Anne Frank's Amsterdam
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1942 It becomes more dangerous for Jews
Events in and around the area of the Plantage Middenlaan 24.
Hollandsche Schouwburg - Dutch Theatre
Events in and around the area of the Plantage Middenlaan 24.
Hollandsche Schouwburg - Dutch Theatre [+] Enlarge map [-] Reduce map
© Privécollectie Hélène Egger

Hélène Egger - ‘We received a couple of postcards from Julius from the Hollandsche Schouwburg’

‘In 1942 there were the first call-ups for Jewish men and boys from the age of 18 to go and work for the Germans in special camps. Nobody knew what was going to happen. That came later. My oldest brother Daniël belonged to the first group that had to go. I can still see his rucksack standing there.

After Daniël had left, Julius said that he wanted to follow his brother. He hadn’t even received his call-up. He was 18 months younger. My grandparents did all they could to stop him. But they couldn’t convince him. He didn’t want his elder brother to be alone. I think in all honesty that, as adventurous as he was, he found it quite exciting. As well as this, life with grandfather and grandmother was very boring for him. Maybe he saw it as his chance to leave home. Daniël had been gone for three months when he said “I’m going to follow him”. That’s what he did.

Julius went to the Dutch Theatre (Hollandsche Schouwburg) a building on the Plantage Middenlaan where all the Jews were assembled and held. After a few days they were taken by tram at night to the Central Station from where they were sent by train to Camp Westerbork. This also happened to Julius. He met up with Daniël again in Westerbork. Together they were transported by train to Auschwitz in German-occupied Poland. That was an extermination camp. Nobody knew about these camps.

We received a few postcards, written in pencil, from Julius from the Dutch Theatre. One letter came from Daniël from Camp Westerbork. The postcards and the letter survived the war. My grandfather kept them. I couldn’t read them at first, it was too difficult. Until sometime ago. Then I got them out again. Julius writes: “It’s chaotic here and dirty and there is a lot of screaming and babies crying and everybody and everything gets mixed up. One big mess…didn’t get a wink of sleep last night…stuffy.”

But under every card he wrote: “Chin up, be strong we’ll only be gone for a while, we only have to work for a while and then we’ll be back.” He wanted to put us at ease. I asked myself later if my brothers realized that something terrible hung over them.’ 


Source: Extract from Ik ben er nog. Het verhaal van mijn moeder Hélène Egger. In cooperation with the author Debby Petter and Uitgeverij Thomas Rap.

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Hélène Egger

Hélène Egger is a 10 year old Jewish girl when the war breaks out in 1940. When her mother has to undergo a serious operation she goes to live with her grandparents. After being arrested, Hélène manages, with the help of her grandfather who has connections in the Jewish Council, to escape from the Hollandsche Schouwburg (Dutch Theatre). She goes into hiding and eventually ends up at a farmer's family in Brabant.

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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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