Sunday, February 26, 2006

The Strike of February 1941

On 25 February 1941 Amsterdam was seized by a general strike in protest against the persecution of the Jews. One day afterwards the strike spread to the Zaanstreek (Zaan-area), Kennemerland (Haarlem and Velsen), Hilversum, Utrecht and Weesp. In Amsterdam public transport came to a complete standstill and nearly all other council-services went on strike as well. Tools were downed in shipbuilding and steel industry in the North of Amsterdam, at the company of Hollandia-Kattenburg and also in large multiple stores like Bijenkorf. City-wide shops and offices were closed. Many pupils left their classrooms. That day large crowds of people were constantly on the move in the centre of Amsterdam. Restrained emotions sought a way out, people wanted to openly oppose the German occupation troops, that had attacked our country on 10 May 1940 and no longer disguised their intentions to force their regime on us.

The statue of The Dockworker commemorates the Strike of February. It is at the Jonas Daniël Meijerplein. By striking, the people showed their protest against the razzias held on February 22nd and 23rd. On that occasion 427 Jewish men at the age of 18 to 35 years were rounded up at the Jonas Daniël Meijerplein ande deported to the concentration camps Mauthausen and Buchenwald. They died within a year.
The Germans were baffled. They had never come across a strike against anti-Semitism and persecution of the Jews. Yesterday there was a ceremony in Amsterdam where several guests spoke about the happening 65 years ago. Amsterdam is still a city where racism, anti-semitism and discrimination will not be accepted by its residents.


Mother Damnable said...

The Good people of Holland were very brave during the second world war.

"Amsterdam is still a city where racism, anti-semitism and discrimination will not be accepted by its residents."

Good for you!

madcapmum said...

Thank you for posting this. It's the sort of thing that keeps me from entirely despairing.

Progressive Traditionalist said...

This corresponds well with your Solidarnosc post.
I hadn't heard of this before, but I too find it rather encouraging.
And I wonder if such a thing could occur today, given the current state of nationalism and alarmism. It has become rather wearisome, to the point where any deviation from this would be a noteworthy oddity.

Kathleen Callon said...

Love this post. Amsterdam seems better and better the more I learn about it.

DA said...

I guess there were many brave people during WWII Mother D.

Thx for reading Madcap.

PT, I don't believe massive deportation and razzias would occur today without people standing up. Then again I doubt that thinking about Rwanda or Serbia a few years ago..

Thank you Kat, hope to welcome you here one day..

..all of you off course!

Lindsay Lobe said...


Holland had one of the finest records for opposition to the Nazi’s and spoke out against persecutions of the Jews. Many Jews over their life during the occupation to the brave Dutch folk of the Underground. I have Several Dutch Friends, who as children remember the War and living under the Germans during the occupation.

Best wishes

Lorraine said...

Oh Dimitri,
I've read so much about the Holocaust, some books from Historians but mostly from the Survivors. I read until I hurt...I've read so many accounts. Through the pain and the hell and the incredible bravery and care I completely fell in love with Amsterdam/Holland. They stood solid. God bless, always!

DA said...

Thx for sharing that Lindsay.
This must be a aweful childhood memory.

I must say I do not know so much about the Holocaust as you probably do Lorraine but the movie Schindlers list floored me for a while..

Lorraine said...

Me too, and yet the movie was lame compare to the survival stories. If ever you get a chance read Charlotte Delbo, or Elie Weisel or Abram Korn and Joseph Korn's book about a holocaust memoir called Abe's Story...Heck I could go on and on. I remember one moment when Charlotte Delbo described a time during roll call where they stood together in very cold weather...I lost myself in it, and it wouldn't have suprised me at all to find that I was there as well, because the women going through that hell were as innocent as I was. I will never understand!