A single act of resistance

The Dutch word ‘Moffen’ is a slur or derogatory term for Germans, pretty much in the same way as Krauts in the English language.

Where the word ‘moffen(or mof singular)’comes from is not clear but it had been around since the 16th century. It more or less disappeared from the Dutch vocabulary for about 100 years or so but it made a comeback in 1940.

This was due to the German invasion and occupation of the Netherlands. The Dutch Queen, Wilhelmina, often used it in her broadcasts on Radio Oranje, while she was in exile. Her son in law, Prince Bernhard, was also a German. Erik Hazelhoff Roelfzema, aka Soldier of Orange, a decorated war hero, said the following about Prince Bernhard.

“For Bernhard, the Prince of the Netherlands, the war was a frustrating business. Born a German, he had married Queen Wilhelmina’s only child, Princess Juliana, and in due time made a conscious and meaningful transition of loyalties to his new homeland. Because of this, and in view of the doubts his background initially evoked among some Britons, he longed more than anyone for a chance to get at Holland’s aggressors.”

Publishers of the ‘Koenen’ dictionary removed the word mof and related words from 1942 onwards.

The Nazi occupiers gradually started to impose laws against the Dutch Jews. One of those laws was to make it illegal and eve a criminal offence for Jews to enter public places, such as parks. Signs were posted all over the country with the text “Forbidden for Jews” like the sign at the start of the blog.

One day in 1941 , a defiant Dutch citizen, more then likely a member of the resistance painted another text on 6 signs which were erected in “Het Gooi” ,which is is an area around Hilversum, in the centre of the Netherlands.

This time the signs read “Forbidden for Moffen”. The following day the signs were repainted again. However this bit of ‘graffiti’ would have definitely resulted in the death penalty for this brave unknown artist.

Sources

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