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1942 It becomes more dangerous for Jews
Noorder Amstellaan
Rivierenbuurt neighbourhood
Noorder Amstellaan
Rivierenbuurt neighbourhood [+] Enlarge map [-] Reduce map
© Privécollectie familie Escher

Nol Escher - ‘Where have the people gone to?’

Nol Escher is 8 years old when war breaks out. In December 1942 he moves to an apartment in Amsterdam where previously Jews lived.

 ‘It’s an apartment on the Noorder Amstellaan that has just become vacant. A week before, people were still living there. “And those people then?” I ask my mother and father as I enter the apartment for the first time, “where have the people gone to?” “They’ve gone. They had to go.” Says my mother as she looks out of the window. “They’re Jews.” “Oh, Jews.” I say. I don’t really understand.

Everything is small in the new house. Above every door there are brass cylinders with rolls of paper inside them. When everyone is out I climb on a chair on top of a table with my brother and get the rolls of paper out. The writing is in letters that I don’t understand. From the previous occupants. My younger brother doesn’t understand. I place the rolls of paper back in the cylinders.

 

Source: Extract from Nol Escher, Trompetten in de verte: een novelle, written by Emilie Escher, daughter of the author Nol Escher.

Jewish Monument Community

The Noorder Amstellaan is now called the Churchilllaan. More information about the apartment on the Noorder Amstellaan and other houses where Jews lived can be found on the Jewish Monument Community.

Visit the Jewish Monument

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Nol Escher

Nol Escher is eight years old when war breaks out. Because the coastal region is evacuated he moves from Bentveld, a village in the dunes near Zandvoort to Amsterdam. Christmas 1942 the Escher family move into a house where Jews had previously lived on the Noorder Amstellaan number 190. In June 1945 they move back to Bentveld.

More about this person

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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View the most important places with their story from Anne Frank’s Amsterdam. Click to the Timeline and see how Amsterdam changed from being a safe haven in 1933 to an occupied city. Zoom in by clicking on the plus sign on the left. This way you can click more easily on the places on the map