Clandestine Photography during the German Occupation > Professionele fotografen

Cas Oorthuys with a camera hidden under his coat, reconstructed after the war (Amsterdam, end of May 1945)Most professional photographers worked by themselves. A few carried out assignments or teamed up, such as the members of the group De Ondergedoken Camera (The Clandestine Camera), who recorded the Winter of Starvation in Amsterdam during the final months. With hindsight we can say that this visual material determined the image we formed of the Winter of Starvation. Charles Breijer, Cas Oorthuys and Hans Sibbelee belonged to that group. Compared to the work of other members of De Ondergedoken Camera, Charles Breijer’s clandestine photographs are particularly interesting because they feature different facets of the armed resistance.

Violette Cornelius worked for the Persoonsbewijzen Centrale (Central Identity Card Office). Quite aware of the risks she was running, Violette Cornelius compiled a unique photographic commentary on identity cards forged on behalf of artist friends. Five out of the seven group members did not survive the war.

Bert Haanstra also took photographs of documents, seals and signatures to be forged for the Persoonsbewijzen Centrale. Over a two-year period, he took 3500 photographs representing plans of bridges, factories and German defences.

Hans Sibbelee was commissioned by the Ministry of Education, Art and Science to take photographs of the most significant monuments in the Netherlands. In addition, he recorded clandestine activities, including those undertaken in his place of hiding, Kromme Waal 31 in Amsterdam. Moreover, he recorded weapons training sessions and weapons instructions.

Ed van Wijk photographed Rotterdam in ruins, German planes that had crashed, Crazy Tuesday (Dolle Dinsdag, 5th September 1944) and, that same year, the evacuation of the Marlot district in The Hague and of Wassenaar, the confiscation of bicycles, the bombing of the Bezuidenhout district of The Hague and, finally, the Liberation.

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