August 22, 2019

96 year-old Dutch lady confesses to 1946 murder

Leiden - a beautiful town with an old murder mystery that is now solved.

A 65 year-old murder mystery has been solved with the confession of a 96 year-old woman for the shooting of Construction magnate Felix Gulje in 1946.

The mayor of Leiden, Henri Lenferink, said a woman has confessed to the killing, saying she did it because she believed that Gulje had collaborated with the Nazis during the second world war.

Lenferink said he received a letter from Atie Ridder-Visser, on 1st January 2011 confessing to the crime. He said that in two subsequent interviews with her and after a review of the historical archives he believed that her story was true.

On the cold night on 1st March 1946, Atie Visser rang Gulje’s doorbell in Leiden, and told his wife that she had a letter to give to her husband. When he came to the door she shot him in the chest. He died in the ambulance on the way to hospital.

Visser had been a member of the resistance during the 1940-1945 Nazi occupation of the Netherlands. Rumours had been circulating that Gulje was working with the occupation authorities, and he had been targeted by the underground press. His company did regular business with the Germans, and several employees belonged to a pro-Nazi organisation.

Gulje was arrested after the war, but acquitted.

After his death it emerged that Gulje had sheltered some Jews and had given money to help hide others with other families. A banned Catholic association also held secret meetings in his home, Lenferink said.

Visser moved to Indonesia after the war, where she met and married Herman Ridder. Childless, they moved back to the Netherlands several years later, also spending a few years in Spain.

Lenferink said police never suspected the woman in the killing.

After disclosing her role, Ridder-Visser met two grandchildren of her victim last month to explain what happened and why she did it, the mayor said. He did not disclose details of that conversation.

Ridder-Visser will not be prosecuted, he said. Although the 18-year statute of limitations was lifted for serious crimes in 2006, prosecutors ruled that the change in law would not apply in this case.

“Even now, after 65 years, the murder should be strongly condemned,” Lenferink said. “It is a case of vigilantism, and is unacceptable.”

But he appealed to reporters to leave her alone. “Mrs Ridder-Visser is a very old, very frail woman who hears poorly, is disabled and needs help,” he said.

This is a god example of why cases should go to court where all the facts can be considered rather than people jumping to conclusions with tragic consequences.


  1. Sorina Jonker says

    My father Dirk Jonker was in the resistance during the second world war. He often shared with his children the dangers, he faced all the time. The trust worthiness of
    the other workers, made him believe, that there was still hope for the human race.
    It mus t have been very difficult for you to have to live with that, Now that your mind and soul are cleared, you can go on living till the end of your days, knowing that you have made the right decision. May god bless you and keep you. Sorina Jonker