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1933 Looking for a better life
Mr. Visserplein 3
Jonas Daniel Meijerplein
Mr. Visserplein 3
Jonas Daniel Meijerplein [+] Enlarge map [-] Reduce map
© Collectie Joods Historisch Museum, Amsterdam (collectie J. van Velzen).

One of the most important synagogues in Amsterdam is the Portuguese Synagogue on the Mr. Visserplein

From the 17th century Jews from all over Europe move to Amsterdam because here, unlike in their own countries, there is relative freedom of religion. One of the oldest synagogues in the city is the Portuguese Synagogue on the Mr. Visserplein. It was build between 1672 and 1675 and was at that time the largest in the world.

When this synagogue was built there were also two other synagogues close by, the High German Synagogue and the New Synagogue. In the 20th century two more synagogues were opened in Amsterdam; the Raw Aron Schuster Synagogue (sometimes called the Obrechtsschul) and the Lekstraat synagogue.

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Jonas Daniel Meijerplein

The Portuguese Synagogue built in 1675 and once the largest in the world can be found on this square in the middle of the Jewish neighbourhood. The former synagogues of the High German congregation can also be found here.

At the end of February 1941, 425 Jewish men are forced to wait on this square before being deported to the Mauthausen and Buchenwald concentration camps. The February Strike breaks out as a result of this raid. Every year since 1946 on 25 February a commemoration of the strike takes place. In 1952, Queen Juliana unveiled the statue of The Docker to commemorate this strike.

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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