Café Alcazar Amsterdam

On 9 February 1941. members of the Dutch Nazi party, NSB, assisted by German soldiers, forced their way into the café-cabaret ‘Alcazar’ on Thorbeckeplein because Jewish artists were still performing there. This led to a brawl in which 23 people were injured.

Clara de Vries was a jazz trumpet player. Her performing at Cabaret Alcazar was one of the reasons that prompted the Nazis to raid Alcazar. A law had passed previously, forbidding all Jewish musicians and artists to perform in Non Jewish clubs.

Clara was a well accomplished Jazz trumpetist, and by all accounts an exceptionally talented one. Louis Armstrong once said of her “That Louis de Vries, he had a sister Clara with a ladies-band. Oh boy, she could play that horn!” Her brother Louis, another Trumpetist, was often referred to as the Dutch Louis Armstrong. Clara was murdered in Auschwitz on October 22,1942.

The February 9 incident led to the riots of 11 February in which the Dutch Nazi ,Hendrik Koot, was severely injured and led to his death a few days later on February 14,1941.

The response was immediate. The Jewish neighborhood was sealed off by Nazi authorities, technically beginning the Amsterdam ghetto,[and a Judenrat was put in place. Protests broke out, and the raid on an ice cream parlor, a known hangout for a Jewish knokploeg, saw Nazi police forces being attacked in retaliation, possibly sprayed with acid. The Nazis decided to round up a large number of Jewish men, and that gave the local Communist resistance groups an opportunity to agitate the population enough to start a strike, and widespread strikes started the following Tuesday, 25 February. Dutch police response was moderate, and the Nazi authorities were not pleased . Troops were sent in to break the strike, and posters explaining the death of Koot were put up in an attempt to justify military action.

Café Alcazar, however, had also been a hiding places for 14 Jewish people.

In 1983, during the renovation of a nightclub on the Thorbeckeplein, a film that had been made there forty years ago surfaced. The film wascalled Duikjoodbasis,(Jewish hiding place) and the screenplay was written by the then thirteen-year-old Henry Robinski. It was made with and by the fourteen Jews who were in hiding above the nightclub Alcazar until May 28, 1943. Hendrik Swaab, who conceived the idea for the film in 1943, said in 1983 in the NIW(New Israeli Weekly) that the reason for making the film was boredom.

Making a film would give the people in hiding some distraction. The film was shot between July 1942 and April 1943 and was shot by a resistance member who had worked for a film company before the war.

Now Duikjoodbasis is unique: no other film recordings are known that were made at a hiding place.

sources

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/nl/page/457142/initiatiefnemer-film-duikjoodbasis

https://portal.ehri-project.eu/units/nl-002896-mf759708

https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn1004588

The show must go on.

25

In the months following the bombing of Rotterdam in May 1940, the Germans wanted daily life to continue as normal as possible. So entertainment was of great importance. And who better to help with this than the popular twosome of Snip and Snap. For years the comedy reviews of Willy Walden (Snip) and Piet Muyselaar (Snap) had drawn full houses.

Snip-en-Snap

This duo, with their joking around and often playing the ladies Snip and Snap in women’s dresses, helped many people forget about the war.

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But in order to perform artists had to become members of the Kultuurkamer (Chamber of Culture), the organization established in 1941 to regulate the arts in the Nazi-occupied Netherlands. Even variety acts like Snip and Snap were required to register.

In 1942 Snip and Snap celebrated their fifth anniversary. The two string marionettes – also named Snip and Snap – depicted on the cover of the show booklet (bottom left) were specially made for Willy Walden and Piet Muyselaar for their anniversary revue Tot uw dienst  (At Your Service).

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A  musician called Jan van Halen was one of the musicians in the later Snip en Snap shows, and legend has it that one of his sons once performed in the show. The son Eddie later formed the Hard Rock band Van Halen, together with his brother Alex.

 

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