In the last few years, the British Broadcasting Corp (BBC) has lost some of its credibility, but during World War II, it was a vital source of information for resistance groups in the Netherlands and other occupied countries.
The caption of the picture above said “January 4, 1944. Jammers and betrayal make listening to the B.B.C. not easy. We listen at night, 11:45 p.m., B.B.C.”
An employee of an illegal newspaper listening to the BBC.
The founders of the first illegal newspapers came to their initiative out of indignation about the German invasion and annoyance about what the equalized newspapers wrote. There was also a need to warn the population against National Socialism and to call for united opposition to the German measures. In 1940 there were about 62 underground magazines and within a year this number rose to 120. Some magazines had succeeded in finding printers and were, therefore, able to abandon the time-consuming stencilling. By the end of 1942, the number of papers had dropped to 96 because many editors of smaller papers considered their activities superfluous when bigger and better editions appeared. In 1943, new illegal newspapers sprang up like mushrooms. These were mainly concerned with translating and distributing the war news received via hidden radios. In total, about 1300 different magazines existed during the occupation years, which together had a circulation of millions of copies.
Due to a lack of radio sets and power, the BBC news had to be brought to the people via the underground. This is where the messages came in.
From the beginning of her exile, Queen Wilhelmina took up her task with great willpower. Uncompromising and with unshakable confidence in the Allied victory, she was able to convey this conviction to others. She constantly advocated the interests of the Netherlands to British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and the President of the United States Franklin D. Roosevelt. Her attitude and effort commanded the respect of the Allied leaders.
The message of thanks to BBC radio for the so-called ‘Round the World birthday celebration programme’ broadcast in honour of Wilhelmina during the BBC’s European Empire Programs on 30 August 1941. Her inaction against the treatment of the Dutch Jews before, during and after the war has tainted her legacy somewhat.
The original caption reads: ‘Recording of the B.B.C. news, via a DC receiver as Goes was also without power, for the purpose of the illegal press. Goes.’
Two employees of the illegal magazine ‘Vrije Stemmen’ in Goes are working on the BBC’s news reports.
The original caption of this photo reads: “BBC European Service: Dutch Section.
The Dutch Section’s principal woman announcer.”
One of the ways, in which Queen Wilhelmina and the Dutch government maintained ties with the population in the occupied territory was Radio Oranje. The broadcasts were invariably opened with ‘Hier Radio Oranje, the Voice of the Struggling Netherlands’. In addition to news commentary and entertainment, Radio Oranje broadcasts were also used to pass on code messages to the resistance in occupied territory.
Anyone caught listening to the BBC or other anti-Nazi radio stations could face execution.