Object Alone

Obj. ID: 53280  Amsterdam Dockworker Statue, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 1952

© Samuel D. Gruber, Photographer: Gruber, Samuel D., 2024

Name of Monument

Dockworker Statue

Who/What is Commemorated?

February 1941 protest strikes organized after the first round-ups of Amsterdam Jews

Description 

The monument is situated in the center of Jonas Daniel Meijerplein, once the center of the Jewish Amsterdam, and now a quiet public park with a children’s playground. The south side of the Portuguese Synagogue provides a backdrop for the large bronze statue on a high stone base. The statue is of a powerfully built man, who strides forward with confidence. The date February 25, 1941 is inscribed on the front of the statue’s rough stone base. A slightly longer dedicatory inscription is inscribed on the back. The name of the sculptor and the bronze foundry are inscribed on the bronze base of the figure.

Inscriptions

Front text on the pedestal reads:

1941

25 FEBRUARI

 

Back text on the pedestal reads: 

FEBRUARI:

STAKING 1941

DAAD VAN VERSET DER

BURGERIJ TEGEN DE

JODENVERVOLGING DOOR

DE DUITSE BEZETTER

Translation: February Strike 1941 / /Act of resistance of the citizens to protest the persecution of the Jews by the German occupying forces

Commissioned by

City of Amsterdam (need to confirm)

Documenter
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Author of description
Samuel D. Gruber | 2024
Architectural Drawings
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Computer Reconsdivuction
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Section Head
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Language Editor
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Donor
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14 image(s)

Name / Title
Amsterdam Dockworker Statue | Unknown
Monument Setting
Public park
Public street or square
{"9":"Any memorial erected or installed in a present-day public park, including Jewish cemeteries or other sites now operated as public space."}
Object Detail
Completion Date
1952
Synagogue active dates
Reconstruction dates
Location
The Netherlands | Amsterdam
| Jonas Daniël Meijerplein 7
Site
Unknown
School/Style
Unknown|
Period
Unknown
Period Detail
Collection
Unknown |
Iconographical Subject
Textual Content
Languages of inscription
Shape / Form
Material / Technique
bronze
limestone
Material Stucture
Material Decoration
Material Bonding
Material Inscription
Material Additions
Material Cloth
Material Lining
Tesserae Arrangement
Density
Colors
Construction material
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Panel Measurements
0
Custom
Contents
Codicology
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Script
Number of Lines
Ruling
Pricking
Quires
Catchwords
Hebrew Numeration
Blank Leaves
Direction/Location
Façade (main)
Endivances
Location of Torah Ark
Location of Apse
Location of Niche
Location of Reader's Desk
Location of Platform
Temp: Architecture Axis
Arrangement of Seats
Location of Women's Section
Direction Prayer
Direction Toward Jerusalem
Signature

On bronze base, beneath figure’s right foot

Colophon
Scribal Notes
Watermark
Hallmark
Binding
Decoration Program
Summary and Remarks
History

The statue was erected in 1952 to commemorate the protest strikes organized after the first round-ups of Amsterdam Jews on February 22-23, 1941 after 427 Jewish “hostages” were captured and imprisoned as a German reprisal against Dutch protests, especially an attack on the Jewish-owned Coco’s ice-cream parlor on February 19, 1941, when members of the German police were sprayed with ammonia.

Police arrested hundreds of Jewish men and rounded them up on Jonas Daniel Meijerplein next to the Portuguese synagogue where the statue now stands.  427 Jews were taken to the Schoorl police transit camp, then deported to the Buchenwald, and later to the Mauthausen concentration camp.

Commemorative ceremonies honoring the February strike began in 1946, and the statue was unveiled in 1952 by Queen Juliana, Prince Bernhard, and Amsterdam Mayor d'Ailly. For the photo of the dedication see [Tribute to the February Strike]

According to Stoutenbeek and Vigeveno:

“The Communist Party of the Netherlands in particular called for a strike. In their pamphlets they called for the release of the Jews who had been arrested and urged solidarity with Jewish workers. The first to lay down their tools were those working in the dockyards  (the longshoremen), swiftly followed by the public transport workers. The strike spread to the nearby cities of Haarlem, Zaandam and Utrecht, and the region of the Gooi. The Dutch Communist Party tried to give the strike a general character for example demanding a rise in wages, but the Party lost its grip on the organization. Things turned more and more into an anti-German revolt which was forcefully put down by the Nazis.” (Jewish Amsterdam, p. 55)

Nine people died and hundreds were arrested during the suppression of the strike, and it led to much harsher treatment of the Dutch population by the occupying Germans. The Jews taken prisoner were deported to the Mauthausen labor/death camp. Only one survived.

The strike is commemorated annually on February 25th and there is a march past the Dockworker statue. The event has evolved from a specific remembrance of Nazi terror into a general protest against oppression of minorities.

Sculptor Mari Andriessen was a member of the Dutch Resistance, and his Jews during the war. Andriessen refused to be part of the Nazi-organized Nederlandsche Kultuurkamer, to which artists had to be members in order to work. 

Main Surveys & Excavations
Sources

Cahen, Joël J., "Holocaust Memory Memorials and the Visual Arts in the Netherlands From Early Public Monuments to Contemporary Artists," European Judaism 56 (1), 2023: 102-118., https://www.berghahnjournals.com/view/journals/european-judaism/56/1/ej560108.xml (accessed March 5, 2024)

Liphshiz, Cnaan, "The Dutch February Strike: The organized civilian protest against the Nazis," Jewish Telegraphic Agency, February 26, 2021, https://www.jpost.com/diaspora/antisemitism/the-dutch-february-strike-the-organized-civilian-protest-against-the-nazis-660295 (accessed March 5, 2024)

"Mari Andriessen,"
Wikipedia, https://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mari_Andriessen.

Stoutenbeek, Jan and Paul Vigeveno. Jewish Amsterdam, trans. By Wendie Shaffer. (Amsterdam-Ghent: Ludion, 2003), pp. 55-56.

"The Amsterdam General Strike of February 1941,"
The National WWII Museum, New Orleans, https://www.nationalww2museum.org/war/articles/amsterdam-general-strike-february-1941)., https://www.nationalww2museum.org/ (accessed March 5, 2024)

"Tribute to the February Strike,"
Anne Frank House, https://www.annefrank.org/en/timeline/177/tribute-to-the-february-strike/., https://www.annefrank.org/ (accessed March 5, 2024)
Type
The following information on this monument will be completed: