|The webmaster of ARS Website with his wife in front of the legendary Anne Frank House.|
|On July 22, 2022, we participated in a day tour of Veenstra Reizen to the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam. Prior to our visit, we were given a guided walk through the former Jewish neighborhood.|
|I took this photo from the market on Waterloo Square of the Amsterdam canal that ran alongside it.|
|Upon arrival in Amsterdam, we were first given the opportunity to go into the city on our own for lunch. We did so at the Waterlooplein.|
|We were in a cozy eatery on Waterloo Square.|
early 1941, an ordinance came down that all Jews had to register.
Signs saying "forbidden to Jews" and signs saying "Jewish Quarter"
This regulation aroused much anger. In the illegal newspapers a fierce stand was taken against it. The way the WA (a division of the NSB) enforced this regulation went beyond all limits.
In the "Jodenhoek" (the Jewish quarter) windows were smashed, vandalism was caused, and people were mistreated by the WA.
On 10 februari, a confrontation between the WA and the Jewish knuckle-draggers occurred.
After this, the Jewish quarter was
completely sealed off. On 22 February 425 Jewish men were arrested
in retaliation and transported to the Mauthausen extermination camp.
This was the reason for the large and massive "February Strike" a
major protest of the Amsterdam population against these atrocities.
This is commemorated annually at the statue of the Dock Worker.
|The Dock Worker on the Jonas Daniel Meijer Square in Amsterdam commemorating the February Strike of 1941. In the background the building of the Portuguese synagogue. Our guide told us that in that building there is no electricity and candles are used.|
|Razzia's 22 and 23 February 1941|
The WA enforced that everywhere these signs were put up
|The Weerafdeling (WA) of the NSB moves into the Amsterdam Jewish quarter and harasses Jews. The WA members intimidate Jews, vandalize, steal and commit open violence. A countermovement arose, in which Jewish and also non-Jewish Amsterdammers confronted WA'ers in combat squads. On February 11, 1941, there was another riot on the Waterlooplein; there was fighting and WA member Hendrik Koot was severely injured. He dies three days later. His funeral became a huge publicity stunt for the NSB. Koot's death was used to punish the Jews. A number of leaders of the Jewish community were called together and instructed to set up a Judenrat. This became responsible for order and peace in the Amsterdam Jewish community and later that of the entire country. The first task is directly related to the unrest: the Council must see to it that Jews hand in all weapons to the authorities.For weeks a large strike is being prepared, when the Razzia of Amsterdam takes place. This prompts members of the illegal Communist Party of the Netherlands (CPN) to initiate the strike. Some ten thousand employees of various companies lay down their work and strike in Amsterdam on 25 and 26 February. The strike also spreads to other places and companies. Among others in Zaandam, Utrecht, Haarlem and Velsen. The occupying forces intervene forcefully.|
|On 22 February a column of German army trucks enters Waterlooplein and the neighborhood is sealed off. Young Jewish men are taken by the Grüne Polizei (Ordnungspolizei in green uniforms) to the assembly points on Jonas Daniel Meijer Square and Waterloo Square. Here they are humiliated, mistreated and taken away. The next day the same happens and then many non-Jewish Dutch people witness the raid because of the Sunday market on Waterlooplein. A total of 427 Jewish men between the ages of 20 and 35 are rounded up. A major strike has been prepared for weeks when the Amsterdam Razzia takes place. This prompts members of the illegal Communist Party of the Netherlands (CPN) to initiate the strike. Some ten thousand employees of various companies lay down their work and strike in Amsterdam on 25 and 26 February. The strike also spreads to other places and companies. Among others in Zaandam, Utrecht, Haarlem and Velsen. The occupying forces intervene forcefully.|
Razzia on Jonas Daniel Meijerplein Amsterdam 22-23 February 1941.
Trucks of the Grüne Polizei on Waterlooplein 22 February 1941.
|Arrests on Waterlooplein. Most likely this photo was taken secretly.|
|This shot of the Waterlooplein raid was taken from a window. It shows German soldiers facing imprisoned Jews and cars of the Grüne Polizei driving up the square to take the detainees to Schoorl.|
|Jewish men in the Jodenbreestraat during the razzia on 22 February 1941.|
Empty Jewish houses.
