Thursday, December 23, 2010

Ghosts of Amsterdam

As a history buff, I totally love these images created by Jo Teeuwisse, a Historical Consultant in Amsterdam. Jo explains her inspiration, technique and her work here:

" Years ago I found some negatives in a flea market. I scanned them and put them online.  I then found some of the spots in the photos and took pictures there.

In the picture above, you can see a group of young factory workers posing probably outside the factory during the war. I cheated a little bit by removing some pots of flowers, which are on the steps today...!

The picture below is of the Liberation Parade on Friday June 29th, 1945 in the Vijzelstraat, Amsterdam.

The next picture is from the same parade and shows the Underground Press, wearing face masks. The banner carried is from "De Waarheid" the Communist underground paper:

The next two pictures  are of Reguliersgracht in Amsterdam. These people worked in a factory and the office part was perhaps in one of these buildings.

The next picture shows the SS Recruiting Office in Dam Square during the Occupation, across from the "Big" Club. Some great film footage exists of someone climbing onto the lower roof and smashing the SS windows with great force - and great pleasure:

The final two pictures are of the Dam Square on Monday May 7th 1945, two days after the German surrender. Thousands of Dutch people were waiting for the liberators to arrive in the square. They had lived through five years of war and months of fear and hunger. In the "Big" Club, members of the Kriegsmarine watched as the crowd below their balcony grew and grew, people danced and cheered.

Then, for some reason, the Germans placed a machine-gun on the balcony and started shooting into the crowds. It has always remained uncertain why it happened but the tragic outcome was that at the brink of peace, 120 people were badly injured and 22 people died.

The shooting finally came to an end after a member of the Resistance climbed into the tower of the Royal palace and started shooting onto the balcony and into the Club. Then a German officer together with a Resistance commander found their way into the Club and convinced the men to surrender.

The first picture shows Peek en Cloppenburg, a large shop that was already there in 1945. Today, Madame Tussauds is in the same building as well. We can see three members of the scouting movement, which had been outlawed by the Nazis. As soon as the War came to an end, they put on their old uniforms and started helping the resistance and the Allies. Three brave young people are crossing the square. The Club is in the right side of the photo, and we can also see the Royal palace tower.

Crowds filled the square very quickly when the Germans stopped shooting so its quite likely that these people were rising their lives. Note the shows and hats dropped by the crowds as they fled for their lives:

In the final picture, we can see a wounded man being taken away from the square. There are no other people in the square at this point so the situation is still quite dangerous. The man on the left is a medic - he may be a doctor, a Red Cross volunteer or a member of the air-raid emergency groups. Luckily there were many present there on this day.

The building on the left is the Royal palace from which the Resistance started shooting back. On the right you see the "Nieuwe Kerk" (new church). Note the shoes and hats dropped by the crowd as they fled for their lives. The sidewalk is covered in blood and there is also a pram without a child in it.

During the shooting a toddle walked onto the square, a brave man risked his life to grab it out of the firing line.  The film footage still makes me cry."