Oral History broadcasting history

Sound and Vision
Time period: 1919-1993
Number of interviews: 141
Period of interviews: 1978-1993


Interviews with broadcasting pioneers about their role in the history of Dutch radio and TV. As the programme makers are now considerably elderly, this is a last chance for Het Omroepmuseum (the predecessor of The Institute of Sound and Vision) to record their stories for posterity. Thus a special form of “oral history” relating to the early years of broadcasting was created between 1978 and 1993.

The interviews are available in the archive of Sound and Vision, SOUND AND VISION. An overview with descriptions of the content of the interviews from the catalogue can be READ HERE.


Interviews by Harrie Vossen, Jan van Herpen, Gerard van Beek, P.M. Bakker, Stef Lokin, Heinz Joosten, Cor van Driel, L. van der Linden, Arend Woudsma, Marnix Koolhaas.



Living with war experiences

Smolinski Foundation
Time period: 1940-1945
Number of interviews: 192
Accessibility: restricted public
Period of interviews: 2019-present

Herman Teerhöfer managed to interview a large number of survivors, starting from their life stories, about their personal experience and perception of the events and circumstances before, during and after World War II.

The poignant stories have been recorded in people’s homes, in image and sound. All interviewees also give a message for future generations in the interview.


Central questions in the interviews are:

  • How were they able to survive and what did they draw strength from?
  • Where did they draw mental support from? What was their footing?

  • How did they make sense of their lives after the war despite many experiences of loss and trauma?

  • How did they experience anti-Semitism prior to and after World War II?

  • What message do they have for future generations regarding tolerance and forbearance?



From the testimonies and stories goes the warning “Never again war” and at the same time they call for cherishing and celebrating the freedom we now enjoy.


Wide-ranging interviews
Over the years, a large collection of interviews has been produced. The topics cover a wide range of aspects of World War II, due to the diverse background and environment the interviewees were in.


Smolinski Foundation aims to unlock a large collection of interviews in a way suitable for use during lessons in schools and presentations for cultural and civil society organisations. Digital, interactive teaching materials are also being developed. Interview fragments can also be used in museum presentations.


Overview of available interviews

  • 84 life stories of Auschwitz survivors:
    • 20 interviewees were deported from Camp Vught to Auschwitz
    • 28 interviewees were deported to Auschwitz from Camp Westerbork
    • 36 interviewees were deported to Auschwitz from other camps and ghettos outside the Netherlands
  • 25 life stories of Jewish people who managed to survive in hiding during World War II
  • 11 life stories of people who participated in the Jewish resistance during World War II
  • 8 life stories of survivors of Westerbork and Bergen-Belsen
  • 3 life stories of survivors of Westerbork only
  • 1 life story of a survivor of e.g. Camp Amersfoort
  • 10 life stories of survivors of Japanese camps in the former Dutch East Indies
  • 2 life stories of people who were children of NSB parents during World War II
  • 8 life stories of resistance fighters and former political prisoners from Camp Vught
  • 20 life stories of people who survived the Second World War and who, for example, witnessed a bombing (Nijmegen, Tilburg or Rotterdam), or experienced the hunger winter, or joined the Allies at liberation, or other testimonies of the Second World War in the Netherlands
  • 10 life stories of people who witnessed the persecution of Jews in, for example, Amsterdam, Leiden and Tilburg, people who witnessed prisoners being put to work outside the camp in Camp Amersfoort or Camp Vught during World War II. These people lived in the immediate vicinity of Camp Amersfoort or Camp Vught at the time of the war.
  • 10 life stories of people who experienced Anne Frank before and/or during the war in Amsterdam and/or in Westerbork, Auschwitz-Birkenau and/or Bergen-Belsen. They were classmates or close friends of Anne Frank in Amsterdam, or they were fellow prisoners in Westerbork, Auschwitz-Birkenau and/or Bergen-Belsen.

