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The Artifacts Collection

Artifacts in the Holocaust History Museum

A Sign from the Period of Nazi Occupation of Hilversum, Holland: “Forbidden for Jews…!”

 A wooden sign in Dutch with the words: “Forbidden for Jews” A wooden sign in Dutch with the words: “Forbidden for Jews”
The youth W. Niemoeller in front of his home during the war. Note the front window crossed with tape because of the bombings. Hilversum, Holland, 1942The youth W. Niemoeller in front of his home during the war. Note the front window crossed with tape because of the bombings. Hilversum, Holland, 1942

An 11-year-old boy, W. Niemoeller, discovered the sign in a small tennis court close to his home.  Without telling his parents, he unscrewed the sign and took it down. In a letter, he described how the sign came into his hands:

“In Hilversum there was a small tennis court at the intersection of two roads behind some houses in our neighborhood. I discovered the sign near the entrance of the tennis court. I couldn’t believe my eyes, but there it was. It was a beautiful day in September or October 1942, very early in the morning. Without telling my parents (clearly I must have had some awareness of the danger), I approached the sign and took it down using a screwdriver. I hid it under my coat and returned home. ..Why did I do it? I suppose it was a result of rage – senseless rage: my act did not delay the Holocaust and WWII did not end any earlier because of what I did. It was not a heroic deed, more a thoughtless one. Once home, I displayed the results of my action. My father was very angry. After more than sixty years, I have to admit he was right – it was a stupid thing to do – but, on the other hand, at the time it gave me a feeling of pride.”

Yad Vashem Artifacts Collection
Gift of W. Niemoeller, Hobrede, Netherlands

Translation of sign:
Forbidden for Jews.
Signed: Attorney General Feitsma
Functioning as Regional Chief of Police

Additional artifacts in the Holocaust History Museum