Adapting seemed easy
Life soon returned to normal. Businesses, schools, clubs, places of entertainment and public transportation functioned as before. Adapting to the new situation seemed easy. One new element were the blackout regulations. Everyone was required to cover up their windows to make it difficult for Allied pilots to locate their position at night.
Arm-plates from the Luchtbeschermingsdienst [LBD, Air-Raid Defence]. The LBD supervises compliance with blackout regulations. Every village and every neighbourhood has citizens working as volunteers for the LBD. They patrol the streets at night and warn where streaks of light are noticeable.
The members are allowed to be on the streets after curfew. Many resistance workers use real or fictional jobs with the LBD as cover.
The occupiers tried to encourage fraternisation between the German and the Dutch people. One example was the establishment of Winter Help, a charitable organisation that collected money for needy Dutch people. But the collections brought in very little. Rejecting Winter Help allowed the Dutch to express their anti-German sentiments.
In April 1941, Jacoba Maria Blom-Schuh of The Hague told a Winter Help collector,
'I won't contribute to Winter Help until our queen comes back. The proceeds from Winter Help are for the Germans and the NSB members, and they're a gang of thieves, just like Adolf Hitler.'
The collector filed a report and Maria Schuh was put in prison for three months. The experience did not soften her stance. The SS guards gave her their socks to darn and she sewed them shut, supposedly out of ignorance. Later she incorporated her prison experiences in embroidery work.
Most Dutch people kept hoping for a German defeat and the return of the royal family. They came up with a code expression: if someone said O zo! ('So there!') it meant Oranje zal overwinnen! ('Orange will triumph!').
June 29th 1940 was Prince Bernhard's birthday. The flag was flown everywhere. Many people wore a carnation in their lapel, just like Prince Bernhard.
This gesture turned into a mass protest demonstration. In reaction to this 'Carnation Day', the Germans had all royal portraits removed from public buildings. Later on street names were changed.
Royal symbol of resistance
This turned the Royal House into an even stronger symbol of resistance. Many Dutch people wore pins and bows to show their loyalty to the queen and thus their hatred of the occupying forces. It helped to keep spirits up.
The Hague, early 1941. Father and mother Niehot wanted to name their newborn baby Nelia after the midwife, Nelia Epker. But she suggested they give their child an 'Orange' name. The result was announced in the newspaper in a birth advertisement: Irene Beatrix Juliana WilhelminaNiehot.
The family were feted from all quarters. Perfect strangers sent cards, flowers, cakes and even money. When Nelia Epker placed a thank-you advertisement in March 1941, so that all the names appeared in the newspaper once again, she was arrested. She would not return to the Netherlands until August 1945, a survivor of Camp Ravensbrück.