On 28 april 2011 I took part in a walk through Amsterdam with the theme Amsterdan in World War Two Our English guide Michelle Steele of slagveldreizen.nl took us to places that played an important role during the war in Amsterdam. The walk began at the boathouse on the corner of Prinsengracht and Leliegracht, 50 meters away from Anne Frank House. We learned about the subjects: the entry of the Wehrmacht in 1940, the February Strike 1941, the Holocaust, colloboration and resistance, the Winter of Hunger 1944-1945, shooting on the Dam on 7 mei 1945 and the liberation by the Canadians.
|The Prinsengracht with a long queue for the Anne Frank House and the Westertoren. Left on the corner the Boathouse where we began our walk through Amsterdam.|
|Our starting point was the Boat House on the corner of Prinsengracht and Leliegracht. Michelle Steele was our guide. The tour was in Dutch but I was the only Dutchman who took part in the walk. But that was no problem for me at all.|
Departure from Leliegracht
Anne Frank House
|The hiding place in the Anne Frank House behind this bookcase|
This statue of Anne Frank is around the corner near the Westerkerk
War Memorial behind the Westerkerk, which was taken in mind that people on the basis of race, ethnicity or orientation had to wear a colored triangle in the concentration camps. This monument is shaped like a triangle.
|Waffen-SS in de Raadhuisstraat, between Westerkerk en Royal Palace 15 mei 1940. The same location today: Raadhuisstraat Aspen Hotel.|
|On 15 mei 1940 the Germans entered Amsterdam by the Berlage bridge, welcomed by sympathizers, probably NSB members.|
|De Berlage bridge today. Not much has changed.|
|Entry of the Germans on the Rokin. It may be that the NSB was pleased that the Germans occupied the Netherlands, for they were indeed at the beginning of the war interned by the thousands and now they were free again. Maybe a thanks.|
|Bystanders watching the Germans entering Amsterdam.|
|Monument to Jewish Boys Orphanage|
A ribbon of stone along the Amstel River, not far
from the current musical theater, recalls the nearly three hundred
children and carers of the Jewish boys orphanage Megadlé Jethomiem
who were deportated to concentration camp Sobibor by the German
occupier. Megadlé Jethomiem (the educaters of orphans) was found in 1738
by the High German community. In the beginning the orphan college
paid for food, clothes and education of the boys grewing up in
Jewish families, but in the 19th Century when the care fell an
orphanage became necessary. In 1836 the first house opened at the
meanwhile disappeared Zwanenburgerstraat. In 1865 the new orphanage
at the Amstel was opened, on the corner of Zwanenburgerstraat,
Cornelis Outshoorn (1810-1875), also the architect of Amstel
The orphan boys had special responsibilities in the Jewish community. On a funural of a deceased regent they walked for the coffin and they said the Kaddish prayer for the childless contributors of the orphan college.
After the Second World War the orphanage served as a starting point for the orphan boys towards israel
The building on the Amstel is sold and eventually demolished in 1977.
|Today here is the Music Theater Amsterdam, also called the Stopera. It is a theater special built for the performance of operas, Thans staat hier het Muziektheater Amsterdam dat ook wel de Stopera wordt genoemd. Het is een theater dat speciaal gebouwd is voor het opvoeren van opera's, ballets and other forms of music. The Music Theater is part of a building complex named Stopera, a combination of the Amsterdam city hall and the Music Theater. The building was opened on 23 September 1986 at Amstel 3 in Amsterdam. In memory of the drama that happened on this location a monument has been cemented in the street in front of the building.|
|Here we stand in front of the Music Theater watching the monument en bekijken het monument in the form of a ribbon in the street with the text written above.|
Dock Worker is a statue on the Jonas Daniel Meyer Square in
Amsterdam to commemorate the February Strike of 1941.
The Dock Worker was not always on the place where he is today. In 1970, the image moves in the direction of the synagogue because of work on the subway and the Stopera.
FEBRUARY STRIKE IN 1941
When we are the
former Jewish district in Amsterdam we commemorate the February
Strike of 1941
In Amsterdam tension running high at the beginning of 1941. Besides the discriminatory measures against the Jews (now there is a cinema ban declared), there are confrontations between Jewish youths and provocative members of the WA, the uniformed branch of the NSB.
This has already started when the end of November
1940 the NSB a march organized by the Jewish Quarter. In December,
there are actions on Catering: WA wants to force the owners of cafes
and restaurants to put up signs with the words 'Jews not wanted'. Jewish youths organize
themselves into gangs and go to attack WA men.
It is less clear who is the boss in
the streets: police, WA, gangs, the Germans?
Leader of the NSB Anton Mussert at the funeral of WA-man Koot
dead of Koot and the temporarely close of the Jewish quarter
tension is running increasingly higher. Vertaling van het Nederlands
in het Engels
|The raid op 22 february 1941|
workers, office clerks and civil servants sespond to the
mimeographed call to strike and went to the streets. Rauter, head of
the SS and police was unlikely surprised (strikes are unknown in the
Third Reich). He sent battalions Waffen SS to Amsterdam to stop the
unrest. they were allowd to shoot with sharp. In the streets of
Amsterdam nine death were fallen and twenty serious wouded. Also
strike to the nearby cities as Hilversum, Zaandam, Haarlem and
Utrecht and continued also the next day. But the force the Waffen SS
is using and the threat of much sharper reprisels (mass arresting of
Jews) make an end to the actions. The Germans arrest people who are
suspected to have shared in the organisation. At least twenty were
shot by a firing squad. They replace the mayors of the cities where
strikes have been held by pro-German successors and thy put millions
of guilders in fines to municipalities they hold responsible for the
strike of their civil servants.
