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1943 Deportations and attacks
Jewish neighbourhood
Jewish neighbourhood
Jewish neighbourhood
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© Stadsarchief Amsterdam

Joop Zoutberg - Mrs. Feitsma couldn’t leave Japie behind

‘One nice sunny afternoon in 1942 our street was cut off. Every house was searched and those who had not already left were taken. My parents, my brother, sister and I watched from our balcony how all our neighbours formed an ever increasing line in the middle of the street.

From the balcony we saw Mrs Feitsma and her other son Philip leave their house and join the long line of people. Nobody said anything, there was a stony silence. Then we saw Mrs. Feitsma approach a German soldier, it looked as if she was asking him something. Then the door bell went and Mrs. Feitsma came upstairs, she’d had second thoughts, she couldn’t leave Japie behind. “If we see my husband in the camp then he’ll want to see both of his sons.” she explained. It was so obvious that people had no idea of what lay ahead of them.

But there were also people who knew exactly what lay ahead. When our neighbour Mrs. Kleijnkramer left she was in a total panic. Out of the stony silence came her voice, in a hysterical cry of despair she screamed; “We’re all going to be gassed, we’re all going to be gassed.” Nobody reacted, nobody said anything. I remember it because I didn’t know what she meant by the word ‘gassed’. That evening about two hundred people were taken from our street.’

 

Source: Extract from Machteloos? Ooggetuigen van de Jodenvervolging. In cooperation with author Anna Timmerman and Joop Zoutberg.

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1938 Many Jewish refugees after Kristallnacht

Many Jewish refugees flee to the Netherlands after Kristallnacht. Princess Juliana also feels connected to the Jewish community. But while more attention is drawn to the admittance of more Jews, NSB members threaten more intervention.

1940 Amsterdam occupied

Nothing changes too much for the Frank family in the beginning. Opekta moves to the Prinsengracht. During air raids bombs cause death and injury in Amsterdam.

1940  Amsterdam occupied

1941 Jews allowed to do and less

It starts with a cinema ban but rapidly Jews are banned from virtually all public places. Jewish children must attend separate schools. This also applies to Anne and Margot Frank.

1941  Jews allowed to do and less

1942 It becomes more dangerous for Jews

On her thirteenth birthday Anne Frank receives a diary. A few days later she writes about the situation in Amsterdam. The introduction of the Jewish star and the raids. In July the Frank family goes into hiding.

1942  It becomes more dangerous for Jews

1943 Deportations and attacks

While the Frank family is in hiding thousands of Jews are deported from Amsterdam. The resistance tries to hinder the deportations by attacks including one on the Public Registry. It doesn’t stop them.

1943  Deportations and attacks

1944 Discovered and arrested

On 4 August the people in hiding in the secret annex are discovered and arrested. From Westerbork they are taken to Auschwitz. When the Allies land in the south of the Netherlands there is hope that the country will be liberated. German soldiers and NSB members flee the country after Dolle Dinsdag (‘Mad Tuesday’).

1944  Discovered and arrested

1945 Joy and sadness

A celebration at the Dam on 7 May is ruined when people are killed after German soldiers shoot at the crowd. On 8 May Amsterdam is officially liberated. Otto Frank returns. He knows that Edith is dead. He only hears later that his two daughters have not survived.

1945  Joy and sadness

1946 Slowly the threads are picked up again

On 3 May 1946 the first official commemoration for those who died during the war is held. Anne Frank’s diary is published on 25 June 1947. Life in Amsterdam slowly gets back to normal. Of the 70,000 Jews who lived in the city in 1940 only 10,000 have survived the war.

1950 Lasting memory

Even five years after the liberation the reverberations from the war are still clearly noticeable. The Jewish community thanks Amsterdam for the help given to Jews with a monument.

1950  Lasting memory
  • 1950
  • To those who protected the Dutch Jews during the years of the occupation. Protected by your love. Encouraged by your resistance. Mourning with you.

    Part of the citation on the monument ‘Jewish Gratitude’
  • picture:Once a year, two minutes silence

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