VPRO / H.J.A. Hofland, Hans Verhagen, Sytze van der Zee
Time period: 1938-1948
Number of interviews: 24
Accessibility: for research purposes
Transcripts: yes
Period of interviews: 1974

Medium: 28 sound tapes

part 1

part 2

part 3

part 4


Vastberaden maar soepel en met mate, 1938-1948. Herinneringen aan Nederland

Auteurs : H.J.A, Hofland, Hans Keller / Hans Verhagen

Uitgever : Atlas Contact B.V., 1976
ISBN : 9789025420376

A historiography of the Netherlands from 1938 to 1948 based on interviews with mostly ordinary people about the crisis years, the brief revival from 1938, WWII and the decolonisation of Indonesia interspersed with archive material including feature film and sound clips.

From the 1970s, there had been a shift in perspective on WWII. It was no longer good to beat oneself up and only point the accusing finger at the collaborator, the Nazi or the criminal.

This change was reflected in the 1974 VPRO documentary. It focused on the failure of the authorities and the mental kinship of collaborators and ‘ordinary’ citizens. The story is an ‘anti-epic’ of confusion, self-interest, doubt, helplessness and absurdity.


The interviews were made for the VPRO production Vastberaden, maar soepel en met mate. Memories of the Netherlands 1938-1948, by H.J.A. Hofland, Hans Keller and Hans Verhagen. Television broadcast took place on 15 October 1974 (2 hours 55 mins). An edited version was broadcast on 29 June 1977 and repeated on 27 August 1989.
The interviewees recount their memories of the last pre-war years, the Second World War and the first post-war period from the different positions they held at the time. Sometimes they are authorities such as the politicians Burger and Schermerhorn, the historian Bouman, the communist resistance fighter Gortzak and also the press chief of Reichskommissar Seyss-Inquart, Willi Janke. In addition, however, several ‘ordinary people’ are featured, on whose history in and around the war the producers were particularly keen to emphasise. Examples include the Amsterdam-based Ms de Bruin and her friend, the resistance fighter De Graaf, the NSB member J.B. and the German soldiers stationed in the Netherlands during the occupation. Rasterhof, Van der Schaaf, Scheps and Slui give their views on the so-called Schokking affair. Mr F.M.A. Schokking was mayor of Hazerswoude during wartime and played a role in the arrest of the Jewish family Pino. After the war, he became mayor of The Hague until the affair was raised and forced him to resign. At Slui’s house, the Pino’s had spent some time in hiding during the war.
Most of the interviews were conducted by Hans Verhagen. Sytze van der Zee also participated in the interview with Willi Janke. The interview with Van Walsum – ultimately not included in the documentary – was conducted by Henk Hofland.

The makers of the documentary published a book containing (some of) the texts from the television film: Determined but Supple and Moderate. Herinneringen aan Nederland 1938-1948, Amsterdam: Contact, 1976. Keller and Hofland provided the book with introductory articles, chronicling the general principles of and practical preparations for production. The book is available at SFW.
Chris Vos analysed the documentary in his article ‘An indifferent history? The significance of the VPRO documentary Vastberaden, maar soepel en met mate for Dutch audiovisual historiography’, in: Jaarboek Mediageschiedenis 5, Amsterdam: Stichting Mediageschiedenis/Stichting beheer IISG, 1993, pp. 227-260. He did the same in his dissertation Television and Occupation. Een onderzoek naar de documentaire verbeelding van de tweede Wereldoorlog in Nederland, Hilversum: Verloren, 1995, pp. 128-153.
In 1989, the documentary was repeated as part of the VPRO series TVTOEN. or: How Dutch television writes history. There, the makers talked about the making of the film, their underlying ideas, the Schokking affair and (former prime minister) de Quay refusing an interview.


