Coba's typewriter, used to type the call for the February strike
One of the typewriters, used by Amsterdam housewife Coba Veltman, tot type the wellknown call for the February strike. Coba was a member of the CPN. She had the typewriter before the war. In 1940, the party gave her a stencilling machine to produce pamphlets. On the second day of the strike, she was arrested while handing out pamphlets. Her son says: ‘Those policemen were okay. They took her bag away and when they gave it back there was only one pamphlet left in it, so she could say it had been pushed in her hands.’ But Coba was not released. She survived Camp Ravensbrück. Back to highlights
Aggression towards Jews
In early 1941, the members of the NSB in Amsterdam developed an aggressive attitude towards the Jews. Members of the WA, the NSB's uniformed commando group, marched through Amsterdam. Stopping at cafés, they put up signs saying 'No Jews Allowed' and they destroyed property in the old Jewish neighbourhood.
Jewish and non-Jewish young men formed commando groups to protect themselves, which resulted in fighting. In these fights, WA member Hendrik Koot was so seriously wounded that he died a few days later.
In response, the Germans temporarily closed off the Jewish quarter. They set up a Jewish Council, which was supposed to help restore order. But a few days after Koot's funeral, a German patrol inspecting a Jewish ice-cream parlour was sprayed with ammonia gas.
The Germans used the incidents as an excuse for the first roundups of Jews: on February 22nd and 23rd 1941, 425 young Jewish men were rounded up, beaten and taken away. Many Amsterdam residents were shocked.
The illegal Dutch Communist Party [CPN] called for a protest strike. On Tuesday February 25th, the trams stopped running. Everyone in the city noticed that something was going on. The strike caught on. More and more businesses took part. The strikers marched through the streets.