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3/1 Gaza protest criticises politicians

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Resistance in the Rivierenbuurt

13 February 2008 - During the German occupation, boys living in the Rivierenbuurt secretly sowed Marigold - symbol of the Dutch Royal House - in the front garden of a member of the National Socialist Movement (NSB). Jos Wiersema has dedicated a page of his Zuidelijke Wandelweg website to the resistance in the Rivierenbuurt.

At the beginning of the war, 17,000 Jews lived in the Rivierenbuurt, among them Anne Frank. The neighbourhood was therefore an important target for German repression.

Within months after the Dutch capitulation, a resident of what was then the Amstellaan (now Vrijheidslaan) started to publish a newsletter, which would later develop into het Parool, one of the most important clandestine resistance newspapers.

A duplicator in a house at the Lekstraat was used to print the ‘Strike!!! Strike!!! Strike!!!’ pamphlet used to mobilise Amsterdammers for the February 1941 strike against the treatment of the Jews. For two days, the city came to a standstill. In order to break the strike, the Germans killed nine people.

One of the most well-known members of the resistance, sculptor Gerrit van der Veen, lived in a studio at the Zomerdijkstraat. Van der Veen set up an organisation that created 80,000 fake ID cards. He also participated in a raid of the municipal register at the Plantage Middenlaan, attempting to destroy files so as to prevent people being traced. In 1944, he was executed by a firing squad.

To what extent the Dutch resistance really made a difference is a matter of debate. “I don’t know, but at least I understand that many, whether organised or not, were involved in resistance against the occupiers. A large number had to pay a very large price”, Wiersema comments.

Zuidelijke Wandelweg (in Dutch). Image: Jewish residents awaiting deportation in the Lekstraat, 1943 (Photo from website, photographer unknown)


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