After the war, the horrible truth about
the extermination camps began to sink in. The Jewish quarter
(Jodenhoek) was empty, the houses that had been evacuated by the
German occupiers had been looted, demolished or burned down in the
cold winter of 1944. And of the Jewish population, only a bitterly
small proportion returned. Gone were they, those traders, the street
trade, the hustle and bustle. It had become quiet in the
neighborhood. With the 1950 Reconstruction Act, a start was made to
make this neighborhood habitable again
It would be many years before the neighborhood regained a habitable appearance, the Nieuwmarkt riots, the opposition to the construction of the subway and the construction of City Hall caused a stir.
|Prior to our visit to the Anne Frank House, we took a walking tour of the Jewish Quarter led by a guide who clearly had a love for people and was moved by the fate that befell the Jews during the war.|
of the General Dutch Diamond Workers Union (ANDB) in Berlage style
at the Henri Polaklaan 8 Amsterdam. The building had to radiate
grandeur. Visitors had to enter the building via a stately
In de voorgevel is in de toren een diamand zichtbaar.
|The Small Plantage Henri Polaklaan 6-10 Amsterdam. Portuguese Jewish hospital where Jewish men exempt from deportation were sterilized between May 1943 and summer 1944|
The Plantage Middenlaan is a street in
the Plantage neighborhood in Amsterdam-Centre. It is the main street
of the Plantage neighborhood and dates from the great city expansion
of 1658. The
Plantage Middenlaan lies in the extension of Muiderstraat and runs
in a southeasterly direction to the Alexanderplein. It is crossed by Plantage Kerklaan.
|Auschwitz monument in Wertheimpark|
|In Werhheimpark we stood at the Auschwitz monument. Here is an annual commemoration of the liberation of Auschwitz on 27 January 1945. The Auschwitz Memorial (also known as mirror monument 'Never Again Auschwitz' or Broken Mirrors) is a Dutch memorial in the Wertheim Park in Amsterdam commemorating those who perished in the Auschwitz concentration camp and the other concentration and extermination camps. The monument was designed in 1977 by writer and visual artist Jan Wolkers. Wolkers was commissioned to create a monument over an urn containing the ashes of victims of the Auschwitz concentration camp.|
View of houses adjacent to Wertheim Park.
|People in hiding in Artis|
|From September 1941, under pressure from the Germans, Jews were no longer allowed to visit public places. Also ARTIS was forbidden to Jews from then on. ARTIS was used as a hiding place. One of the hiding places was the attic of the Predator Gallery.|
Visitors at the just-opened Monkey Rock, 24 May 1940.
German soldiers feed a monkey in the monumental Monkey House.
|About 250 men were in hiding in Amsterdam's Artis during World War II. The Germans took fairly good care of the animals, which was beneficial to the people in hiding. As a result, they had reasonable food during the last difficult years of the war.|
German soldiers at the lion's pit.
|Amsterdam population registry|
|In The building next to the entrance of Artis, now a restaurant, housed the Amsterdam population register from 1941. On 27 March 1943 an attack by the resistance took place here. The aim was to destroy personal data that was used for the deportation of the Jews.|
|In the photo the havoc after the attack. The famous resistance hero Gerrit van der Veen was one of the leaders.|
|The Hollandsche Schouwburg is a Jewish monument on Plantage Middenlaan in Amsterdam. Between 1893 and 1942 it was a theater. In the war years of 1942 and 1943 it was a gathering place from which Jews were deported via Kamp Westerbork and Kamp Vught to the extermination camps of Nazi Germany.|
Registration of arrested Jews in the Hollandsche Schouwburg.
|The Jews were gathered in the Hollandsche Schouwburg and had to wait there for their deportation under miserable conditions.|
|Gretha (Greetje) Velleman in the Hollandsche Schouwburg. Amsterdam, 6 December 1924 - Auschwitz, 30 September 1942. Reached the age of 17. Gretha Velleman was a shoe saleswoman in a Bata store in the Van Swindenstraat in Amsterdam.|
Jews gathered in the Hollandsche Schouwburg.
|Crêche Hollandsche Schouwburg|
|Opposite the Hollandsche Schouwburg on Plantage Middenlaan was the creche. The Germans could not stand the screaming of small children in a crowded building, where all the Jews in and around Amsterdam were crammed before being deported to the transit camp Westerbork before being transported by train to the extermination camps. Therefore, a kindercrêche was created opposite the Hollandsche Schouwburg.|
Jewish children with caregiver circa 1942
|The Hollandsche Schouwburg child smuggling operation was a secret operation by several Dutch resistance groups to send Jewish children into hiding who had been gathered at the Hollandsche Schouwburg for deportation to concentration camps.The operation was co-led by the theater's manager, Walter Süskind, who, because of his fluent German and the fact that he had been at school with SS officer Ferdinand aus der Fünten, who was then working in Amsterdam, enjoyed the trust of the Germans. Without arousing suspicion, he was able to falsify the data of registered Jewish children and let them escape via the nursery located opposite the theater at 31 Plantage Middenlaan, which was in use as an annex., Henriëtte Pimentel, and the Amsterdam economist Felix Halverstad, who also worked in the theater, a method was set up to get the children out.|
Henriëtte Pimentel did not abandon her children.
