Sign from the period of Nazi occupation of Hilversum, Holland, on which is written: “Forbidden for Jews…!”
The sign was discovered by W. Niemoeller, aged 11, in a small tennis court close to his home. Without telling his parents, he approached the sign and took it down. In a letter, he detailed 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 was aware 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: the Holocaust was not delayed, 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 became angry. After 60+ 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