Object Alone

Obj. ID: 53281  Children's Monument on Gaaspstaat in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 1986

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

Name of Monument

Monument in Gaaspstraat

Who/What is Commemorated?

The forced separation of Jews and Christians under German occupation


The monument is erected between the street and a playground. There is a square area paved with large bricks and in the scenter of this is a smaller square area paved with lighter-colored square tiles. On this rest two sculpture groups in opposite corners and separated by a large, upright, inscribed, triangular slab of gray granite.

To the left (with viewer’s back to the street and facing the playground) is a sculptural group of two bronze figures of children at play. The figures are high up, seemingly swinging joyously on a (bronze) rope that swirls upward from a stone base. The children at play are a black boy and a white girl, and thus the monument speaks to the present and the past.

The base is in three parts, a low flat stone is surmounted by a tall rectangular block, which is in turn capped by another low flat stone. On one side of the tall block is inscribed in four words “samen spelen, samen leven” (playing together, living together).  On another side is affixed a bronze-color metal plaque with an inscription indicating that this area has been designated as a market for Jews,

To the right, separated by the stone triangle, are two joined, stolid bronze figures set on a low concrete base. Two Jewish children are represented who are excluded from play and stand watching, presumably awaiting deportation.  The taller boy on the right has his arm around the smaller girl, who tilts her head onto his shoulder.

The triangle in between the groups is a thick slab of gray granite that has polished sides, but a rough-hewn top surface (the hypotenuse of the right angle). Raised letters state that this was a market for Jews established in 1941.

A plaque with a longer inscription is also set in the tile pavement at the most accessible corner of the monument. This explains a little more about the market, the fate of the neighborhood’s Jews, and the erection of the dedication of the memorial. 


Inscribed on base:

samen spelen
samen leven

Translation: playing together, living together

On metal plaque on base:

Op 3 november 1941
verordoneerde de Duitse bezetter
op deze plaats een
Markt voor Joden

 Van de 17.000 joodse  buurtbewoners hebben
13,000 de vernietigingskampen niet pverleefd

Translation: On November 3, 1941 the German occupier ordered a market for Jews in this place /Of the 17,000 Jewish local residents 13,000 did not survive the extermination camps

In raised letters on the large granite triangle:

3 nov 1941
1940 1945
Alleen toegangkelijk voor Joden

Translation: Nov 3, 1941 /MARKET /1940 1945 /Only accessible to Jews

On plaque set in the pile paving:

 Op 3 november 1941 werd op bevel van de duitse bezetter
Deze speeltuin een Markt voor Joden.
Alleen hier mochten zij nog kopen en verkopen. 

Velen van hen warden vanaf deze plaats weggevoerd.
Van de 17000 Joodse buurtbewoners warden 13000 vermoord.

 Voor hen en voor ons maakte Truus Menger het Kindermonument.
Ed van Thijn onthulde het op 3 november 1986.

Translation: On November 3, 1941, the German occupier ordered that this playground was a Market for Jews. Only here, were they allowed to buy and sell. Many of them were deported from this place. Of the 17,000 Jewish local residents, 13,000 were murdered. Truus Menger made the Children's Monument for them and for us. Ed van Thijn unveiled it on November 3, 1986.

Commissioned by

Funded by local residents, the municipality of Amsterdam, and the Association of Market Vendors/for Ambulatory Trade

Author of description
Samuel D. Gruber | 2024
Architectural Drawings
Computer Reconsdivuction
Section Head
Language Editor

16 image(s)

Name / Title
Children's Monument on Gaaspstaat in Amsterdam | 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
Synagogue active dates
Reconstruction dates
Artist/ Maker
The Netherlands | Amsterdam
| Gaaspstraat 11
Period Detail
Unknown |
Iconographical Subject
Textual Content
Languages of inscription
Shape / Form
Material / Technique
Ceramic tile
Material Stucture
Material Decoration
Material Bonding
Material Inscription
Material Additions
Material Cloth
Material Lining
Tesserae Arrangement
Construction material
Paved tile area approximately 3.25 m. x 3.25 m.
Panel Measurements
Number of Lines
Hebrew Numeration
Blank Leaves
Façade (main)
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

On base of two figures standing apart

Scribal Notes
Decoration Program
Summary and Remarks

The monument and its sculpture are dedicated to the memory of the separation of the neighborhood’s Jews from the rest of the population during the Second World War, by setting up separate Jewish markets, and isolating Jewish children in separate schools and play areas. There was a Jewish market established  here on Gaaspstraat next to the existing playground. The monument was dedicated on the 45th anniversary of the announcement that Jewish children were no longer allowed in the public playground.

The playground between Vechtstraat and Gaaspstraat was opened around 1927 by the Public Works Department. After 1933 many refugees from Germany settled in Amsterdam South, which already had a number of Jewish residents. Eventually about 17,000 Jews lived in the Rivierenbuurt. On November 3, 1941, the German occupiers requisitioned the playground and opened it as a market restricted to Jews. The memorial was unveiled by Mayor Ed van Thijn on November 3, 1986. The unveiling was accompanied by the publication of the book Amsterdam-Zuid in wartime by Dick Walda and a photo exhibition in the playground building about the war. Lex Goudsmit recited The Ballade of the Children of Auschwitz and Dick Scheffer recited two poems. Annual commemorations take place on November 3.

The playground/market was also the place in the neighborhood from which Jews were arrested and deported. The market came to an end on August 9, 1943. Of the 17,000 Jewish residents, 13,000 were killed.

According to Stoutenbeek and Vigeveno:

 “Shortly after the market was opened during the German occupation, the local residents destroyed the fence and hung up a banner with the text, ‘We want to go shopping in the market together with the Jews’. Only Jews could use the market and they had no alternative, because all other markets and shops were ‘forbidden to Jews’. The Jewish market stallholders mainly came from the Albert Cuyp market. Many of them went into hiding. In summer 1943 both customers and traders disappeared. On 9 August of that year the market was closed.”

There was a competition of four artists to design the monument A review committee consisted of Mies Bouhuys , Wim Polak (predecessor of Mayor Van Thijn) and rabbis Awraham Soetendorp was made from the work of four artists. Funds were raised by local residents, the municipality and the Association of Market Vendors/for Ambulatory Trade.

An explanatory plaque has been placed in the tiled floor and a QR diagram next to it. 

Main Surveys & Excavations

"Kindermonument Markt voor Joden,"
Wikipedia, https://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kindermonument_Markt_voor_Joden.

Post, Gerben, Lotty's Bench: The Persecution of the Jews of Amsterdam Remembered, (Volendam: LM Publishers, 2018)

Stoutenbeek, Jan and Paul Vigeveno. Jewish Amsterdam, trans. By Wendie Shaffer. (Amsterdam-Ghent: Ludion, 2003), pp. 237-239.
The following information on this monument will be completed:
Unknown |