Resistance telegraphy operator · Chief of BRD
Antonius Simeon Marie (Anton) van Schendel,
(Rotterdam, 16 August 1894 - 's-Gravenhage,
9 August 1958), commonly known as Ton, was an employee of the Dutch
Radio Monitoring Service (RCD)
of the state-owned telecom monopolist PTT,
a WWII resistance member
and underground radio operator and morse
instructor, and head of the
Bijzondere Radio Dienst (BRD) of the PTT.
During WWII, whilst working for the Dutch
Radio Monitoring Service (RCD),
van Schendel became involved with the
one of three major clandestine resistance organisations in the country, 1
where he was known as TON.
Within the OD he was responsible for the
morse training of telegraphists
whom he largely recruited from trusted licenced amateur radio operators (HAMs).
On Saturday 4 September 1943 – whilst in hiding in Amsterdam – he was arrested by the German Sicherheitsdienst (SD) and
imprisoned for the remainder of the war. Although the majority of clandestine
radio operators did not survive, van Schendel miraculously escaped execution.
At the end of the war he returned to The Netherlands and took up his old job
with the RCD. He also wrote an extensive
report about his work for the OD and his time in German captivity .
In 1952, van Schendel became head of the newly established
Bijzondere Radiodienst (BRD).
It was part of the Dutch state-owned telecom
monopolist PTT, but also worked for the military and civil intelligence
services MID and BVD (AIVD).
It was the task of the BRD to monitor broadcasts
from the Soviet Union (USSR) – e.g. Radio Moscow –
and of the Warsaw Pact states, to spot any hidden messages.
The BRD also searched the radio waves for signals from Eastern
Bloc armies, and tried to determine their location by means of
radio direction finding. Within the Netherlands, the BRD
was responsible for finding and locating clandestine radio stations operated by
On 24 June 1954, Dutch Queen Juliana awarded him the Bronze Lion for his bravery during
WWII. Van Schendel had a weak health, probably resulting from bad treatment
and starvation during the war, whilst in German captivity.
After a long illness, he died on 9 August 1958, just a week before
his 64th birthday .
He was replaced at the BRD by Daan Neuteboom, who led the agency until
it was (re)integrated with the RCD in 1976. After the merger, Neuteboom
became head of the RCD.
Crypto Museum holds various items in its collection that once
belonged to the
Bijzondere Radio Dienst (BRD),
or to Anton van Schendel personally. Many of these were obtained
by van Schendel during or immediately after the war, probably
aided by his good contacts with the OSS (CIA).
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© Crypto Museum. Created: Friday 25 December 2020. Last changed: Sunday, 14 November 2021 - 11:59 CET.