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1933 Looking for a better life
Events in and around the area of the Rembrandtplein.
Rembrandtplein
Events in and around the area of the Rembrandtplein.
Rembrandtplein [+] Enlarge map [-] Reduce map

Commotion about a German film

‘Morgenrot’ is about the crew of a German submarine that was sunk during the First World War. Two crew members commit suicide in order to help their crewmates.

Even though the film was made before the German occupation and it received an important American award for the best film in 1933, because of its military sacrifice theme it still arouses strong anti-military and anti- fascist emotions. 

Before its première in the Rembrandt Theatre on 17 March 1933 the Anti-Oorlogs Comité (Anti-War Committee) hands out leaflets which state that the film is ‘a direct incitement for a new genocide’. In the cinema there are protests about the film and against Hitler. A day later stink bombs are thrown. One person is removed from the cinema by the police.

In Amsterdam a committee is set up calling for people to boycott ‘Morgenrot’ and for cinemas not to show the film. During one showing a young man tries to set the Rembrandt Theatre on fire and there are 26 arrests.

A meeting, attended by 1,300 people, is held in the Diamantbeurs (Diamond Exchange). On 21 March a bus drives through Amsterdam with posters and banners against the showing of ‘Morgenrot’.

After all this unrest the Nederlandse Bioscoopbond (Dutch Cinema Organisation) decides at a meeting on 21 March to stop showing the film in Amsterdam, The Hague and Rotterdam and that from 24 March the film will no longer be shown again in the Netherlands.

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Rembrandtplein

Square in the middle of Amsterdam which is one of the best known entertainment areas of Amsterdam. The Rembrandt Theater, a theater which screened many German films during the war, can be found here. These films were also shown in the nearby cinema called Tuschinski which was closed by the occupier and reopened under the name Tivoli. Leading up to the February Strike there were many fights on this square.

More about this location

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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