Segundo Jorge Adelberto “Boy” Ecury was a member of the underground resistance movement during German Nazi occupation of the Netherlands during the Second World War. Boy was born on the Caribbean island of Aruba on the 23rd of April in 1922. He was the seventh child of Anna Ernst (born on Curacao in 1891) and Segundo Ecury (born on Aruba in 1888). Segundo, better known as Dundun, was a well-known businessman in the capital of Oranjestad, and ran several businesses. He was the first person to import Ford motor vehicles from the USA to the island. He also diplomatically represented several foreign countries, such as Haiti and Italy, as a consulate in Oranjestad during his career. Dundun’s father and Boy’s grandfather, Eugenio Candido, was born in 1860 and was registered as an enslaved person in the Colonial Archives at the time. When slavery was abolished in 1863, Eugenio was freed given the last name “Ecury”. More information about Anna Ernst’s ancestors should be available in the Curacaon archives.
Boy grew up in the capital and attended Catholic School. At the age of fifteen, his parents decided that Boy needed an education that instilled more discipline. In 1937, he travelled to the Netherlands by ship to attend the Institute Saint Louis in Oudenbosch (in the Dutch province North Brabant). Several siblings also continued their education in the Netherlands along with Boy, albeit in different parts of the country. There were not many young islanders studying in the Netherlands at this time. In 1984 Ted Schouten (Boy’s nephew) interviewed Boy’s siblings and friends from the Netherlands. They described Boy’s circumstances, as the only student of afro-descent at his school, as being difficult and stressful. They also described how Boy and his siblings experienced consistent instances of racism outside of school, such as being called derogatory racist terms on the street. In letters written to his parents Boy described how he found solace in the Catholic faith and Church.
In 1939, war broke out in Europe, mainly due to the military hostilities of Adolf Hitler and his German Nazi regime. In May 1940, the German military occupied the Netherlands after the Dutch government and Queen conceded and fled to London. This would last until 1945. In the first years of the War, Boy continued his studies. Once he graduated and the context of war started to cause more fear of Nazi capture, Boy went into hiding. He stayed with the Moerenburg family in Tilburg. Due to the participation of his friends in underground activities, Boy became involved in gathering food vouchers (meant to ration food under Nazi occupation) and distributing these to people who were exempt from receiving them (e.g. Jewish families and political adversaries of the regime). When his presence and activities started to pose a risk to his hosts he fled to Oisterwijk, a small town situated East of Tilburg. Here he met other groups who were active within the resistance movement. His time in Oisterwijk mainly focused on assisting pilots of the Allied Forces who were gunned out of their planes, to find safe escape routes out of occupied Nazi territories though the South of the Netherlands.
When Boy started to get recognized and actively searched for in Oisterwijk he decided to flee again. He contacted friends who were living the South-Holland province and went to stay with them. In the summer of 1944 he met members of the nationally organized armed resistance organization in The Hague and joined them. The group from The Hague was deployed to Rotterdam. Due to the considerable safety risks of this type of resistance, Boy was required to prepare a will. He also wrote long letters to his parents before he became completely active and took the name Max Ernst. In Rotterdam, the members were tasked with various high-risk plots, such as the sabotage of detonators placed for explosives by German Nazi’s over the Maastunnel.
Boy was captured on the 4th of November in 1944. A fellow resistance fighter had surrendered information to the Nazi’s regarding the identities and whereabouts of Boy and other members. Boy had been at church, and was captured on his walk home after. He was taken to the “Oranjehotel” prison in Scheveningen in The Hague. When he refused to surrender information regarding resistance members and activities, he was condemned to death. On the 6th of November of that year, he was killed by firing squad on the Waalsdorpervlakte in Scheveningen. His remains would only be found and identified in 1947.
- Horst, L. van der (2004). Wereldoorlog in de West: Suriname, de Nederlandse Antillen en Aruba 1940-1945. Verloren B.V. Uitgeverij.
- Oord, A. van den, Rijsen, J. & Schouten, T. (2007). Een Gemeenschappelijke Strijd: Tilburg, Suriname, Aruba en de Antillen in de Tweede Wereldoorlog. Commissie Wereldoorlog II in de West te Tilburg.
- Schouten, T. (2003). Boy Ecury, Een Antilliaanse Jongen in het Verzet. Walburg Pers.