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The first witnesses of our century

Sound & VIsion
Time period: 1900-1995
Number of interviews: 9 (9 people)
Accessibility: on request
Transcripts: short summaries
Period of interviews: 1995

Can be searched in DAAN or on the website of Sound & Vision with the search term “De eerste getuigen” and the metadata production company name “RVU”

Medium: Analogue media: digi-beta and VHS Digital media: MXF

Paul Julien (1981)

Hilda Verwey-Jonker (1983) (cc – Rob C. Croes / Anefo – Nationaal Archief)

Emile Schüttenhelm in 1968

Jan Tinbergen – foto: R.C. Croes, ANEFO, 1986

Willy Corsari – foto: Edith Visser, ca. 1948

Arthur Lehning (1976)

Jeanne Bieruma Oosting – Zelfportret (1932)

Chris Walder – Foto: Johan van Gurp, 1993

Corrie de Roos-Oudegeest, 1961

This interview series contains two series. See the hyperlinks for the Sound and Vision archive.


The first series is called “De schatkamer – De eerste getuigen van onze eeuw”:


Paul Julien 1901-2001

Interview with 93-year-old anthropologist and chemist Paul Julien. Julien talks about: his childhood in Utrecht; his exclusively science-oriented interest, as a result of which social and political developments during his youth eluded his observation; his expeditions to Africa and what he sees as the positive influence of colonialism on tribal war-torn Africa. Julien shows gloom about the future due to the decline in moral awareness and does not even consider it out of the question “…that we are heading for a Third World War.”


Hilda Verwey-Jonker 1908-2004

Interview with sociologist and former Member of Parliament Hilda Verwey-Jonker (1908) about her childhood on Zuid-Beveland and in Zwolle; the SDAP milieu in which she grew up; the position of women in the early twentieth century; sexuality as experienced by students; her grandchildren; the rise of right-wing extremism in the 1930s and her functioning in male-dominated strongholds such as the SER and the United Nations. Verwey-Jonker fears the consequences of the aging of Western society. According to her, poorer peoples will take over some of the prosperity without having the technical and scientific knowledge to deal responsibly with the environment.


Emile Schüttenhelm 1909-2003

Interview with former NTS president Emile Schüttenhelm (1909) about: the Catholic environment in which he grew up; World War I; rise and fall of communism; the rise of right-wing extremism in the 1930s; his participation in the World Jamboree in 1937 and his meeting with Lord Baden-Powell; his liberation in 1945 and the presidency of the NTS, for which he was asked because, according to Minister Cals, he was the only one who had a chance to “survive” in Hilversum.

Schüttenhelm reminisces about Henk Terlingen and looks positively to the future, since, according to him, every generation has the commitment and creativity the future needs.


The second series is called “De eerste getuigen van onze eeuw”:


Jan Tinbergen 1903-1994

Interview with Jan Tinbergen a.o. about his youth, the end of WW I, his study of physics in Leiden and his contacts with his teachers Paul Ehrenfest and Albert Einstein; his work at the Central Bureau of Statistics mn the fight against the crisis in the thirties; about his transfer in 1936 to the League of Nations in Zurich and the cooperation during WW II with experts on international law like Van Asbeck and van Eysinga t. His research into the role of international treaties; his passivism and anti-colonialism; the research by the CBS into the economic consequences of overseas territories and his criticism of Min. Drees’ attitude regarding de-colonialization policy. He also talks about his research into world issues such as developing countries and environmental problems, which according to him require a global approach through a world government and about receiving the Nobel Prize in 1969. Finally, he gives his vision of the future in terms of an economic balance between production and fairer income distribution and his desire for a more sober and idealistic society.


Willy Corsari 1897- 1998

Interview with Willy Corsari about her unhappy childhood, the artists’ milieu in which she grew up, the origin of the name Corsari, her studies of piano and singing and writing girls’ books, her memories of The Hague and Berlin where she took singing lessons, her life with Jean-Louis Pisuisse’s cabaret company and the history of his murder. She tells about the publication of her first books, including about euthanasia, and her love for the theater, which she stopped attending as a matter of principle during the war; the work of the resistance and helping Jews during the war years and the positive memories of the occupation period regarding mutual human relationships; about the publisher Leopold who committed suicide and her move to cooperative publisher Lubberhuizen/Blommestein (later De Bezige Bij), where she left after conflicts.


Arthur Lehning 1899-2000

Interview with Arthur Lehning about his exciting stay in artists’ and anarcho-syndicalist circles in Berlin in the 1920s and 1930s, the rise of fascism, his views on the political movements of the time, including the Spanish Civil War, his initiative to found the international politically engaged art magazine “i10” and the people, including Mondrian, Kandinsky and Nagy, who contributed to it. He recounts his childhood friend Marsman and the ideological conflict between them in the 1920s; regarding the Spanish Civil War, his reasons for actively supporting the socialist revolution and his stays and encounters there; his experiences in the internment camp on the Isle of Man, England, after the neutralization refusal, regarding his political activities, of the Netherlands, his activities regarding the Cold War and the Paris protest movement ’68. He calls the past century “this terrible age” and sees little positive prospect for the next one.


Jeanne Bieruma Oosting 1898-1994

Interview with Jeanne Bieruma Oosting about her childhood years in the affluence of noble and aristocratic circles; her early love of painting and her studies at the Art Academy in The Hague during which time she met Queen Wilhelmina. She talks about her teacher Van Konijnenburg, her impressionist painting style, her departure in 1929 with Charlotte van Pallandt for Paris and her 11-year stay there where she met Piccaso, among others, and became fascinated by the seamy and nightlife of this city; about her stay in the south of France after the outbreak of the war, the return to occupied Holland and the productive years in Amsterdam. Oosting talks about her painting and graphic work, including the design for children’s stamps and her self-portraits, the stroke that struck her and the happy life she enjoyed.


Chris Walder 1900-1997

Interview with Chris Walder about his childhood in Breda, where he learned to play soccer early on the streets, his first matches, the mobilization and outbreak of WWI and his training to become a notary; playing soccer at NAC, the various matches for the Dutch championship and the various NAC players around 1920-’21; the national championship of NAC, after which he was selected for the Dutch national team. He talks about the fact that back then there was no training program for the team and the big difference with today’s soccer.

He believes he could have come along now as well, because it always remains about the talent.


Cor de Roos-Oudegeest 1899-1998

Interview with Cor de Roos-Oudegeest about her background, memories of the railroad strike of 1903, her father Jan Oudegeest (chairman of the NVV and SDAP politician), WWI and the support committee; the reactions in Dutch socialist circles to the Russian Revolution, her joining the SDAP and her activities for the SDAP women’s union, the rise of communism and fascism and the outbreak of WWII, the occupation years and her husband’s resistance work.

She talks about politics after the war in the Dutch East Indies, about the views of Minister Drees regarding the inferior position of women, her entry into the Lower House for the PvdA in 1956 and the reasons for leaving active politics behind. She sees the greatest changes in this century as the great growth of prosperity and participation, but also a much more selfish society, which makes her feel less positive about the future..