Frans Killinger

Frans Pavel Vaclav Killinger (14 November 1875 – 1936) was a military officer and police inspector in Suriname who planned to commit the first[2] coup d'état in Suriname on the night of 25 to 26 May 1910. The coup was betrayed, and he was sentenced to death which was later commuted to five years imprisonment. In December 1913, he was released from jail.[3] Later, he enlisted in the cavalry of the Ottoman Army as Muhammed Tewfig Killinger.

Frans Killinger
Frans Killinger.png
Frans Pavel Vaclav Killinger

(1875-11-14)14 November 1875[1]
Hodony, Austria-Hungary (nowadays Hodoni, in Romania)
Died1936(1936-00-00) (aged 60–61)
Other namesMuhammed Tewfig Killinger
Occupationmilitary officer, police inspector
  • Louise Neumann (1906–17 June 1910)
  • Clara Doppelt (6 November 1909–?) (void)
  • Clara Doppelt (WW I–his death)


Killinger was born on 14 November 1875,[4] in Hodony,[5] Austria-Hungary.[6] His father wanted him to become a priest, however Killinger volunteered for the Austro-Hungarian Army in 1894. He accidentally shot and wounded a fellow soldier and was sentenced to two months for carelessness. In 1899, he was discharged from the army.[6]

Killinger tried to go the Transvaal to participate in the Second Boer War, however he was arrested in Hamburg.[7] After paying a fine, he received permission to enlist in the Dutch Army.[6] Initially he wanted to join the Royal Netherlands East Indies Army but was rejected for poor eyesight.[4] He was allowed to sign up for the Netherlands Armed Forces in Suriname.[7]

On 8 December 1899, Killinger arrived in Suriname. On 17 June 1900, he deserted with eight other soldiers,[4] and was jailed for several days.[8] On 9 July, he received a temporarily appointment to the police department.[4][9] In 1904, he was promoted police inspector.[10] In May 1906, he married Louise Neumann from Paramaribo.[11]

Coup d'étatEdit

In 1908, while on an educational leave to Europe,[8] Killinger procured a loan of DM 50,000 with Marlitt, a German banker, for his planned coup d'état. He also left his wife behind in Germany, and married Clara Doppelt in London on 6 November 1909.[7][12] When he returned to Suriname, the initial plan failed, because the promised loan was never delivered,[7][13] and Neumann, his ex-wife, managed to return to Suriname on 4 April 1910, and filed for divorce.[14][15] The divorce was granted on 17 June,[16] and after selling the house, Neumann left for New York City.[17] On 1 October, his son Fereinz Napoleon Doppelt was born.[18]

Killinger started to discuss his plans to overthrow the government and install a dictatorship with his fellow policemen. He managed to recruit six accomplices.[13] Killinger would lead the new republic as President-Dictator. Suriname would have a bicameral legislature, but without ministers. He would compensate the Netherlands for its losses and assumed that the United States and South American countries would back him.[13] He would end corruption, assure better treatment for the immigrants, diversify the economy, and strengthen the police force.[19] The gasworks in Paramaribo would be closed down and replaced by a hydro-electric plant.[20]

Fort Zeelandia (2016)

The plan was to attack the telegraph and telephone station, Governor's Palace, the Central Bank and Fort Zeelandia where 150 soldiers were stationed.[21] They would arm themselves using guns from the police station,[19] and batons which had been purchased by Willem Arduin.[22]

Police officer Jatan was tasked to recruit a militia of Indo-Surinamese lathi warriors[23] from sugar estate Mariënburg[10] where a 1902 strike had turned into a massacre.[23] He had talked with 17 people, but not managed to convince a single one. Jatan told Killinger at a conspiracy meeting that he had recruited 45 warriors.[24]

The attack was scheduled for the night of 25 to 26 May 1910.[7] Former police officer Jacob Schoonhoven was asked to form a posse of strong and tough men,[21] however he had second thoughts, discussed the matter with his priest, and reported Killinger to the Prosecutor General.[19][21] On 19 May, Killinger was summoned to report to the Prosecutor General, and was immediately suspended pending investigation. On 23 May 1910, Killinger and six accomplices were arrested.[25][19]

