The Netherlands Armed Forces surrendered to Nazi Germany in May 1940, and the first anti-Jewish measures (the barring of Jews from the air-raid defence services) began in June 1940. These culminated in November 1940 in the removal of all Jews from public positions, including universities, which led directly to student protests in Leiden and elsewhere. At the same time, there was an increasing feeling of unrest amongst workers in Amsterdam, especially the workers at the shipyards in Amsterdam-Noord, who were threatened with forced labour in Germany.
As tensions rose, the Dutch pro-Nazi movement NSB and its streetfighting arm, the WA (“Weerbaarheidsafdeling” – defence section), were involved in a series of provocations in Jewish neighbourhoods in Amsterdam.
This eventually led to a series of street battles between the WA and Jewish self-defence groups and their supporters, culminating in a pitched battle on 11 February 1941 on the Waterlooplein in which WA…
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