Interviewee(s): Henriette de Beaufort, H. Blok, Ms de Bruin and Ms Anchelon, Prof P.J. Bouman, Mr J.A.W. Burger, Henk Gortzak, Willi Janke, J.B. (initials only), Cas de Graaf, Mr P.J. and Ms Kruger[s], B.J.
Kouw, Gerrit Kouwenaar, J. Osten, L. Rasterhof, S.J. van der Schaaf, prof. W. Schermerhorn, Daan Slui, G.E. van Walsum, Lex van Weren, mr. J.C. de Wit, J.H. Scheps, mr. Kwiet, 2 (anonymous) German soldiers, 5 ‘border residents’

Dutch East Indies

Aankomst Johan van Oldenbarneveldt met repatrianten in Amsterdam, Bestanddeelnr 909-4259
Dick Verkijk
Number of interviews: 24
Accessibility: restricted
Transcripts: summary
Period of interviews: 1971

Medium: 5 geluidsbanden

The interview series involves mostly short conversations (ranging from four to 40 minutes) with Dutch East Indies people. They discuss their arrival in the Netherlands and their assimilation into Dutch
society. The material was used for an NOS radio programme, broadcast in March 1971.


Interviewer(s): Dick Verkijk


Number of interviewees: 27

Oort, K. Pavilcek, father and son Pietersz, Mr Pratacik, Coen Pronk, Mr de Riemer, Mr Robinson, Dr H. Ruiter, J. Sluyters, Prof J.D. Spekman, Mr and Mrs Tielman, de Vries

East to West

UvA / Theo Stevens
Time period: 1942-1963
Number of interviews: 27
Accessibility: public
Transcripts: yes
Period of interviews: 1992-1995

KITLV / UB Leiden




Het materiaal kan worden aangevraagd via de online catalogus van UB Leiden. De opnames zijn te beluisteren in de Leeszaal Bijzondere Collecties.

Medium: cassettebandjes

Archive and inventory no: D H 1565. The cassette tapes have been transferred to the AV collection of the KITLV.


The interviews are part of the working material resulting from the curriculum at the UvA on the history of the former Dutch East Indies led by Theo Stevens. P. Schuurmans was allowed to use these interviews for her doctoral thesis Adapting to Holland. The collection consists of the research material belonging to Schuurmans’ thesis.

Besides transcripts of several interviews, the collection also contains a notebook with notes and completed survey forms.


The interviews focus on events and experiences in the years 1942 – 1963.
They mainly discuss Indonesia and the Netherlands. Themes include World War II,
Indonesian revolution, migration, repatriation.


Publications linked to the collection: Schuurmans, P. (2002). Adapting to Holland: research
on Indonesian Dutch and their experience of repatriation 1950-1963 [Doctoral thesis]. University
of Amsterdam.

Repatriated citizens former Dutch East Indies

Aankomst Johan van Oldenbarneveldt met repatrianten in Amsterdam
NIOD / Stichting Onderzoek Terugkeer en Opvang (SOTO)
Time period: 1946-1952
Number of interviews: 29
Accessibility: restricted public
Transcripts: Comprehensive summaries/reports arranged chronologically by theme or period
Period of interviews: 1999

link to collection


Follow the link.

Click on:


3. Egodocumenten

  3.2 Interviews

   45 Uitgewerkte interviews over de ervaringen van burgers die gerepatrieerd zijn vanuit Nederlands-Indië, 1999.


De collectie is slechts raadpleegbaar na verkregen schriftelijke toestemming van de directeur van het NIOD.


Stichting Onderzoek Terugkeer en Opvang (SOTO)

NIOD 889, inventory numbers 45, 48-51, 72


The interviews are part of a study into the experiences of citizens from the former Dutch East Indies on return and reception in the Netherlands in the period 1946 – 1952.

The Foundation for Research on Return and Reception (SOTO) was set up in the summer of 1998 at the invitation of the Cabinet. The aim was to test the hitherto prevalent view that the reception of victims of the Second World War was cold and bureaucratic.

The interview collection consists of 29 interviews. The interviewees were selected on geographical distribution, different social and ethnic backgrounds, age at the time of repatriation, period of repatriation and gender.


The research resulted in an exhibition.
Return and reception after World War II, the educational project Thinking of Holland and
four publications.


The interviews focus on events and experiences in the years 1900 – 1999, with an emphasis on the period 1942 – 1960. They mainly discuss Indonesia, Java, Sumatra, Sulawesi and Thailand, the Netherlands and Japan. Themes include connection to the former Dutch East Indies, family history, daily life, Japanese occupation, World War II, Internment Camp, liberation, Red Cross, Rapwi, NICA, evacuation from camps, family reunification, reception, aid organisations, repatriation, migration, Ataka, reception address, reception in the Netherlands, medical care, education, aftermath, processing, KJBB, Pelita, WUV, WUBO, retrospective, role employer evacuation, BPM, KNIL, KPM, social career.



