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.
Ons vertrekpunt was het Boothuis aan de Leliegracht. Michelle Steele was onze gids. De tour was in het Engels, maar ik was dan ook de enige Nederlander die mee deed.
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

Oorlogsmonument achter de Westerkerk, waarbij in gedachte is genomen dat mensen op grond van hun ras, afkomst of geaardheid een gekleurde driehoek moesten dragen in de concentratiekampen. Dit monument heeft de vorm van zo'n driehoek.

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.
Op 15 mei 1940 trokken de Duitsers over de Berlage brug Amsterdam binnen, toegejuicht door sympatisanten, waarschijnlijk uit NSB kringen.
On 15 mei 1940 the Germans entered  Amsterdam by the Berlage bridge, welcomed by sympathizers, probably NSB members.
De Berlage brug nu. Aan het bouwwerk in nauwelijks iets veranderd.
De Berlage bridge today. Not much has changed.
Intocht van de Duitsers op het Rokin. Het kan zijn dat de NSB'ers verheugd waren dat de Duitsers Nederland bezetten, want ze waren immers aan het begin van de oorlog bij duizenden geïnterneerd en nu waren ze weer vrij. Misschien een dankbetuiging.
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.
Afwachtend, maar misschien ook wel gelaten, staan omstanders te kijken hoe de Duitsers Amsterdam binnentrekken.
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, designed by Cornelis Outshoorn (1810-1875), also the architect of Amstel Hotel.
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.
Tekst op het monument


We staan hier voor het Muziektheater en bekijken het monument in de vorm van een lint in de straat en lezen de tekst zoals hierboven beschreven.
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.

The Dock Worker is a statue on the Jonas Daniel Meyer Square in Amsterdam to commemorate the February Strike of 1941.

The statue was designed and made by the sculptor Mari Andriessen on commission of the Amsterdam City Council
In 1951 Willem Termetz posed for this statue. Termetz was a Harlem carpenter/contracter who already knew Andriessen before the war. It is thought that they were together in the resistance.
The heavy construction of Termetz' body had the appearance that Mari Andriessen was looking for. Due to the nature of the statue (The February Strike) Willem Termetz was nog eager to be immortalized as an image. Finally Godfried Bomans persuaded him to pose.
After several designs in a plaster model the final version should be ready by mid 1951  It was one year later. The statue of the Dock Worker was poured in a foundry in Paris.
By photographs the statue became kown in the press. On 28 March 1952 the Harlem Newspaper wrote: "For symbolization Mari Andriessen has taken an ordinary docker and by no means an idealized worker".

In December 1952 Queen Juliana revealed the statue and since then the statue is the centrality of the annual commemoration of the strike on February 25. Also the monument has been the start or finish of demonstrations against racism. 

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.


When we are the former Jewish district in Amsterdam we commemorate the February Strike of 1941
The statue The Dockworker on the Jonas Daniël Meijer Square herinnert reminds to that strike. In the Dutch  NPS TV series The War part 3 attention has been paid to the February Strike.

NSB rellen bij cafe-cabaret Akcazar

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.

NSB riots at cafe-cabaret Akcazar

It is less clear who is the boss in the streets: police, WA, gangs, the Germans?
It develops a kind of urban warfare, with even a death: the WA-man H. Koot who dies of injury sustained in a street fight. His funeral becomes a great NSB-demonstration. The special representative of Seyss-Inquart in Amsterdam, dr Hans Bohmcker, gives the order to close a part of the Jewish quarter as reprasaille

Leader of the NSB Anton Mussert at the funeral of WA-man Koot

After the dead of Koot and the temporarely close of the Jewish quarter  tension is running increasingly higher. Vertaling van het Nederlands in het Engels
On 19 February 1941 there is a new incident between a group members of the NSB and and a Jewish vigilante group in Koco, an icecream salon in Amsterdam South. Hanns Albin Rauter, the highest German police authority in the Netherlands, then demands that tough measures are taken. He proposes for the arrest of a group of Jewish men, and receives approval of his highest chiefs in Germany, Heinrich Himmler and in the Netherlands Arthur Seyss-Inquart.
On Saterday afternoon 22 februari 1941, and the next sundaymorning six hundred men of the Ordungspolizei perform an action in the Jewish quarter. They arrest about 400 Jewish men, in the age of 20-35 years. We know how that was going that Saturday afternoon 22 February 1941, since photographs were taken by a German soldier and a photo lab in Amsterdam printed them secretly double. Those arrested are send to German concentration camps, including Mauthausen from Schoorl, where almost no one has been released alive.

The raid op 22 february 1941
Factory 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.
Walther 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.
In het gebouw van de Groote Club was in de oorlog tevens een wervingsbureau van de SS gevestigd.
During the war in the building of the Groote Club also an agency of the SS was established.
Hetzelfde gebouw bestaat nog steeds. Ook aan het uiterlijk is nauwelijks iets veranderd.
In the same building still exists. Also the appearance is hardly changed.
The liberation of Amsterdam by Canadian troops  8 May 1945