19:50 – Gathering at Gein3Dorp Memorial
19:55 – Switch over to the broadcast of the Commemoration of the Dead on Dam Square
20:00 – Two minutes of silence
20:02 – Dutch National Anthem
20:04 – Procession and laying flowers
Gein3dorp is a neighbourhood in the Gein 3 district of Amsterdam Zuidoost. Here, twenty streets, courtyards, paths and public gardens are named after resistance heroes from World War II. These names remember the people who dedicated themselves to the resistance newspapers Het Parool, Trouw, De Waarheid and Vrij Nederland during the German occupation. They paid for this with their lives. Local residents of this 1980s neighbourhood became fascinated by the stories of these brave victims. It led to the spontaneous initiative of erecting a resistance memorial, which was unveiled in September 2020. It consists of four information boards mounted against the wall of the primary school in the middle of the neighbourhood. Resistance fighters are brought to life through the telling their stories. They highlight the great importance of the underground press during the German occupation.
The illegal publications served the need to inform the population about what was really happening under German rule. After all, this couldn’t be read in the newspapers controlled by the Germans or heard on the radio. Newspapers and magazines were forbidden to write about the persecution of Jews, and criticism of Nazi Germany was obviously out of the question. As many as 1,300 illegal publications appeared during the occupation. They differed greatly from one to another. Some appeared for only a few weeks or months and reached a small distribution area. The production of large-scale underground opinion newspapers, such as Vrij Nederland, Het Parool, De Waarheid and Trouw, soon became the work of widespread organisations with many dozens of employees, producing huge print runs. Men and women from all population groups, of all ages, professions and walks of life were involved. The illegal publications relentlessly pointed out persecution and terror, fanning a spirit of resistance. The more influential the underground press became, the more the Germans’ began to fanatically hunt for the makers of the illegal publications. Over 700 people paid for their work in the illegal press with their lives. Countless others disappeared into prisons and concentration camps.
The Gein3dorp monument highlights the resistance workers who were active in underground press. They raised their voices against the occupying forces and were willing to sacrifice their lives for it. This includes Pieter van der Meulen (1912-1944) who, with his father, was the driving force behind the printing of Het Parool. They are arrested together in a major raid on Parool employees on 21 January 1944. The Germans tried to make Pieter talk by denying him his medication for epilepsy, but he did not give in and died in Scheveningen prison, the ‘Oranjehotel’.
Helena Kuipers-Rietberg (1893-1944), one of two women with a street named after them in Gein3dorp, co-founded the reformed women’s movement and the largest hiding network, the Landelijke Organisatie voor Onderduikers, the LO, which managed to rescue some 300,000 people in hiding. With her children, she distributed the resistance newspaper Trouw. Thanks to a tip-off from a policeman, Helena and her husband initially managed to escape the Germans, but were later traced. The mother of five died in the German concentration camp Ravensbrück in December 1944.
Cornelis Aarnouts (1914-1943) was a bread and pastry baker in addition to being a resistance fighter. During the war, he distributed the communist newspaper De Waarheid. On 31 January 1943, he was arrested and shot dead on the Waalsdorpervlakte that August.
Jan van de Neut (1921-1945), as a co-founder, stencilled the first issues of Vrij Nederland in his parental home in Amsterdam-West. The electrical engineer also carried out espionage for the British and helped downed British pilots return to their country. After being betrayed, he was arrested in the spring of 1941 and imprisoned in various German penal institutions. Shortly before the end of the war, Jan died of exhaustion.