Blonde Dolly's house in The Hague, photographed after her death.
Sybille Alida Johanna Niemans
September 27, 1927
|Died||October 31, 1959 32) (aged|
|Cause of death||Strangulation|
|Body discovered||2 November 1959|
|Resting place||Westduin Cemetery, The Hague|
|Other names||Zwart Dolly|
Sebilla van den Bergh
|Known for||Murder victim|
|Spouse(s)||Botto van den Bergh|
Sybille Alida Johanna Niemans (27 September 1927, in Amsterdam – 31 October 1959, in The Hague), known as Blonde Dolly, was a Dutch prostitute and businesswoman who was murdered by strangulation. Her murderer was never caught.
Niemans was born in Amsterdam-West on 27 September 1927. Her father, a shoemaker, was Hendricus Johannes Niemans (born 1899) and her mother was Sebilla Alida Johanna Streelder (born 1900). When she was young, her chronically ill mother was admitted to hospital. Niemans and her elder brother were sent to the Groot Kijkduin children's home in Zandvoort. When the Germans occupied the area in WW2, Niemans and her brother went back to Amsterdam to live with their father, who had by now a new wife.
Niemans did not get on with her step-mother. She left home looking for a job and accommodation. Through a fortune teller and an Italian sailor, who was, in fact, a pimp, she entered prostitution in the Kerkstraat. Following a police investigation, she returned to her father and stepmother and started training in dressmaking.
In 1948, Niemans moved to the Hague, where she rented a window at 21 Doubletstraat and returned to prostitution. Soon after she moved to 71 Scheldestraat. In 1950 she brought a house at 498 Nieuwe Haven. She was originally known as Black Dolly (Dutch: Zwart Dolly) from her dark hair, but later bleached it.
Later in 1950 she married Botto van den Bergh, a violinist in Hague's Residentie Orchestra. She accompanied her husband when he was travelling with the orchestra, and was introduced to classical music and the fashion and art worlds. She occasionally worked as a fashion model. Their marriage broke down after a year and, following a lengthy and complex legal procedure, the couple were divorced in 1957.
Niemans was found dead in bed in her house on the Nieuwe Haven on 2 November 1959.It was estimated that she had been strangled on the night of 30/31 October. There were no signs of violence and a considerable amount of cash was found in the building by the police. Robbery was ruled out as a motive for the crime. She was buried in the Westduin Cemetery in The Hague South.
The murder of Blonde Dolly sparked a considerable stir. There was speculation that her "blue book" contained names of high-ranking regular customers. The police refused to release the notebook. This caused rumours that one of these high-ranking people would be involved in her murder. No evidence to substantiate these rumours was ever presented, nor that of a political cover-up.
The international press picked up the case, linking it to the murder in Germany of Rosemarie Nitribitt in 1957, in which there were also allegations of politicians being involved.
The main suspect in the case was a bodyguard named "Gerard V", whose services Niemans had used after another prostitute, Marietje van Es, has been robbed nearby in December 1958. He had fallen in love with Niemans but she had rejected him. He was never charged, and the investigation closed.
According to the politician Hans Gualthérie van Weezel, his father, the police commissioner Jan Gualthérie van Weezel, knew who had committed the murder. Gualthérie van Weezel Sr. would keep a file on the case at home with the instruction to destroy it after his death. Before carrying out this instruction, Gualthérie van Weezel jr. Would have read the name of the perpetrator in the file.
The life and death of Blonde Dolly was incorporated in Michel Dubois' novel Murder on Black Martha (1962), and was portrayed in director Gerrit van Elst 's film Blonde Dolly (1987). Casper Postmaa wrote a book about the case.In 2019 appeared Blonde Dolly by Tomas Ross with new details about the murder.
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