WWII South African Die Ossewa-Brandwag Vanwaar en Waarheen

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Die Ossewa-Brandwag Vanwaar en Waarheen.

“The Ossewa-Brandwag from where and where to”

Belonged to Professor A.C. Cilliers (1898-1980) Author of scientific and autobiographical books, Professor of Theoretical Physics at Stellenbosch University, 1940 - 1963. With writing from the professor on title page.

Andries Charles Cilliers was born on 1 January 1898 at Wellington, in the Cape Province. He matriculated at Paarl and studied Physics at Stellenbosch University (B.Sc., M.Sc. cum laude 1919) and in Göttingen and Frankfurt-am-Main, Germany (Ph.D. summa cum laude 1924). He was appointed senior lecturer in Mathematics at the University of Cape Town in 1924 and senior lecturer in Physics at Stellenbosch University in 1925. During the period 1940 to his retirement in 1963 he was Professor of Theoretical Physics at Stellenbosch University and, on occasion, Dean of the Faculty of Natural Sciences. In 1932 he married Mimi de Villiers and they had two sons, Andries Charl and Fanie, both lawyers. A C Cilliers died in September 1980 in the Strand, near Cape Town. The central theme in the life of AC Cilliers was the combating and curtailment of unrestricted growth, not only in nature, but also and especially in relation to the great man-made crisis: the pressure of population in the 20th century. His Life on the Sigmoid is a reformulation of the Malthusian principles in this connection. This theme of controlled growth was also applied in his view of the nature, role and structure of universities. His constructive criticism of the doctrine of holism of General Smuts is in the same vein. His contribution to South African public life appears from the "A C Cilliers Versameling", housed in the J S Gericke Library, Stellenbosch.

- Chairman of a government Film Committee, 1938 (report 1943).
- A founder member of SABRA (SA Bureau for Racial Affairs).
- Secretary of Stellenbosch Versoeningskomitee ("Reconciliation Committee"), attempting political reconciliation between Afrikaners. (1939-1941). Minister Ben Schoeman in his autobiography stated:

"Eintlik kan gesê word dat hy [A C Cilliers] die vader van die Afrikanerparty was".

- Senate representative on the Council of Stellenbosch University for sixteen years.
- Member of the South African Academy of Arts and Science (1946).
- Member of the Atomic Energy Board.
- Chairman of a committee of inquiry into the subsidy formula for universities (1961), whose report was implemented by the government in virtually all respects.
- Chairman of the Universities Advisory Committee 1963 to 1974.
- In 1967 his comprehensive report to the government concerning review of state subsidies for universities for the period 1969 to 1974, led, inter alia, to a commission of inquiry into universities in South Africa.

'Prof. A.C. - só het almal hom geken - het in die jare dertig 'n groot rol gespeel in die versoening van genls. Smuts en Hertzog en ná die Depressie het hy ook'n vername aandeel gehad aan die opbou van die Afrikaner'
Matieland 3:80

The Ossewa-Brandwag or “Oxwagon Sentinel” was a Afrikaner Nationalist Movement during the Second World War which opposed South Africa’s participation in the war. Afrikaners formed the Ossewabrandwag in Bloemfontein on 4 February 1939. 

The Boer members of the Ossewabrandwag (OB) were hostile to the United Kingdom and sympathetic to Nazi Germany. Thus the OB opposed South African participation in the war, even after the Union declared war in support of Britain in September 1939. While there were parallels, neither Van Rensburg nor the OB were genuine fascists, according to van den Berghe.

By 1941, the OB had approximately 350,000 members.

Alexandre Kum'a Ndumbe III however shows that OB was "based on the Führer-principle, fighting against the Empire, the capitalists, the communists, the Jews, the party and the system of parliamentarism... on the base of national-socialism" according to a German secret source dated 18 January 1944.

Members of the OB refused to enlist in the UDF and sometimes harassed servicemen in uniform. This erupted into open rioting in Johannesburg on 1 February 1941; 140 soldiers were seriously hurt.

More dangerous was the formation of the Stormjaers (Storm hunters), a paramilitary wing of the OB. The nature of the Stormjaers was evidenced by the oath sworn by new recruits: "If I retreat, shoot me. If I fall, avenge me. If I charge, follow me" (Afrikaans: As ek omdraai, skiet my. As ek val, wreek my. As ek storm, volg my).

The Stormjaers engaged in sabotage against the Union government. They dynamited electrical power lines and railroads and cut telegraph and telephone lines. These types of acts were going too far for most Afrikaners, and Malan ordered the National Party to break with the OB in 1942.

The Union government cracked down on the OB and the Stormjaers, placing thousands of them in internment camps for the duration of the war. Even so many of the internees, including future prime minister B. J. Vorster, became future leaders of the ruling National Party during apartheid. Moreover, the internment aroused Afrikaner opposition to the government and helped the NP win the 1948 general election.

At the end of the war, the OB was absorbed into the National Party and ceased to exist as a separate body.

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