On 13 March 1911, the trial started.[4] During the trial, Killinger affirmed that he considered it his duty to correct injustices in Suriname even it meant breaking the law.[26] Captain Hirschmann, in charge of security of Fort Zeelandia, considered the plan impossible, because 40 armed soldiers were held in reserve who would have been alarmed by the noise. Nevertheless, the sentries near the gate could have been overwhelmed. Hirschmann was of the opinion that the plan would have required dynamite.[27] On 3 April 1911, the judge considered that even though the coup was unlikely to succeed, it would have endangered the lives of the guards of Fort Zeelandia. Even though questions were raised about the mental health of Killinger, he was considered sane.[a] Therefore, Killinger and accomplices were guilty of conspiracy to overthrow the government, and sentenced to death.[30][7]

On 18 April, Governor Fock commuted Killinger's sentence to five-year imprisonment to be served in the Netherlands. Jatan, and the other accomplices received 2 to 2½ years to be served in Suriname.[31][32] Fock wrote in his report to the Minister of Colonies that there was no reason for concern, because he considered the plan a fantasy. He was more concerned, that Killinger had been allowed to join the army and police despite prior convictions.[33]


On 20 April 1911, Killinger was sent to Amsterdam,[34] where he arrived on 11 May 1911.[35] In February 1912, Clara Doppelt, his second wife, moved from Paramaribo to Amsterdam.[36] The co-conspirators were pardoned on 31 August 1912.[37] Killinger was pardoned effective 1 December 1913.[3][38] On 20 January 1914, Algemeen Handelsblad published an interview with Killinger who expressed no regrets, and was convinced that his coup would have been a success, if he had not been betrayed. He thanked the Dutch government for their humane treatment of the incident.[39] Killinger and Doppelt left for Hannover on 23 April 1914.[36]

In 1917, it was reported that he had converted to Islam, and had enlisted in the cavalry of the Ottoman Army as Muhammed Tewfig Killinger.[5][40][1] He remarried Carla Doppelt in Constantinople.[41] As an Ottoman officer, he had fought in Mesopotamia and the Caucasus during World War I.[1]

After World War I, Killinger moved to Prague, and joined the police.[42] In 1919, he visited the Netherlands to promote the fledgling Czechoslovak Republic. Notions that there was animosity between the Germans, Czechs and Slovaks were brushed aside by Killinger who painted an image of a prosperous, peaceful and democratic republic.[43][44]

Most sources state that Killinger died in 1936 in Turkey,[19][7][45] however Wolfgang Killinger claims that he died in 1962 in Ansbach, Bohemia, Germany.[41] A later year of death is likely, because when Suriname became a constituent country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands in 1954, a letter from Killinger was received by the Surinamese government in which he congratulated Suriname on their autonomy, and stated that it was similar to what he had tried to accomplish for the colony.[46]

Other conspiratorsEdit

  • Jatan also Jathan (c. 1862–9 November 1931)[4][47] was born in British India and came to Suriname as an indentured labourer on 11 June 1878. He was sentenced to six months imprisonment for a fight on 9 July 1881. Jatan left for Calcutta on 13 August 1886 and returned as a free citizen on 20 May 1898.[4] He was appointed police officer in October 1898.[48] Jatan and Killinger were best friends,[24][49] and the first person with whom the conspiracy was discussed. He tried to convince Killinger to abandon his plans.[24]
  • Louis Arduin (c. 1880–6 April 1921)[4][50] became a police officer in October 1901.[51] He was a good friend of Killinger,[21] and recruited the other conspirators including his two brothers.[52]
  • James Hughes (born c. 1877) was born in Demarara, British Guiana.[4] He arrived in Suriname in 1892,[53] and became police officer in March 1901.[4] Hughes recruited his former colleague and friend Jacob Schoonhoven on 4 May.[54] He expressed regret during the trial.[55]
  • Emile Sporkslede (born 1877)[56] became a police officer in November 1898.[57] On 20 April 1909, he saved and resuscitated a drowning child,[58] and was awarded a medal.[4]
  • Johannes Arduin (c. 1869–22 February 1950)[59] was the older brother of Louis who worked on a sawmill.[4]
  • Willem Arduin (1870–c. 1941)[60][61] was another brother of Louis who was a carpenter.[4]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Dutch law has a different interpretation of insanity compared to the American insanity defense. If doubts are raised about the mental health of an accused, experts are called, and the sentence can be reduced, however the accused can also be sentenced to mandatory treatment for an indefinite period.[28] In this case, the three experts did not consider him insane,[27] therefore, Killinger was not eligible for a reduced sentence.[29]


