Witnesses

What happened in and around the Hollandsche Schouwburg made a deep impression on those who witnessed or experienced it. The memories of these witnesses have a personal voice and often provide a new angle on the events of the past. The Hollandsche Schouwburg hopes in the near future to make extracts with the voices of contemporary witnesses available on this website in English. So far the extracts are only in Dutch. They were recorded on video for the educational programme, Evil on the Block. The Hollandsche Schouwburg presents this for pupils of elementary and secondary schools.

Lydia van Nobelen-RiezouwThe non-Jewish Lydia van Nobelen-Riezouw lived on Plantage Kerklaan during Second World War. From the window of her living room she could see the outer courtyard at the back of the Hollandsche Schouwburg. She saw people who were locked up, and were allowed outside for a short time to get some fresh air. Lydia recognized among the prisoners her Jewish friend Greetje Velleman (1924 Amsterdam-1942 Auschwitz). That's why she took some photographs of the yard behind the theatre.

Sieny Cohen-KattenburgSieny Cohen-Kattenburg, a Jew, was a child carer in the Nursery on Plantage Middenlaan in Amsterdam during World War II. In October 1942 the nursery was made into an annexe of the Hollandsche Schouwburg, where children had to await deportation. Sieny was living in the building at that time. Together with Henriëtte Pimentel, the Nursery's head, Sieny managed to save many children. She would smuggle them out of the building and they would be hidden by members of resistance groups. The nursery was closed in September 1943 and Sieny herself had to go into hiding to escape capture.

Piet MeerburgThe non-Jewish Piet Meerburg was a student of Law at the University of Amsterdam in 1940. When the deportation of Jews began in 1942, he stopped studying and turned his attention to saving Jewish children. He became leader of the Amsterdam Student Group helping smuggle children out of the Nursery and taking them into hiding. Together with three others resistance groups, they saved about 600 children.

 

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