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PC hooftstraat 1940-1945
For me, the PC.hooftstraat in Amsterdam South, where I used to cycle by on my way to school, was always a street with shops having a high glam and nouveau riche air.
This idea changed when my father told me something completely different about this street. My father is Jewish and therefore also has a Jewish history. His great aunt had a grocery shop on the PC.hooftstraat. During the second world war she went in hiding for several years. The bizarre twist in this story is that she was one of the few Jewish people who survived the war and got her house and shop back. For me, this was the first of many stories that took place there.
Pc.Hooftstraat in Amsterdam, where at number 28 a café, the first public space to have had a sign with the text “Forbidden for Jews” and where the decoration mainly consisted of portraits of Hitler, Mussert and Göring. This is also where the festivities of the Sicherheids polizei took place, a place where they happily drank and danced while a whole nation was gradually being murdered.”
Eka Simons was the daughter of a shopkeeper. A 23-year-old girl who was soon arrested by the Nazis for being in the resistance and helping people go into hiding. Her parents were absolutely devastated. One day a high-ranking German officer walked in with his daughter by his arm. The Girl stared wide-eyed at a doll standing prominent in the shop window. “How much is this doll?” was the question shortly afterwards. Eka's Mother replied that the doll was not for sale. The girl looked at her father with questioning eyes. To which the officer replied again I don't care what it costs, what do you want for it? The mother replied, “My daughter”, when she is released, I will take the doll out of the window, I promise. Eka came home the next day. It might have been bad for her ego to be traded for a doll, but a minor detail in return for her freedom.
Pc. Hooftstraat #176 hs.
A well-known professor of Criminology and Sociology Willem Bonger and his wife Maria Bonger committed suicide here on May 14, 1940. Bonger wrote in his farewell letter saying, “I no longer see a future for me, and I cannot stoop to the scum that will rule now”. Maria Bonger bizarrely survived. Her rope broke.
When i visited the killing fields in Cambodia, the expression of the artist Armando came to my mind.; "Guilty landscape" A landscape that has seen things happen. As if the trees could have intervened, because 'in landscapes, in beautiful nature, the ghastliest performances often take place'. However, the landscape has been "so shameless to just keep growing." Now walking through the PC. Hooftstraat the same feel of shamelessness counts for the buildings, shops and houses. They too are witnesses, the store fronts cannot mask this.