Amsterdam commemorates 75th anniv. of WWII February Strike

Notice of WWII February Strike Commemoration on Amsterdam Tram, 25 Feb 2016 (Photo: Zachary Newmark/NL Times). (Notice of WWII February Strike Commemoration on Amsterdam Tram, 25 Feb 2016 (Photo: Zachary Newmark/NL Times))

All GVB trams, buses, subways and ferries in Amsterdam will halt for one minute at 11:00 a.m. to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the February Strike during the Second World War, Het Parool reports. Only tram 26 will not participate in this commemoration, because the tunnels on the route make it too dangerous. At the start Mayor Eberhard van der Laan will explain what the commemoration is about with a pre-recorded message over the GVB's central broadcasting system.

On February 25th, 1941 thousands of Amsterdam residents stopped working in protest against the persecution of Jews. This massive strike was initiated by raids in the Jewish quarter on the previous weekend, February 22nd and 23rd. A total of 427 Jewish men between the ages of 18 and 35 were arrested and deported through the Buchenwald concentration camp to Mauthausen. The strike started with the municipality tram not riding that morning. Then may large Amsterdam companies stopped working. The strike spread like wildfire to the Zaanstreek, Kennemerland and in the direction of Gooi. According to Het Parool, the February Strike was the only widespread and open opposition against Jewish persecution in all of Europe. The official commemoration ceremony will be held at the statue of the Dockworker on the Jonas Daniel Meijer square. King Willem-Alexander will attend. Speeches start at 4:30 p.m. This year mayor Van der Laan and actor Joost Prinsen, among others, will speak. After the speeches, King Willem-Alexander will lay the first wreath at the Dockworker. He will also visit the open-air photo exhibition on the 1941 raids on the square.