Friday, March 13, 2015

Verzetsmuseum-The Dutch Resistance Museum

I have a friend here. Just about every week we get together and we go see a museum in Amsterdam or we take a walk around the city and see what sort of architecture we can find or just enjoy being in Europe-getting coffee, strolling the canals, etc. Having a buddy that enjoys these outings and being in Europe as much as I do has really made this experience ten times more memorable.

A few weeks back, since we were both political science majors who are learning all sorts of new things about WWII we decided to go to the Verzetsmusuem, The Dutch Resistance Museum. If you are ever spending any length of time in Amsterdam you should put it on your "must see" list, I'd say anything over 3 days, this should go on your list. There is even a section dedicated to explaining WWII to children. It is extremely well done, and for me, connected the dots of all the facts I had learned here and there making WWII a complete picture finally.

When you check in you can use a museumkaart or you can buy a ticket, audio tours are free, but we didn't use ours as we read much faster than the person spoke on the audio tour and all that was said was printed on the walls to read. We also found the audio tour to be quite overwhelming.

After you check in you go upstairs to watch an introductory movie, after the movie you can begin looking around the museum. The first exhibit you enter was my favorite, it gives you a full over view of WWII which really explains just how this was a true World War. It goes into decent detail of each country's involvement and what it was like for people living there at the time. How good, honest people had to do not-so-honest things just to survive. It also makes the connection of how Japan was involved, how Indonesia came to have it's independence , and what happened to the Dutch government after Germany invaded.

The next part of the exhibit goes on to explain everyone's different religious views and how they used this to get through German invasion. It also describes what community was like during this time and what pressure people in the government were feeling. Everyday they were faced with horrible decisions, but did their best to keep their position even if they had to make horrible decisions just so they wouldn't be replaced with Nazi sympathizers.

I have always been horrified by the events of WWII and after living here I am even more horrified by everything that happened as it was so much worse than I was taught. I am glad to have the knowledge I do and want to share that with as many people as possible.

Here are a few photos I managed to take while we were in the museum, I didn't take too many as it seemed a bit weird to be taking photos about such horrible events.

These are different ration booklets and information on rationing.

Propaganda posters 

The V=Victory

"The Germans, with an overwhelming amount of propoganda material, try to influence the Dutch population. Cinema newsreels, pamphlets, brochures and colour posters are intended to drum into everyone's head teh unstoppable victory of National Socialism. Dormant aversion to the Jews is stirred up and the fear of communism is fed."

"Allied aeroplanes drop pamphlets that challenge German propaganda. The letter V becomes a symbol for Victory. In the summer of 1941, the Germans adopt the V in their own campaign: 'V=Victory, because Germany is victorious on all fronts.' In a counter move, the Dutch vandalize the posters. The V becomes W, for Wilhelmina, or V for Verliest (loses) or Verzuipt (drowns)."
{for those that don't know the W in Dutch has a "vway" sound to it if that makes sense. You place your top teeth on your bottom lip and the sound that comes out as far as I understand it like a "vwuh" sound if you were to make it phonetic}

For the Dutch since they had declared neutrality to be invaded and involved was a big deal, I think the biggest issue with this was they didn't know when it was going to end. No one did, so as a country that wanted to be neutral in this whole ordeal how do you go about keeping peace in your country with your government in hiding? The Dutch, much in Dutch fashion, seemed to mostly keep their heads down but doing little things here and there to not necessarily make life a living hell for themselves but figured out small things to do to say, this is wrong. This shouldn't be happening.
This is "Protected by Line 9", this is nearish my husbands work. Apparently there was a nursery, from what I remember this is where Jewish children were dropped as the awaited deportation as it had been turned into an annex of the Hollandsche Schouwburg, which is where adult Jews (16+) awaited deportation. Now, am married couple, Semmy and Joop Woortman, would visit this nursery which was protected by Line 9 and they would go in, grab a child, the owner would wait by the door and let them know when they tram 9 was coming, they would run beside the tram and jump on, and take the children they carried out to safety. They had to do this as the nursery being an annex was across from the Hollandsche Schouwburg which was guarded by Nazi troops. Once tjhe Woortman's were on the tram most passengers would begin laughing as they knew exactly what they were up to, but in typical Dutch fashion didn't say anything.

It was little ways like this the Dutch stood up to the German's and tried to help even if it meant later on they actually wound up in hiding themselves.

This part really tugged at my heartstrings, these were letters that were written by deportees, when they were on the train just as it was leaving the station they would throw them out the window in hopes their loved ones left behind would get them. 

A photo of printing presses used at the time.

The final part of the museum tells a bit about the aftermath of WWII. I loved all the flags on display of the countries involved. 

This little bit really shows Dutch {Amsterdam specifically} culture, a soldier on a bike with two ladies, celebrating the end of occupation. The information on the sideboard tells of all the coupling and babies that were born after this time, almost like a repopulation of sorts!

I saved this one for last, a statue of Hitler's head that was knocked down at the end of the war. I can only imagine how the people that were there felt during this time and I am sure my imagination doesn't do their feelings justice. All we can do is make sure we are educated and make sure we don't allow such abominable horrors to happen again.

1 comment:

  1. Looks like a wonderful museum, once I'm sure I would enjoy, as I love history. Those letters, experiences right first count...that would probably be my favorite part too, makes things so much more real when the info comes from those who truly lived it. Out blog walking today, gearing up for the a-z challenge. Always nice to meet more bloggers.