There were several methods of escape.
Babies were taken around the back through the garden to the
Hervormde Kweekschool at number 27 whose director, Johan van Hulst,
cooperated and where the crèche had an extra dormitory. From the
crèche they went out in a bag, basket or backpack. They also used
the moment the streetcar passed to let the children escape through
the front door. The leaders would take the older children on short
walks in the street, making sure that a child got away. The children
were taken by streetcar and train to Limburg, Drenthe and Friesland
where the resistance arranged hiding addresses.
Pimentel en Cohen-Kattenburg brought as many children as possible to members of the resistance. Four resistance groups were involved in taking care of the children: the Naamloze Vennootschap (NV group) with Joop Woortman, the Utrechts Kindercomité, the Trouw group and the Amsterdamse Studenten Groep (also called the Meerburg group or the Van Doorn group) with Piet Meerburg, who broke off his law studies to help this group. Together, the various groups saved about a thousand Jewish children from the crèche.
Halverstad en Süskind made sure that the children's registrations were removed from the records. This work was done without the knowledge of the leadership of the Jewish Council. It is estimated, among others by researcher Bert Jan Flim, that during eighteen months about five hundred to seven hundred children must have been saved, most of whom ended up in Limburg and Friesland. Gisela Wieberdink-Söhnlein, a member of the Utrecht group, claims there must have been 1100. Meerburg stated that if the Dutch government in exile had reported more about the fate of Jews, many more Jewish parents would have been willing to give up their children for hiding.
Monument Plantage Middenlaan 9.
The text on the monument reads:
|At number 4 van de Plantage Middenlaan stands Studio Desmet. It now has an ornate Art-Deco facade. The then famous playwright Rika Hopper performed here in her own theater. She lived nearby but liked to come by cab. From September 1941, only Jews were allowed to visit the theater and the theater, run by the non-Jewish director Sellmeijer, was called the "Theater of Laughter." In the spring of 1942 it was closed. From 1944 to 1946, the theater experienced another brief heyday as the Hortus Theater. In 1946, under the name Desmet, the building reopened as a cinema, purchased by Theo Desmet and named after his uncle, film distributor and pioneer Jean Desmet (1875-1956). Until 1997, cinema Desmet/Cine D. was one of the most popular arthouse/off-circuit cinemas in Amsterdam. After a thorough renovation, Desmet Studios opened its doors in 2001 and to this day hosts radio and television recordings and live broadcasts. Besides the broadcast facilities, Desmet Studio's is also used as a venue for a wide variety of events: parties and receptions, concerts, trainings, weddings, seminars, meetings, CD, book and product presentations etc.|
|Plantage Parklaan 9: office of the Jewish Council|
|Plantage Parklaan 9: Facade stone with 'Jewish Council'. Here was an office of the Jewish Council during the war. It became one of the places where Jews had to buy their stars. Anne Frank and her family bought their stars here.|
|Plantage Middenlaan around 1900. Striking are the beautiful trees. Because the construction of the canal belt stagnated, the canals were not extended in the 17th century.|
The Plantage Middenlaan during the liberation in May 1945.
|Nieuwe Keijzersgracht: Stolpersteine|
Arriving at the Nieuwe Keijzersgracht,
our guide shows us stumbling stones and Jewish names on the quay,
reminders that many Jews lived here who were deported. The German
artist Gunter Demnig began laying the first Stolperstein in the
Berlin neighborhood of Kreuzberg in 1997.
Since then, there have been Stolpersteine in many countries. It is a reminder of the Holocaust in World War II. A Stolperstein is a concrete stone of 10 x 10cm, with a brass plate on top in which the name, date of birth and death and the place of death is punched. The Stolperstein is placed in the sidewalk in front of the former residence of the victim.
In this way Gunter Demnig gives each victim his own monument.
His motto is: "A person is only forgotten when his name is forgotten".
