February strike, February 25th and 26th, 1941

Amsterdam offers resistance


February 25th, 2011 marked the seventy year anniversary of ten thousands of people from Amsterdam stopping work and going out into the streets to demonstrate against the German occupier after 427 young Jewish men were rounded up in razzias and taken to a concentration camp a few days before.

Like every year at the memorial near the Dokwerker at the Jonias DaniŽl Meyerplein, the following will be said: "When the German fury assaulted their Jewish fellow citizens, the citizens replied to this shameful act with a spontaneous strike. The people of Amsterdam were a shining example for the Netherlands." This is not false, but a lot is left unsaid. The massive strike in Amsterdam and several other cities was the only one in all of the occupied Europe between 1940 and 1945 - an event which can be called unique. But also unique in the sense of: once and never again!

The February strikes were an exception to the rule which applied to most of the Dutch people: careful adjustment to the Ďaltered circumstancesí. After the war, Amsterdam received the motto "Heroic, Determined, Merciful". Too good to be true? What did happen in that famous February month of 1941? The following contribution attempts to answer this question.


concentration camp
Closed camp where people are being held captive that are considered to be anti- social, enemies of the state, criminal or unwanted individuals. These groups mostly do not get a fair trial or are condemned to doing time in a camp.

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"De Dokwerker" at the Jonas DaniŽl Meijerplein in memory of the February strike.
(Source: Anita Stargardt)


Translated by:
Kim van Dijk
Article by:
Henk van der Molen
Published on:
Last edit on:
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