The Catholic and Christian trade unions came under National Socialist leadership in 1941. The churches called on trade union members to cancel their membership. Only 5% remained members.
The illegal publication Vakbeweging (Trade Union) wrote:
‘Initially, the pretence was that a kind of own Dutch trade union would be allowed to exist, but the gloves are off now. All power was put (…) into the hands of the Duitscherknecht (German-servant), NSB member Woudenberg. (…) We are already hearing reports of the executives resigning en masse, of members (…)cancelling their memberships in extremely large numbers!’
November '41 saw the inauguration of the Kultuurkamer [Chamber of Culture], a professional association under NSB leadership. All actors, musicians, dancers, writers, visual artists, filmmakers, photographers, journalists and even book dealers were required to join.
Those who refused were no longer allowed to practise their profession. Most performing artists signed up as members. Many visual artists refused. It was easier for them to work on their commissions in secret.
'I became a member of the Kultuurkamer. I was never interested in politics. And my career was on the verge of a breakthrough.'
'You could have refused, but with a child to care for I didn't dare to.'
'My friend in the resistance thought I should use membership as a cover, but I still didn't join.'
'The leader of our club entered all our names without me knowing it. If I protested I could leave.'
Kultuurkamer refuseniks often became active in the resistance. They urged the public to boycott the cinemas and theatres. But audiences increased. There was a great need for diversion and entertainment during the occupation. The propaganda, in the cinema newsreels for instance, was simply endured. Sometimes audiences in the darkened theatres vocally demonstrated their disapproval.
The illegal newspaper Trouw wrote on October 15th 1943:
'The weak, thoughtless masses daily demonstrate their chinless attitude by storming into the cinemas, which are being exploited by the enemy as good places for spreading propaganda.'
A box of propaganda slides as shown in the cinemas between the films and newsreels. Dutch cinemas are used for German propaganda from February 1941.