Bossenbroek, M. (2001). De meelstreep. Terugkeer en opvang na de Tweede Wereldoorlog. Bert Bakker.

Piersma, H. (Ed.). (2001). Mensenheugenis. Terugkeer en opvang na de Tweede Wereldoorlog. Getuigenissen.
Bert Bakker, Stichting onderzoek terugkeer en opvang.

Kristel, C. (Ed.). (2002a). Binnenskamers. Terugkeer en opvang na de Tweede Wereldoorlog: besluitvorming.
Bert Bakker.
Kristel, C. (Ed.). (2002b). Polderschouw. Terugkeer en opvang na de Tweede Wereldoorlog: regionale
verschillen. Bert Bakker.

Diversity of the Amersfoort Memory


Realisation project:

Interview overview:



Time frame: 
Location: Amersfoort

Number of interviews: 40

of which 24 accessible

at the Archief Eemland

In the past 50 years, a large number of migrants have come to Amersfoort to build a new life for themselves. Archives Eemland could not find any information about their history. In order to change this and to make future source research possible, Archives Eemland has set itself the goal of collecting source material about migrants. The oral history project ‘Diversity of the Amersfoort Memory’ laid the foundation for this.

The collection now consists of 40 interviews (24 of which are publicly accessible) with Amersfoort-based migrants. Information on the content and background of the project can be found at

From the exhibition ‘Amersfoort Works’ at Museum Flehite in 2005. Eight portraits of people in their working environment make the connection between past and present. The people portrayed tell about their work in the city and their personal love for the profession.

Ali en Arlan Alagöz van supermarkt Gözde Plaza. Op de website van Archief Eemland, onder ‘Oral History’, is een interview terug te vinden met de heer Ali Alagöz. © foto: Tjeerd Jansen

Long shadow of Sobibor

Time period: 1930-2009


Realisation project:

Selma Leydesdorff (interviews), University of Amsterdam

Mirjam Huffener (project manager), Stichting Sobibor


Timeframe: 1930-2009
Location: Netherlands, Poland, Sobibor





The Long Shadow of Sobibor collection contains 31 interviews with both relatives of people murdered in Sobibor and with Dutch, Polish, Ukrainian and Russian survivors of the Sobibor uprising (October 14, 1943).


The interviews are life histories in which the interviewees tell about the world they left behind with the death of relatives in Sobibor, and how they lived their lives afterwards without their loved ones. Next of kin tell what the murder of their loved one has meant. Often one or both parents are involved. The survivors, of the revolt that took place in Sobibor on October 14, 1943, also go into their lives before and after the extermination camp in their stories.

Dutch ex-prisoners of Buchenwald camp

Time period: 1941-1945



Realisation project:

NIOD Instituut voor Oorlogs-, Holocaust- en Genocidestudie


Timeframe: 1941-1945
Location: Buchenwald, Duitsland, Nederland
Number of interviews: 38


Thematic collection: Erfgoed van de Oorlog



Some interviews can be seen via:


On the Ettersberg, a large wooded hill eight kilometres north of Weimar in Germany, the Nazis established the Buchenwald concentration camp in 1937. It quickly became one of the largest concentration camps of the Third Reich. Of the estimated 240,000 people imprisoned at the camp, 34,000 officially died. Nowadays, however, the death rate is estimated to be much higher, at 50,000.


After the Netherlands was conquered by Germany in May 1940, Dutch people were also quickly transported after Buchenwald; an estimated 3,300 people. These included hostages, Jews, resistance fighters, Jehovah’s Witnesses and those who refused to work. How they fared in Buchenwald can no longer always be traced. What is certain is that 497 Dutch people died in Buchenwald, and that when the camp was liberated there were still 384 Dutch people there.


