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Dublin: 2°C Monday 6 December 2021

40 years ago, a Dutch concentration camp survivor was set free by his IRA captors after 36 days

Tiede Herrema’s kidnapping caught the world’s attention.

Source: Oisín Ó Dubhláin/YouTube

IT WAS ON this day 40 years ago that a Dutch concentration camp survivor was freed after being held captive by the IRA for 36 days.

This included an 18 day period when Tiede Herrema and his captors were under siege at a council house in Monasterevin, Co Kildare.

Herrema had been kidnapped while on his way to work in the Ferenka factory in Ballyvarra, Co Limerick.

Prior to his location being traced to the house in Kildare, there was much fear that the industrialist had been killed by his captors.

herrema Tiede Herrema and his wife Elisabeth with President Mary McAleese in 2005 Source: Leon Farrell/RollingNews.ie

He had been taken captive by Provisional IRA members Marion Coyle and Eddie Gallagher who planned to demand the release of three republican prisoners who had been imprisoned in Limerick.

Quickly it became apparent to the pair that they were in out of their depth.

The authorities refused to agree with their request for the releases and, after their location was discovered, they found themselves under siege in a single room of a house without facilities.

Eddie Gallagher. Eddie Gallagher being escorted away from the Monasterevin council house Source: PA Archive/Press Association Images

The siege eventually came to an end when conditions deteriorated.

Gallagher eventually began to show severe signs of sickness from the conditions, and the pair tossed their guns out the window of the building, bringing the ordeal to an end.

Gallagher went on to serve 14 years of a 20-year sentence in prison with Coyle serving 9 years of a 15 year sentence.

At a press conference in Dublin following his release Herrema had with him a bullet that had been held to his head by Gallagher – something that had been given to him a souvenir.

Terraced house of terror. The council house in Kildare where Herrema was held captive Source: PA Archive/Press Association Images

Speaking to the Irish Times last month, Herrema talked about how his time in a concentration camp during the second world war had prepared him for what happened.

In his early 20s at the time, he had been arrested while serving the Dutch resistance.

Herrema went on to become a notable figure following the incident, mostly due to the attitude he held about his kidnappers.

Following his release, Herrema expressed no grievances, saying: “I see them as children with a lot of problems. If they were my own children I would do my utmost to help them.”

Dr Herrema's release. Dr Herrema in Dublin after his release Source: PA Archive/Press Association Images

Read: Family of murdered teenager in emotional appeal for information

Also: Man on bail pending trial over allegedly assisting IRA granted permission to go to UK football match

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