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1936 Growing protests against anti-Semitism
Events in and around the area of the Rembrandtplein.
Rembrandtplein
Events in and around the area of the Rembrandtplein.
Rembrandtplein [+] Enlarge map [-] Reduce map

Members of the Zwarte Front cause a disturbance at a film premiére in the Tuschinski cinema

The film ‘Heldenkermis’ (released in the US and UK under the name ‘Carnival in Flanders’) takes place in Flanders (Belgium) in 1616 during the Eighty Years War. During preparations for Mardi Gras, the town Boom learns that the Spanish army is approaching the town. In order to prevent the Spanish army plundering the town and raping the women, the town elders decide that all the men will play dead hoping that the Spanish army will not enter the town for fear of contracting contagious diseases.

However, the mayor’s wife doesn’t agree and orginazes together with the other women of the town a welcome for the army and its leader. The town is saved and the mayor’s wife lets her husband take all the credit.

Director Jacques Feydor is present in Amsterdam for the première on 6 February 1936, but he doesn’t understand all the fuss surrounding the film. The film is meant to be comical and is not based on any historical facts. Despite this, many in the Netherlands and Flanders (Belgium) feel insulted by the film – they see it as an attack on Dutch honor.

Before the première 12 people are arrested. A number of them have stink bombs. When the film starts at 11.30 o’clock, trouble starts and many are violently removed from the cinema. Several people, who feel strongly about the film start to shout; ‘Shame, shame, our forefathers didn’t behave like this. Throw out that foreign scum!’ Pamphlets are thrown around the cinema and about 25 people are removed. There were more than 30 arrests but most are released the same evening.

During the second showing of the film the protests are even stronger than the day before. By 9.30, 30 people had already been arrested for causing a disturbance.

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Press and propaganda

Film is an important method of propaganda. Different screenings cause protest from both right and left wing circles. Cinemas are also the first public places where Jews are forbidden. The German occupier decides what the papers may publish and what the radio may broadcast. Amsterdammers have to turn to foreign broadcasts to get a better idea of how the war is progressing, but these are forbidden. The illegal press spreads news from these radio stations as well as local news which the occupier doesn’t want to be known.

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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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