Names of Jewish residents across the street New Keizersgracht 56.
|Name of a Jewish resident and reference to the Jewish Council building across the street from 58 Nieuwe Keizersgracht.|
|Nieuwe Keijzersgracht: Building of the Jewish Council|
|The Joodsche Raad for Amsterdam was a Jewish organization created on the initiative of the German occupiers in February 1941 to govern the Jewish community in Amsterdam. After six months this council was responsible for the whole of the Netherlands. Through the Jewish Council the occupier gave orders to the Jewish community and its leaders, so that the institution became a conduit for the anti-Jewish measures. In September 1943 the leadership of the Jewish Council was deported to the Westerbork transit camp and the Council de facto ceased to exist.|
In 1941, by order of the German
occupier, the Jewish Council was created, an organization charged
with maintaining communication between the Germans and the Jewish
population. The Council consisted mainly of influential Amsterdam
notables, including diamond merchant Abraham Asscher and professor
Initially started with the idea of serving the Jewish community as best as possible, the Council was soon confronted with a diabolical dilemma surrounding the anti-Jewish measures and the paper organization of the deportations: refuse and give the Nazis a free hand or cooperate in order to, as Cohen declared after the war, "prevent worse." After all, the Council also had the option of keeping people from being transported, even if temporarily, by having them work for them, for example. In 1943, when most of the Jewish community had already been deported, they were forced to give up their own employees for transport.
Eighty years later this issue is still on everyone's mind. In the memorial program The Jewish Council Winfried Baijens talks to the researchers Erik Somers and Laurien Vastenhout. Somers published the post-war mémoires of David Cohen, Vastenhout recently obtained her doctorate with research on the Dutch Jewish Council and the similar Belgian and French associations that were established by order of the Germans.
The program also features former secretary of the Jewish Council, Mirjam Bolle-Levie. She is now 104 years old and says, "They had no choice, they didn't know what would happen.(...) I didn't do things, I believe, that sent Jews away or anything and I wasn't ashamed of it."
|Holocaust Names Memorial|
|Finally, we visited the impressive Holocaust Names Monument on Weesperstraat, the beating heart of Amsterdam's Jewish neighborhood before the war. More than 102,000 victims of the Holocaust who have no grave have been given a name on this monument. These are the names of all the Jews, Roma and Sinti who were deported from the Netherlands and murdered. We saw the names of Anne and Margot Frank but also the name of butcher Sleutelberg, the family where my mother-in-law used to be a housekeeper.|
|Anne Frank House|
|After the impressive walk through the Jewish Quarter, we took the bus to the Anne Frank House. The Anne Frank House is a museum at Westermarkt 20 in Amsterdam that commemorates Anne Frank and her Jewish family who went into hiding during the Second World War. The museum is built around their hiding place the Achterhuis (The Secret Annex) at Prinsengracht 263 where Anne Frank wrote her famous diary Het Achterhuis. Here we saw the famous revolving bookcase, behind which was the Secret Annex, where Anne Frank hid together with her Jewish family and acquaintances. We entered the building through the newly built entrance. The museum had been thoroughly renovated and, as is unfortunately the case with many war museums, had to give way on authenticity. The whole is modernised and crammed with multimedia. You no longer feel the silence and tension that were probably still present in those days. We were with a group and instead of a guided tour, we were given a walkman that told the story in an uninterrupted stream of words that we could not follow. That made it hard to concentrate. We walked through Anne Frank's bedroom but hardly realised that the girl had slept there. It is hard to imagine that people from all over the world travel to Amsterdam to visit the Anne Frank House. It was not allowed to take photos. Why is still not clear to me. It was all empty modernised rooms with very little to see apart from the multimedia violence. I did take a museum guide with me that contained numerous photos. Also how it would have been when the furniture was still in the rooms. I will place a number of photos on this site. That's better than nothing. Incidentally, it was Anne's father, Otto Frank, who wanted the rooms no longer to be furnished when the museum was opened in 1947. He wanted this to symbolise that after the arrest of the people in hiding, the Germans emptied the building.|
Anne Frank's original writings.
Clockwise from top left: the storybook, Anne's diaries (the first
book, the red-checked diary, the second book), the beautiful
phrasebook, and the loose sheets on which Anne rewrote her diary to
form the Secret Annex.
Photo collection: Anne Frank House, Amsterdam / photo: Allard Bovenberg
|On 6 June 1944, the Frank family in the Secret Annex rejoiced when it became known that the Allies had landed on the Normandy coast. From that moment on, there was hope that liberation was getting closer. Otto Frank followed the advance of the Allied armies by marking their positions with little pins. This map can still be seen in the Anne Frank House.|