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1940 Amsterdam occupied
Rokin 14
Rokin 14
Rokin 14
Rokin 14 [+] Enlarge map [-] Reduce map
© Bundesarchiv Bild 183-L23001/ Anne Frank Stichting (fotobewerking: Michel Danckaarts)

Occupiers in the city

The woman in the photo is handing out cigars with a friend to soldiers driving past on the Rokin. They are German troops on their victory parade through the Netherlands.

On 10 May 1940 the German army invade the Netherlands. There is heavy fighting for 5 days but Germany is too strong for the Dutch army. After a massive bombing raid on Rotterdam the Dutch surrender in the evening of 14 May. They sign the capitulation on 15 May.

Better times?

German soldiers are greeted by enthusiastic people at more places along the route. These people are supporters of German national socialism.  After their journey through The Hague, Haarlem and Utrecht the German soldiers go to the front in Belgium and France where there is heavy fighting.

Freedom restricted

Many people are not happy with this German victory. Anne Frank writes about it in her diary:
‘After May 1940 the good times were few and far between: first there was the war, then the capitulation and then the arrival of the Germans, which is when the trouble started for the Jews. Our freedom was severely restricted by a series of anti-Jewish decrees.’

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Days in May

The German attack on the Netherlands starts on 10 May 1940 and is the start of the Second World War for the country. The Dutch army stops fighting on 14 May and capitulates on the morning of 15 May. The war has lasted just 4 days, except for in Zeeland in the south where fighting continues until 19 May.

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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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