Flood disaster 1953

Stichting Film en Wetenschap
Time period: 1953


Collection former Stichting Film en Wetenschap


Interviewers: student groups
Number of interviews: 180

Sound carrier: 297 cassette tapes
Type of interview(s): scientific
Production date: 1990-92

Accessibility: for research purposes
Transcription: A brief summary is available of 100 interviews

The interviews relating to the 1953 flood were conducted as part of an oral history project by several groups of students from the Documentation Centre for Contemporary History (DNG) of the University of Amsterdam in 1990-92. Many of the interviewees were direct victims of the disaster, others were related to it as relief workers, administrators etcetera. 
The entire project was led by Dr Selma Leydesdorff. She used the interviews in her book Het water en de herinnering. De Zeeuwse watersnoodramp 1953-1993 (met een fotoreportage van Ed van Wijk), Amsterdam: Meulenhoff, 1993.


Jacques Presser
Collectie voormalige Stichting Film en Wetenschap
Time period: 1899-1970
Number of interviews: 126
Accessibility: Limited
Transcripts: Summaries
Period of interviews: 1984 - 1987

Interviewer: Nanda van der Zee

The interviews were conducted for Van der Zee’s biography of Presser (1899-1970):
Jacques Presser: het gelijk van de twijfel. Een biografie, Amsterdam: Balans, 1988.


The interviewees (some of them in Jerusalem) are family members, former pupils, former students, colleagues and other relations of the historian and writer. They talk about his youth, background and family ties; his student days; teaching at the Vossius Gymnasium and the Jewish Lyceum in Amsterdam; his marriage to Dé Appel; the war years, including the suicide attempt in May 1940, Dé’s deportation and the period in hiding; his Jewish identity; his second marriage to Bep Hartog; his political views; the issue of his appointment as professor of Newest History at the University of Amsterdam Political Social Faculty at the University of Amsterdam; his publications, including his well-known two-volume Ondergang. The persecution and extermination of Dutch Jewry, 1940-1945, The Hague: Staatsuitgeverij, 1965.


The Voice of Leiden

Thuisnaaister in de huiskamer
Historische vereniging oud Leiden
Number of interviews: 126
Period of interviews: 2015-present

The interviewers of De Stem van Leiden have spoken to dozens of older Leiden people about life in the past in the key city.
The oral history project, which started in 2015, is rock solid and is still ongoing.

A clear manual has been made for interviewers and two information leaflets to hand out, both for people who want to tell about the past and for people who are interested in interviewing.


An overview of all the stories resulting from the interviews by the committee De Stem van Leiden, which is part of the Historische Vereniging Oud Leiden and works together with Erfgoed Leiden en Omstreken and the Opleiding Geschiedenis of Leiden University.


De geschiedenis verteld – De Stem van Leiden


Gezin aan het bonendoppen in de Mirakelsteeg

Breda tells

Breda Vertelt
Time period: Before, during and right after WOII
Number of interviews: 116
Accessibility: Online available
Transcripts: Unkown
Period of interviews: Since 2009

116 interviews on youtube:



On the initiative of the City Archives of Breda, Breda residents talk about living, working and life in Breda then and now. Guest interviewers record these spoken stories on film.

We regularly add new interviews to the Oral History Project. These interviews can be seen at Breda Vertelt.


Historian Kees Wouters interviewed eyewitnesses of important events in Breda’s recent history. The films he has recorded since 2009 (about the years before, during and immediately after the Second World War) contain many personal experiences that further colour the image of historical reality.


The collection of Kees Wouters comprises 116 videos of between 4 and 10 minutes.
All videos from Breda’s Oral History project can be viewed via Youtube.

Camp Amersfoort



Stichting Nationaal Monument Kamp Amersfoort
Time period: 1941-1945
Number of interviews: 74

National Monument Camp Amersfoort, on the border of Leusden and Amersfoort, is one of the three best known Dutch memorial centers. Between 1941 and 1945, approximately 37,000 prisoners were incarcerated for short or long periods of time in this transit camp, which was also a penal camp under the direct command of the SS.

Over the years Camp Amersfoort National Monument has been able to interview more than 100 former prisoners about their time in the camp during the Second World War. These extraordinary interviews provide an impressive glimpse into what life was like in Camp Amersfoort at the time. Stories about punishment, the bad food, the cruel regime, but also about fellow prisoners and how you tried to survive as a prisoner. As far as possible all interviews will be made available in the near future.