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From resistance fighter to subversive citizen

Van verzetsstrijder tot staatsgevaarlijk burger. Hoe progressieve illegale werkers na de oorlog de voet is dwarsgezet

Joost van Lingen en Niek Slooft

Anthos/uitgeverij In den Toren, 1987

ISBN: 90 6074 200 1

The life stories that seventeen former resistance fighters of a very left-wing persuasion told journalists Van Lingen & Slooff describe hopes, expectations and bitterness, feelings of unity and, above all, hostility. The interviewees are (ex)-communists, Trotskyists, anarchists and so on, from clubs such as the CPN, EVC and De Vonk, and their mutual feelings are decidedly less lovely than the common denominator ‘progressive’ would suggest. Nevertheless, there is something they shared in post-war Holland and that is their position of absolute outsider, of enemy and ‘fifth columnist’ in a situation of division in which even fierce non-communists, such as the interviewed old Groninger, an anarchist pacifist, were labelled communists.

What is intriguing about the stories van Lingen and Slooff recorded is the ambivalence that many revolutionaries display: a curious combination of distrust, cynicism and illusiveness on the one hand, and surprised innocence and naivety on the other. During the war, many had the dream that everything would be different later, but at the same time, even then, they felt alone, deviant, always (even in the future) in struggle and always betrayed.