  1. ^ a b c "M. Moehamed Tewig Killinger". De banier van waarheid en recht (in Dutch). 10 June 1933. Retrieved 17 January 2022.
  2. ^ "Wie pleegde de eerste staatsgreep in Suriname? (Nee, niet hij)". GFC Nieuws (in Dutch). Retrieved 17 January 2022.
  3. ^ a b "Killinger". Suriname (in Dutch). 9 September 1913. Retrieved 20 January 2022.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m "Hof van Justitie". De Surinamer (in Dutch). 14 March 1911. Retrieved 19 January 2022.
  5. ^ a b "M. Muhammed Tewfig Killinger" (PDF). The Islamic Review. Vol. 12. July 1924. p. 227. Retrieved 18 January 2022.
  6. ^ a b c Ramsoedh 2003, p. 191.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g "De nacht van Killinger". Trouw (in Dutch). 26 May 1990. Retrieved 17 January 2022.
  8. ^ a b Ramsoedh 2003, p. 192.
  9. ^ "Officiele Berichten". Suriname (in Dutch). 17 July 1900. Retrieved 20 January 2022.
  10. ^ a b "Frans Killinger". (in Dutch). Retrieved 17 January 2022.
  11. ^ "Huwelijken". De Surinamer (in Dutch). 24 May 1906. Retrieved 18 January 2022.
  12. ^ Ramsoedh 2003, p. 193.
  13. ^ a b c Ramsoedh 2003, p. 196.
  14. ^ "Scheepvaart". De West (in Dutch). 5 April 1910. Retrieved 22 January 2022.
  15. ^ "Franz Pavel Vaclav Killinger". Dutch National Archive - Stamboeken West-Indische Ambtenaren (in Dutch). p. Folio 2918. Retrieved 22 January 2022. Four requests for mercy were received for Clara Doppelt, and on 21 June, charges were dropped for bigamy.
  16. ^ "Ontbinding huwelijk". De West (in Dutch). 15 July 1910. Retrieved 17 January 2022.
  17. ^ "Vertrokken". De Surinamer (in Dutch). 10 July 1910. Retrieved 22 January 2022.
  18. ^ "Registration on October 1, 1910". Open Archives (in Dutch). Retrieved 18 January 2022.
  19. ^ a b c d e Jacob van den Burg. "Een misluke staatsgreep in de kolonie Suriname". Plantage Jagtlust (in Dutch). Retrieved 17 January 2022.
  20. ^ Ramsoedh 2003, p. 194.
  21. ^ a b c d Ramsoedh 2003, p. 199.
  22. ^ Ramsoedh 2003, p. 197.
  23. ^ a b Prof. dr. Chan E.S. Choenni (28 May 2019). "Hindostaanse geschiedenis in vogelvlucht". Hindorama (in Dutch). Retrieved 17 January 2022.
  24. ^ a b c "Jatan". Suriname (in Dutch). 24 March 1911. Retrieved 22 January 2022.
  25. ^ Ramsoedh 2003, p. 200.
  26. ^ "Poging tot landverraad". Bredasche courant (in Dutch). 7 April 1911. Retrieved 19 January 2022.
  27. ^ a b "Vervolg der Zitting van Vrijdag 17 Maart 1911". De Surinamer (in Dutch). 18 March 1911.
  28. ^ "Onderzoek naar ontoerekeningsvatbaarheid verdachte". Government of the Netherlands (in Dutch). 7 May 2012. Retrieved 21 January 2022.
  29. ^ "Zaak-Killinger". Weekblad van het regt (in Dutch). 25 November 1911. Retrieved 21 January 2022.
  30. ^ "Het politiek komplot". De West (in Dutch). 3 April 1911. Retrieved 19 January 2022.
  31. ^ "Het proces-Killinger c.s." Het vaderland (in Dutch). 9 May 2011. Retrieved 19 January 2022.
