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1945 The winter of starvation takes its toll
Noorder Amstellaan
Rivierenbuurt neighbourhood
Noorder Amstellaan
Rivierenbuurt neighbourhood [+] Enlarge map [-] Reduce map
© Beeldbank WO2 / Verzetsmuseum Amsterdam / Sem Presser/J. de Jong

Nol Escher - ‘Queuing, queuing…especially for the soup kitchen’

‘Queuing, always queuing. Everywhere you see people queuing. For bread (only on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays) for a bunch of radish at van Zanten's in the Maasstraat, for milk; but mostly for the soup kitchen. Our soup kitchen is in the small park. From our window we can see everything. First there are three or four people, half an hour later there are twenty and that means I need to go outside in twenty minutes time because that’s when the handcart will arrive. Or not. Leave home too early then you have to wait too long, leave later and you also have to wait too long. I stand there holding saucepans. We shuffle forward.

The woman standing in front of me was standing behind me a minute ago. The old man with the strange hat too. Damn! I’m not paying attention. Keep up. But it’s horrible having to stand so close to someone’s dirty back in front of me. The people ladling out soup are spotted. I hold the eight coupons tight. A man passes with a full pan of soup. ‘What soup is it today?’ asks everyone. ‘Water with a bit of colour.’ He answers with a laugh. Only four in front of me now. It’s nearly my turn. Nobody can push in now. I hear the huge soup ladle scraping over the bottom of the pan. As I hold my pan up the man says. ‘There’s no more.’ I go home. My stomach rumbles.’


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

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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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