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The life and work of Jacques Presser

Philo Bregstein
Time period: 1900-1970
Number of interviews: 7 (1 person)
Accessibility: restricted
Transcripts: complete
Period of interviews: December 1969 - March 1970

Type of interview: journalistic

These interviews can be found in Daan, the digital archive of Beeld & Geluid with the following terms: “Stichting Film en Wetenschap” AND Presser. The term “Presser” alone also suffices. It will be the first item of the 627 hits. All seven interviews are there.


The following can also be found in DAAN: Dingen die niet voorbijgaan 01-01-1970, the documentary for which the interviews were held

Medium: 6 audio tapes

Title: Gesprekken met Jacques Presser. Gevoerd door Philo Bregstein

Editor: Philo Bregstein

Publisher: Amsterdam: Athenaeum-Polak & Van Gennep, 1972

IBSN: 9789059114210


Title: Homo Submersus: een roman uit de onderduik

Author: Jacques Presser (posthumously published by Philo Bregstein)

Publisher: Amsterdam: Boom, 2010

IBSN: 9789085067153 

In Met het oog op morgen 20-04-2010 NOS (which is in DAAN) Bregstein discusses the publishing of this book.

Philo Bregstein in 1969 and 1970 interviewed Jacques Presser (1899-1970), already in his seventies. This historian and writer became known for his book Ondergang: de ververvolging en verdelging van het Nederlandse Jodendom 1940-1945 (The Hague: Staatsuitgeverij, 1965). In 1950, the Dutch state commissioned Presser to conduct a study of the fate of the Jews during World War II. For this, Presser spent fifteen years in the NIOD archives. The published book subsequently became a bestseller. Presser is also the creator of the term ego document and is considered one of the great Dutch historians of the modern era.


First of all, Bregstein conducted these interviews for the purposes of the television film Dingen die niet voorbijgaan, broadcast by VARA on May 8, 1970, and in a second, revised and expanded version on October 19, 1970. These interviews included discussions about his childhood, his choice of history as a subject and his experiences as a Jew during the occupation period. From the interview material, Bregstein compiled the commentary for the film.


This film commentary was in turn published in the book Dingen die niet voorbijgaan. Persoonlijk geschiedverhaal van 1900 tot vandaag / verteld door Jacques Presser; in beeld gebracht door Philo Bregstein, Amsterdam, 1970. In 1981 the book was reissued as: Dingen die niet voorbijgaan. Persoonlijk geschiedverhaal verteld door Jacques Presser / film van Philo Bregstein, Amsterdam: Meulenhoff (film texts), 1981. More extensive interviews were incorporated in: Gesprekken met Jacques Presser. Gevoerd door Philo Bregstein, Amsterdam: Athenaeum-Polak & Van Gennep, 1972


Also see the collection Jacques Presser, where Nanda van der Zee interviewed many people after Presser’s death for a biography.