Until 1940, The Hollandsche Schouwburg was a popular theatre, putting on many well-known Dutch plays. In 1941 the Nazi occupiers changed the theatre's name into Joodsche Schouwburg, or, Jewish Theatre. After that, only Jewish actors and artistes were allowed to perform there - for a strictly Jewish audience. Over the years the function of the Schouwburg changed drastically. Between 1942 and 1943 Jews from Amsterdam and surrounding districts were obliged to report at the Hollandsche Schouwburg before being deported. Most of them were brought to the theatre by force. They were transported to the Dutch transit camps in Westerbork or Vught. These were the last stop before they were herded into trains bound for one of the extermination camps.

After the liberation, attempts to put on public performances in the Hollandsche Schouwburg led to a storm of protest. In 1947 the theatre was sold to the Hollandsche Schouwburg Comittee, aimed at preventing the Schouwburg from ever being used again as a theatre. In 1962 the city council of Amsterdam placed a monument here in remembrance of the Jewish victims of the Nazi terror. In 1993 a memorial chapel was installed, listing the 6.700 family names of the 104.000 Jews from the Netherlands who were murdered in the war. Today the Hollandsche Schouwburg is a monument and war memorial.