Persecution of the Jews 1940-1945

Maquette of the plantagebuurt, in the exhibition 'Persecution of the Jews 1940-1945'.The permanent exhibition in the Hollandsche Schouwburg, titled Persecution of the Jews 1940-1945 can be seen on the first floor. Using photographs, video images, objects and a maquette, a picture has been composed to show the gradual development of discrimination against Jews during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands; initially exclusion from certain social activities, then deportation and extermination. The persecution process is laid bare. The killings of Dutch Jews didn't begin with extermination camps - it started long before, with small bureaucratic measures to be publicly implemented in Dutch cities, towns and villages. The exhibition also uses personal documents to explore for instance the work of the Dutch resistance in saving lives of Jews, accounts of escapes, the production of forged identity papers for Jews, and 'submerging', that is, going into hiding. The Hollandsche Schouwburg building, that played a major role in many of these activities, is a background actor in these presentations. The exhibition room looks out onto the inner courtyard, where formerly the theatre auditorium stood; where countless innocent people were held prisoner.

Visitors can also see two smaller displays in the Schouwburg:


The exhibition Persecution of the Jews 1940-1945 was devised with the aim of instructing school students. With this younger age-group in mind, the exhibit has no texts apart from a few references in the form of citations. Detailed background information about the material on show can be found in a separate brochure. Visitors may also consult this as they go round the exhibition.

The way the exhibition is designed also contributes to its teaching task. A high wall divides the exhibition area in two. The wall forms a literal dividing line between 'persecution' and 'resistance' as two themes of the exhibition; at the same time it symbolizes the dilemma of those being persecuted -should and/or could they offer resistance? The exhibition aims above all to inform young people about the past. Using the educational programmes, pupils at elementary and secondary school can really get to know about the situations shown in the exhibition. The programmes also discuss the contemporary relevance of events that took place in the years 1940-45.