In the period 2000-2001, the former Association of Former Buchenwald Prisoners interviewed 38 Dutch former prisoners. The interviews were made possible financially by the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport within the framework of the project ‘World War II Relics’. With this interview project the Vereniging Oud-Buchenwalders seized one of the last opportunities to record the experiences of these eyewitnesses. In 2001, the Association was dissolved and replaced by the Buchenwald Memorial Committee, which primarily focuses on the progress of the commemorations.

In 2002, the filmed interviews of Dutch former prisoners of Buchenwald camp were transferred to the NIOD Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies. The NIOD has made the interviews digitally accessible and searchable. This was financially made possible by the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport within the framework of the project ‘War Heritage’ (2007-2009). Commissioned by the NIOD, filmmaker Emiel Bakker made, based on the interviews, the documentary ‘Vooral niet opvallen. Nederlanders in Buchenwald’ (2008).

On behalf of the NIOD, filmmaker Emiel Bakker made, on the basis of the interviews, the documentary ‘Vooral niet opvallen. Dutch in Buchenwald’ (2008). The documentary premiered in November 2008 during the 21st “International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam” (IDFA) and was broadcast on TV by the NPS on 4 May 2009.

Fields of Margraten

Time period: 1944-1948



Realisation project:

Ruim Kader Films, Regionaal Historisch Centrum Limburg  © (2010)



Time frame: 1944-1948
Location: Margraten
Number of interviews: 43


Thematic collection: Erfgoed van de Oorlog




Akkers van





In September 1944, American soldiers of the 30th Infantry Division of the First American Army liberate South Limburg. To the amazement of local farmers, a month later the first fallen Americans were buried in their fields near Margraten. No one could then have guessed that soon after, more than twenty thousand crosses and Stars of David would be stuck in the mud on one of the largest European war cemeteries. In November 1944, the Ninth American Army officially took over the cemetery. The Dutch government had previously taken ownership of the land and then, out of respect and gratitude, made it available to the United States for all eternity. Germans and Russians have also been buried in the American military cemetery. At present there are still 8,301 American graves in Margraten. 


As part of this oral history project, eyewitnesses of the war in Margraten will speak out, and more specifically, people who saw with their own eyes how the war cemetery was laid out. Never before have eyewitnesses to the construction of the military cemetery told of their experiences. Many Dutch eyewitnesses mention the many black Americans who were involved in the construction of the cemetery and had to perform heavy work in harsh weather conditions.

Collection Diederichs

Time period: 1940-1945

Project realisation:

Aletta, instituut voor vrouwengeschiedenis (1993)



number of interviews: 42

(restricted public)


Thematische collectie: Erfgoed van de Oorlog



‘Wie geschoren wordt moet stil zitten: de omgang van Nederlandse meisjes met Duitse militairen’ / Monika Diederichs (2006)


The Diederichs Collection consists of 42 in-depth interviews with women who themselves had a relationship and/or whose family member had a relationship with a German soldier during the war.


The occasion for these interviews was the compilation of the book ‘Wie geschoren moet stil zitten: de omgang van Nederlandse meisjes met Duitse militairen’ / Monika Diederichs (2006).

Women of the CPN

© Ben van Meerendonk / AHF, collectie IISG

Time period: 1926-2009



Project realisation:




Time frame: 1926-2009


number of interviews: 44

(restricted public)


Thematische collectie: Erfgoed van de Oorlog



Not much was known about the experiences of female members of the Dutch Communist Party (CPN) during the German occupation. The documentary shows twelve mainly ordinary and not so prominent female party members, who were at least fourteen years old at the outbreak of the Second World War. The interviews focus on the women’s daily lives just before, during and after the occupation years.

The interviews show that the communist women knew early on about the threat posed by nazi Germany. As early as 1933, German refugees were often taken in by relatives or acquaintances of the interviewees. Many women later became involved in actions against General Franco during the Spanish Civil War.


When the Second World War broke out, many women were often already politically active. The women talk about their activities as couriers or distributors of the illegal communist magazine De Waarheid. In addition, the women discuss their role in the (armed) resistance and talk about their time in internment or hiding.


For almost all women, their experiences during the German occupation shaped their post-war (political) lives. They also elaborate on the period of the Cold War, when in the polarised political climate the CPN increasingly found itself isolated.


The interview project was conducted by Aletta, Institute for Women’s History (now: Atria) and completed in 2009