  32. ^ Ramsoedh 2003, p. 202.
  33. ^ Ramsoedh 2003, p. 203.
  34. ^ Ramsoedh 2003, pp. 202–203.
  35. ^ "Donderdag 11". Jaarboek der Vereeniging Amstelodamum (in Dutch). 1912. Retrieved 18 January 2022.
  36. ^ a b "Registration on February 1, 1912". Open Archives (in Dutch). Retrieved 17 January 2022. The remarks section contains "van Killinger, den landverraader van Paramaribo"="from Killinger, the traitor of Paramaribo"
  37. ^ "Gratie". Suriname (in Dutch). 3 September 1912. Retrieved 20 January 2022.
  38. ^ "Killinger". De avondpost (in Dutch). 2 December 1913. Retrieved 20 January 2022.
  39. ^ "Een Napolean's droom". Algemeen Handelsblad (in Dutch). 20 January 1914. Retrieved 20 January 2022.
  40. ^ "Killinger?". De West (in Dutch). 13 March 1917. Retrieved 17 January 2022.
  41. ^ a b Wolfgang Killinger. "Die böhmischen Killinger mit Franz Killinger, dem Revoluzzer in Suriname, sowie dem oberschlesischen Familienzweig" (PDF). Familia Austria (in German). p. 12.
  42. ^ "Tot zijn oude vak terug". Suriname (in Dutch). 2 May 1919. Retrieved 21 January 2022.
  43. ^ "Bohemen en Nederlanden". De Standaard (in Dutch). 4 July 1919. Retrieved 21 January 2022.
  44. ^ "Wat een Tsecho-Slowaak vertelde". Het nieuws van den dag (in Dutch). 3 July 1919. Retrieved 21 January 2022. The newspaper complimented the Czechoslovakian Killinger on his proficiency in the Dutch language
  45. ^ Ramsoedh 2003, p. 219.
  46. ^ "Killinger droomde van de toekomststaat Suriname". Het nieuws (in Dutch). 21 May 1960. Retrieved 21 January 2022.
  47. ^ "Overleden". De West (in Dutch). 17 November 1931.
  48. ^ "Officiele Berichten" (in Dutch). 13 October 1898. Retrieved 22 January 2022.
  49. ^ "Vragen en Antwoorden". De West (in Dutch). 14 March 1911. Retrieved 22 January 2022.
  50. ^ "Overleden". De Surinamer (in Dutch). 17 April 1921. Retrieved 22 January 2022.
  51. ^ "Officieele berichten". Nieuwe Surinaamsche courant (in Dutch). 27 October 1901. Retrieved 22 January 2022.
  52. ^ "Beschouwing van het O.M. over de "schuldvraag" der beklaagden". De Surinamer (in Dutch). 19 March 1911. Retrieved 22 January 2022.
  53. ^ "Aangekomen passagiers". De West-Indiër (in Dutch). 3 February 1892. Retrieved 22 January 2022.
  54. ^ "Het getuigenverhoor". De Surinamer (in Dutch). 16 March 1911. Retrieved 22 January 2022.
  55. ^ Ramsoedh 2003, p. 201.
  56. ^ "E.F. Sporkslede". Dutch National Archives (in Dutch). 1921. Retrieved 22 January 2022.
  57. ^ "Officieele berichten". De Surinamer (in Dutch). 27 November 1898. Retrieved 22 January 2022.
  58. ^ "Een mooie daad". Suriname (in Dutch). 20 April 1909. Retrieved 22 January 2022.
  59. ^ "Overleden". De West (in Dutch). 27 February 1950. Retrieved 22 January 2022.
  60. ^ "Registration in 1921". Dutch National Archive (in Dutch). 1921. Retrieved 22 January 2022.
  61. ^ "Overleden". De West (in Dutch). 19 November 1945. Retrieved 22 January 2022.