Peter Beekman was a Dutch comic artist and illustrator, best known for his work for national-socialist publications during World War II. He studied drawing and printing techniques and debuted as an illustrator in the 1930s. In the years prior to the War, he worked as an illustrator for magazines and papers like Cricket (1936), Sport in beeld (1936), Nieuwe Haagsche Courant (1936-1937), De Telegraaf (1937-1938) and Motor (1938-1939). He was also doing advertising jobs for department stores V&D and De Bijenkorf.
Beekman joined the Dutch national-socialist party NSB in early 1940, apparently as counterbalance to his brother who was a member of the SDAP. During the early years of the War, he was head of press matters with the Dutch national-socialist party NSB. He illustrated several books for the Volksche Uitgeverij Westland, that was under German supervision.
For the national-socialist publisher Nenasu (Nederlands Nationaal-Socialistische Uitgeverij) and newspaper Het Nationale Dagblad, he made the newspaper comic 'Hansje, Ansje en de Meeuw', in which the main character is a member of the Jeugdstorm, the Dutch equivalent of the Hitler Jugend. Nevertheless, the story contains only few elements of propaganda.
Beekman also made the series 'Rare, Maar Ware Commentaren' in the NSB magazine Volk en Vaderland. This strip was continued by Cor van Deutekom from December 1942. Peter Beekman has made illustrations for the articles by pro-German journalist Max Blokzijl. He additionally drew for the monthly Ontwakend Volk, published by Nenasu, and the WA weekly De Zwarte Soldaat. However, Beekman also had conflicts with the German occupier. By 1942 he was laid off from his activities for a while, because of the way he had portrayed Adolf Hitler, which the Germans considered not so flattering. It was later during the War that Beekman drifted away from the NSB and found employment with the printing firm Van Boekhoven in Utrecht.
self-portrait in 'Rare Maar Ware Commentaren'
After the War, he had to justify himself for his cooperation with the Germans. He was acquitted of prosecution in August 1947 and spent his final years heading Van Boekhoven's drawing studio. He was also an editor and illustrator for the Navy magazine Stella Maris, that was founded by his brother, Fleet Chaplain W. Beekman OFM after the war in 1946.
Floris Flapoor, in Stella Maris
Using pseudonyms like PEBAn and later Pan, he illustrated the continuing story 'Geheime opdracht' and sections like 'Floris Flapoor' and 'Marinekrabbels'. Beekman has additionally designed posters and albums for Philips records. Pieter Joannes Marie Beekman, who had suffered from heart disease for a long time, passed away in 1959.
Covers for Stella Maris #1954-4 and 1955-5