urgently point out to all personnel members that they should resume work on Monday 3 May on time. Anyone who does not do so will be exposed to the harshest measures, arising from the proclamation of martial law'.
Frits Philips writes about this in his autobiography 45 Years with Philips:
'On Monday 3 May, the Germans appeared to have done the stupidest thing they could do that moment. People who wanted to go to work on Monday morning suddenly saw heavy German surveillance at the gates, upon which many did not even enter. Worse was that, due to an otherwise understandable precaution by the municipal gas company, our factories were without gas. The gas supply by the State Mines had stagnated for a short time due to several strikes, but had since resumed, whereupon the municipality had decided to fill up the gas holder for the population first, before supplying gas to Philips. At the plant, however, the reaction was: 'You see: no gas! So they are still on strike in South Limburg. Then we'll go home too". Our factories were already sparsely populated, and those who were there began to feel more and more uneasy. Finally, they too walked out of the gate.'
The Schutzpolizei tries to track down strikers with the help of Dutch policemen. When they see a Philips employee walking down the street, they ask him, what he is doing there. He truthfully tells them that he has been sent by his boss to Philips workers to persuade them to go to work anyway. He is not believed and is sentenced to death a few hours later.
Almost simultaneously, Frits Philips is imprisoned. His son Anton remembers his mother telling his father at the time: 'Frits, it's actually a good thing you were captured, because imagine if you had made it through the war and you had never been imprisoned!' When the German arresting him then asks: 'But Mrs Philips, do you think we are going to lose the war?' she replies: 'Do you doubt that?'