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The 1930s

Voormalig Stichting Film en Wetenschap / Martin Schouten
Time period: 1930-1940
Number of interviews: 13 (13 persons)
Accessibility: Restricted
Transcripts: Transcription De Vink missing, rest is complete
Period of interviews: 1975-1980

The collection has not yet been digitized and therefore cannot be viewed directly at Sound & Vision. Digitization can, however, be requested from Sound & Vision via: 

Medium: 1 audiotape, 23 cassette tapes

Voor de Oorlog – Herinneringen aan de jaren 30, Martin Schouten, De Bezige Bij, ISBN: 9789023452843.



The interviewees speak from their distinct positions about their experiences in the 1930s. The interviews were incorporated into Schouten’s book: Voor de Oorlog – Herinneringen aan de jaren ’30, Amsterdam: De Bezige Bij, 1982; also published as a two-volume edition by the Stichting Burgerschapskunde/Nederlands Centrum voor Politieke Vorming in 1981.



  • Hendrik Algra, teacher, chairman of the ARP electoral association in Leeuwarden den and from 1935 to 1978 editor-in-chief of the Friesch Dagblad, speaks admiringly of Colijn.
  • Pieter Both, one of the first KLM pilots since 1928, talks about his experiences in the early years of (civilian) aviation.
  • Jenny Brus, daughter of a station restaurant owner in Zevenaar, tells how things were in the 1930s when the D-trains with (Jewish) refugees from Germany arrived and many were detained at the station and sent back moments later. Only a few were able to stay or were given the opportunity to travel on to the United States, for example.
  • Elly Bysterus Heemskerk, a violinist with the Concertgebouw Orchestra from 1914-1951, talks about conductors Willem Mengelberg and Pierre Monteux, among others, and about her house on Koninginneweg, which was requisitioned by the Germans in 1940.
  • Leo Corsius, a socialist crane operator at the Sphinx earthenware factory in Maastricht, talks about his experiences in the modern union and the problems it caused in the Catholic stronghold. Regularly in the conversation, the 1929 strike at the Zinc White factory pops up.
  • Frits Günther, CPN member from Amsterdam, recounts his experiences in the International Brigade in the Spanish Civil War. He was in Spain from 1937 to 1939 and was wounded twice. Upon his return, he managed to evade the Dutch authorities for some time but nevertheless “joining foreign military service” still cost him his Dutch citizenship for ten years.
  • Sjeng Hardy, employee of the Maastricht Sphinx earthenware factory, talks about the hard life and work in the thirties, in which there was a constant threat of dismissal.
  • Frans Laheij, chief of three stamping offices in Maastricht – respectively for the organized in the Catholic and Socialist trade unions and for the unorganized – recounts his experiences with support workers, the clergy and the municipality.
  • Stan Poppe, city councilor for the SDAP in Ede and Zaandam, respectively. In 1932 he joined the left-wing opposition to the OSP led by Jacques de Kadt. This membership meant his dismissal in 1934 as an employee of the state tax department, because the OSP appeared on the list of organizations banned for civil servants established in 1933. Thereupon he founded publishing house De Vlam for the party, which continued to exist long after the OSP and Henk Sneevliet’s RSP merged into RSAP in 1935. In ’37, however, he was forced to resign from the party in order to return to his old job.
  • Jozef Rosenberg, a shopkeeper in Zevenaar, talks about his work for refugees arriving in the border region from Germany and Austria. He tried to do as much as he could for the people through Dutch refugee committees. Jewish himself, he and his family survived the war in hiding.
  • Jan Rot, political cartoonist and one of the foremen of the SDAP in Amsterdam, tells about the secession of the oppositional Fakkelgroep (after the magazine De Fakkel) within the SDAP in 1932 and the subsequent founding of the OSP. He himself remained in the SDAP and for many years was chairman of the Amsterdam Department 9: Jordaan and Kinkerbuurt. He also talks about the Labor Plan and about his (drawing) work for the magazine Labor Freedom Bread of the Bureau for Action and Propaganda against Fascism and Communism: Buracprop for short.
  • Pi Scheffer, educator and trombonist/arranger, recounts his experiences as a semi-professional (jazz) musician in the pre-war dance orchestra The Blue Ramblers and his encounters with Coleman Hawkins, Django Reinhardt and others. After the war, he became the leader of the AVRO dance orchestra The Skymasters.
  • Koos de Vink talks about his poverty-stricken childhood in Leiden, his political sympathies and his friendship with Marinus van der Lubbe, the young Dutch communist who was sentenced to death in Germany in 1933 for setting fire to the Reichstag building in Berlin.