The anxiety is well in Amsterdam. When two years later the April/May striks break out Amsterdam stays out. Anyway the strike has been significant as symbol of action and promotion for further resistance. It was the only anti-progrom strike in the whole Second World War.
|Sicherheitsdienst (SD) at the Euterpestraat Amsterdam|
THE EUTERPESTRAAT In early 1940, the HBS
and Christian high school for girls on Euterpestraat in South
Amsterdam was occupied by the Sicherheitsdienst (SD) and the Office
of the Zentralstelle für Judische Auswanderung.
The SD, with commander Willy Lages, tortured and interrogated the resistance, those who hided the resistance and Jews. The SD (Sicherheitsdienst) was established as the security and information service of the SS by Himmler in 1931. As such, the department worked closely with the Kripo and the Gestapo,
from which they gradually took over more responsibilities
From 1937 on the SD functioned within Germany as intelligence gathering information about ideological opponents; Messages were also written about the mood of the population. The SD-Auslandsnachrichtendienst also collected through a web of informants data abroad. After the outbreak of World War II and establishment of the RSHA and Gestapo wore Kripomedewerkers in the occupied territories including the SD sign on their uniforms.
In Amsterdam, the head of the Gestapo had its headquarters on Euterpe Street, in The Hague were their offices at Rijswijkseweg and Westbroekpark. During the Nuremberg trials, the SD was regarded as a criminal organization.
|The Jewish ghetto in Amsterdam|
|Soon after the invasion the presecution of Jews began. The Germans established a 'Jewish council'. That was mainly to organise in an efficient manner the identification and deportation of Jews. A significant number of people were willing to organise this 'Council' and Jews were told that they were save if they were registered. There were only few who did not so, mostly because it would 'endanger the Jewish community'. Also among the Dutch population there was less resistance in that time and an eventual victory of the allies seemed to be far away. As soon as the Germans had gathered anough information the mask fell, all promises were broken and the deportations began. In 1942 near Hooghalen a transit camp (in German Durchgangslager) called Westerbork for the Jews was set up. Also at Vught (concentrationcamp Herzogenbosch) and Amersfoort concentrationcamps were set up. Finally 107.000 of the 140.000 Jews who lived in pre-war Holland, were deported to the east. 101.800 were murdered or succumbed to forced labor in concentration camps. Among the victims was Anne Frank, who later became famous for her diary written while she sat hiding. In protest against the deportations the Dutch population held the February 1941 strike. Although it was without any result , this was a big setback for Seyss-Inquart, because his intent was to deport the Jews and to win the Dutch for National Socialism. From that time on the Germans to win this time the Nazis stopped with the method of soft approach.|
|In 1942 and 1943 the theater located in the heart of the Jewish quarter, was used by the Germans as a gathering place and for deportation from where Jews were deported to Westerbork and to the German concentrationcamps. Only a few survived. 104.000 Dutch Jews were murdered in the deathcamps of the German occupier. Earlier Hauptstrurmfuhrer SS Ferdinand Hugo aus der Funten, who was charged with the managemt of the deportation of Dutch Jews as representive of the so called Zentrallstelle fur Judische Auswanderung, has investigated which location would be most suitable to keep large groups of Jews in prison for a short period pending deportation.|
Suskind, the manager of the theater when the Jews were persecuted,
played a special role. Together with Felix Halverstadt, Henriette Pimentel
and Johan van Hulst he succeeded in let escape rom the theater
through the opposite creche.
In November 1958 the municipality of Amsterdam decided to organize the Dutch theater as a monument. The facade was restored and largely demolished the rear. The auditorium became a courtyard. At the site of the former scene an obelisk was erected. The memorial was designed by architect L. Waterman. On 4 May 1962 the eternal flame was by the then mayor Gijs van Hall lit the eternal flame.
|Shooting on the Dam 7 May 1945|
On 7 May 1945, Two days after the capitulation, the
liberation was celebrated at the Dam in Amsterdam At 15.00 hours
there was a shooting by German marines from the roof of the Groote
Club. There were 19 dead and 117 wounded.
On 5 May 1945 the German army in the Netherlands had surrendered, bringing an end to the Second World War for the Netherlands. On 7 May 1945, two days after the liberation, it is party time on the Dam in Amsterdam. Thousands of people gathered to welcome the Canadian liberators. who are expected on that day.
Music sounded from the barrel organ “Het Snotneusje” and people danced around.
After years of oppression the crowd thought they had no longer to be feared. The city however is still full of armed German soldiers. The great joy turned to panic when suddenly the crowd was shot from De Groote Club. Around 15.00 hours German soldiers of the Kriegsmarine shot the partying crowed for still unknown reasons. There was panic and people flied in all directions. Many tried to rescue themselves by running to Damrak and surrounding streets. A number of people took cover behind lampposts and the barrel organ, but further the main square offered less places to hide. A massacre was the result. There were nineteen deaths and there were over one hundred wounded. They were shot or trampled. The Dutch Lieutenant Colonel Carel Frederik Overhoff the Regional Commander of the militant section of the Home Forces, Region 10, in Amsterdam, has risked his lives by intervening during the shooting. On a motorcycle with sidecar, only accompanied by a German officer and a sergeant of the royal military police, an end to the firing, while the driver was fatally hit.
|During the war in the building of the Groote Club also an agency of the SS was established.|
|In the same building still exists. Also the appearance is hardly changed.|
|The liberation of Amsterdam by Canadian troops 8 May 1945|