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3/1 Gaza protest criticises politicians

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Wehrmacht holiday pictures

16 May 2007 - Recording war experiences on film, who would not want that? With that slogan, Carl Zeiss sold photo cameras to German soldiers at the beginning of the war. In Amsterdam, solders posed at Dam Square and in a round trip boat near the Rokin.

Some ten percent of German soldiers owned a camera. Special photo albums were sold with ‘Mein Dienstzeit’ (my time in military service) written on the cover, or an image of a tank or a helmet. In the Netherlands, soldiers mainly took pictures during the first years of the occupation, when it still felt like being on a holiday.

Just as the American army today tries to prevent blogging soldiers painting a negative picture of the war, there were also rules for the boys in the Wehrmacht and the Kriegsmarine. Photos of weapons, executions and German victims were in principle taboo, although these rules were not always respected.

The Rijksmuseum has bought eleven photo albums and over two separate hundred photos, ‘because they add a dimension to the image of the Netherlands during the first years of the German occupation through the eyes of the German soldier’.

In addition, the book Heinz in Holland has been published, containing partly the same photos as the ones that are now exhibited at the Rijksmuseum.

Incidentally, visitors of the Rijksmuseum run the risk of having to wait in line for thirty minutes. Chances to avoid having to wait in line are best at 9.00 am and on Friday night.

Opening hours. Heinz in Amsterdam has been published by Uitgeverij Vantilt (22.50 euro).


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