World War II and the Holocaust in Amsterdam
See important sites and monuments relating to the Nazi occupation of Amsterdam (1940-45). Let us be your guides and inform you about this traumatic episode in the Dutch capital's long history. The tour is ideal for visitors who like to go off the beaten path and want to learn more about this important aspect of the city's past.
For those with a passion for history this is a tour not to be missed.
FOR A BIKE TOUR:
Your guide for the bike tour is Rudi Dolfin.
Amsterdam South has many monuments and buildings from World War II, including the headquarters of the Gestapo (the German secret police) and the headquarters of the Dutch Nazi party. We also visit places where executions, raids and battles between the Dutch resistance and German soldiers took place. The bike tour will not visit places from the WW2 walking tour.
Almost all hotels in Amsterdam have bicycles for rent and there is a bicycle rental company on almost every corner.
Amsterdam South is much quieter than the center and therefore more acceptable for inexperienced cyclists. About halfway through the tour there is a short break for a cup of coffee and/or a visit to the toilet.
The tour takes approx. 2,5-3 hours.
The price in a group tour is 40 euro per person.
The minimum group size is 2 and has a maximum of 6 people.
All tours are in English.
Our bike tour starts at Victorieplein (Victory Square was then called Daniël Willinkplein). On June 20, 1943, a major raid took place in Amsterdam. At the foot of the Skyscraper, large groups of Jewish citizens were arrested during a so-called Judenaktion. Assisted by Dutch police units (PBA, Police Battalion Amsterdan) and police volunteers (from the Dutch National Socialist Movement - the NSB), the Nazis transported the Jews to Olympiaplein, among other places, for registration purposes and then to the Westerbork concentration camp in the east of the Netherlands.
Merwedeplein 37-II (3rd floorby American counting) was the home of the Frank family. In the summer of 1942, Otto Frank took his family and some acquaintances to “Het Achterhuis” (the Secret Annex) on the Prinsengracht, where Otto Frank's company was located. A statue commemorates Anne Frank on Merwedeplein. Around the corner from the Waalstraat bookstore, Jimmink (still active) sold the first edition of “Het Achterhuis” (Contact publishers), the first edition of Anne Frank's diary was published in 1947.
It was at this bookshop that Otto Frank bought the diary for his daughter.
At Waalstraat 48, opposite Merwedeplein, (now Café Blek) was once the Tilex Bar (Tilly and Lex - van Weren). Lex van Weren survived Auschwitz because he had to play his trumpet at executions.
4. Cornelis Troostplein.
Cornelis Troostplein 23. Once accommodated the PBA-baracks, before WWII it was called “peace parish” ( the Catholic complex held two convents and a school). Spring 1942 the chief of the Sicherheitsdienst (SD) /Gestapo Rauter inspected the PBA and met Reichsführer - SS Heinrich Himmler at Museumplein.
The Germans transformed the Museumplein during the war into a stronghold.
When facing the concert hall, the houses on your left were occupied by German offices. E.g. the United States consulate building once housed the Zentralstelle für Jüdische Auswanderung ( Central Jewish ‘Emigration’ office) Next door you could find the Ortskommandantur (Town Major) and the Feldgendarmerie (Military Police) building. The other buildings housed nazi party offices and other German services. On the square in front of these buildings was the IJsclubterrein ( Amsterdam skating club). Here the Germans build their stronghold with bunkers an anti-aircraft (Flak~) batteries.
Next to the concert hallyou found the NSB HQ Amsterdam. After WWII all bunkers were blown up.
Cafe Wildschut, we’ll have a short stop for coffee and a restroom visit.
There was a photo shop next to the library building on Roelof Hartstraat. During the war, the Dutch resistance used the store and developed unique photos (e.g. Charles Breijer) of the first roundup of Jews in Amsterdam by the SD/Gestapo and the German (order) police.
You’ll find a small monument remembering Jews taken from this neighborhood.
Corner Beethovenstraat / Apollolaan.
At the end of October 1944, approx. in front of no: 6. (and note: most of the house numbers are still the same as during WWII), Herbert Oelschlägel SS officer and Sicherheitsdienst /Gestapo agent was executed by a Dutch resistance member. In retaliation the Sicherheitsdienst / Gestapo burned down two houses and executed 29 resistance fighters.
Gerrit van der Veenstraat (At the time this street was called Euterpestraat)
(Gerrit van der Veen was the leader of an important Dutch resistance-group)
On the corner of Memlingstraat/Rubensstraat were two offices of the most important Nazi oppression organizations. SD-HQ Amsterdam (SD Aussenstelle under Willy Lages) and the Hausraterfassungsstelle (stealing the possesions of deported Jews) which was part of the Zentralstelle für Jüdische Auswanderung. The leader of the Hauserfassungsstelle was a Dutch collaborator named Henneicke.
In November 1944, the resistance requested the Royal Air Force via a secret radio message to attack the headquarters of the SD/Gestapo and the Hausraterfassungsstelle. Destroying SD/Gestapo files was their main aim. This job was done by Group Captain Denys Gillam DSO, DFC, AFC leader of 149 (Typhoon) wing. There was a (resistance) safehouse on the corner of Rubensstraat/Gerrit van der Veenstraat. See Stolperstein (stumbling stone) for the address. In June 1944, this address was betrayed to the SD/Gestapo by a female informant (V-Frau).
On this square, Jewish people arrested during the raid of June 1943 at the sports complex (see monument Parnassusweg) were registered by the SD/Gestapo with the help(!) of Jewish camp police sent from Westerbork concentration camp.
Valeriusplein / Amsterdam Lyceum.
This school building was the headquarters of the Luftwaffe at the end of the occupation.
Statue of Queen Emma on Emmalaan/Prins Hendriklaan In the summer of 1940, people placed flowers at the statue, in defiance of the German occupiers.
One of the resistance photographers, Charles Breijer (see 7.), took this photo of the guard at the headquarters of the Kriegsmarine in 1944.
When the Germans surrendered on May 7, 1945, dangerous situations arose between frustrated German troops and resistance fighters. See the monument to the victims of one of the shootings on the last day.
This was the last point of the tour. I will guide you through the Vondelpark to Leidseplein where we started.
Ben de Jong is a retired history professor from the University of Amsterdam.
Peter Schaapman, creator of Historywalks.eu, has a 30-years career in the media. He studied WWII and the Shoah in Amsterdam.
An interview with me, here on the interesting website: Bridges of Amsterdam
I like to introduce myself as your Historywalks Bike-Tour guide. My name is Rudi Dolfin. For fourty years I worked as a history teacher and college-coach for teacher-students at a college for pre-university students. History of the 20th century and the history of the Second World War are my specialties. I was born and lived all my life in the city of Amsterdam. My parents and grandparents experienced the Second World War in Amsterdam. They have told me many stories about the occupation time.
Being also a grandfather of two I Currently moved to the city of Alkmaar which is approx. 28 mls. to the north of Amsterdam.