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Orchestra of Voices
“The first orchestra of voices concert, given [in Sumatra] on December 27, 1943, made a deep impression on the listeners. Instead of the popular songs we were expecting, we heard beautiful music from Dvořák’s New World.… The music strengthened our feeling of human value.”
Sinti and Roma, Persecution and Deportation in WWII

On 16 May 1944, a large razzia (raid) took place in the Netherlands. In all, 578 members of the Sinti and Roma communities were arrested and deported to the Westerbork concentration camp. Before the Second World War, around 4500 Sinti and Roma travelled around the Netherlands with their violin orchestras and sales ware.

Das Lied der Deutschen

On 9 May 1945, the newsreader presented the very last Wehrmacht message, announcing the cessation of hostilities. “Since midnight, the guns have fallen silent on all fronts…” In the background, a violin wept the Deutschlandlied. It never sounded sadder.

Jewish Children

There were four so-called children’s groups which together managed to bring some 1,100 Jewish children to safety between 1942 and 1945.


This street in Amsterdam is now called “Gerrit van der Veenstraat,” named after the Dutch resistance hero Gerrit van der Veen. Gerrit van der Veen and Willem Arondéus led a group of resistance fighters who committed an attack on the Amsterdam Population Register on March 27, 1943, for the purpose of destroying records, yet most of the resistance fighters were arrested and shot in the dunes on July 1, 1943.

SD Prison in Haaren

In July and October 1940, the Germans imprisoned nearly 350 people to put pressure on the Dutch authorities in the Dutch East Indies to treat the Germans well who had been captured there.


Ravensbrück was located 120 km north of Berlin and was the only major concentration camp in Germany in which mainly women were incarcerated.

Mad Tuesday

Tuesday, September 5, 1944, has gone down in history as Dolle Dinsdag [“Mad Tuesday”]. With a message opening with the sentence “Gij weet dat de bevrijding voor de deur staat” [“Thou knowest that liberation is at hand”], broadcast on Radio Oranje [“Radio Orange”] on Sunday evening, September 3, the Netherlands was giddy with the hope of being liberated.


As early as 1933, when Hitler came to power as the head of the Nazi Party, the Reichsmusikkammer [RMK, “Reich Chamber of Music”] was founded, an organization overseeing the whole of German musical life.

When Hitler came to power in 1933, the music business was deemed to be “corrupt,” “Bolshevik,” and “run by Jews.” Music in the Third Reich had to be “Aryan,” German through and through. The State did not leave music to its citizens but seized it with an iron grip.
Dutch Chambre of Culture

Based on the German model, the Dutch Departement van Volksvoorlichting en Kunsten [DVK, “Department of Public Information and the Arts”] was established on November 27, 1940. The DVK was overseen by the Dutch Nazi Dr. Toby Goedewaagen.

House Concerts

In the autumn of 1942, the new phenomenon of the house concert was introduced into Dutch cultural life. Those artists who had refused to become members of the Kultuurkamer, having thus lost their livelihood, would organize so-called “black evenings” during which performing artists, musicians and others would perform for a small audience in return for a fee.

Rotterdam Blitz

Early in the morning of May 10, 1940, Rotterdam was transformed into a sea of flames by the German bombardment. 900 inhabitants of the city were killed, 78,000 people were made homeless, and 260 hectares (642 acres) of land was destroyed. When the Germans threatened to destroy other cities, the Dutch surrendered on May 15, 1940.