New exhibition on looted Jewish objects in Amsterdam

An extraordinary exhibition at the National Holocaust Museum and Jewish Museum in Amsterdam tells stories about all kinds of Nazi looting during the occupation of the Netherlands from 1940 to 1945 – from the confiscation of hugely valuable, Jewish-owned artworks to these shoe soles.

Through the prism of eight personal stories, it documents the Nazis’ systematic efforts to trample Jewish identity, pillaging valuables and sacred objects, destroying and misusing precious archives, then isolating and murdering three-quarters of the Dutch Jewish population.

“This theft was a lot more complex than the big cases we all know of looted art,” said Emile Schrijver, director of the Holocaust Museum at a press opening. “We thought it was also important to name the other aspects, the things that happened to ordinary people, which don’t normally feature in the press – the normal, small thefts that every single Jewish family experienced in the Second World War in all kinds of ways.”

The exhibition is based on a decade of investigation from the Rijksmuseum and years of research by curators at the Jewish Museum. “An essential part of the Holocaust was the systematic theft from Jewish people in the Netherlands,” said Taco Dibbits, general director of the Rijksmuseum.

“This is something that is still often a little overlooked, people think of theft as something impulsive, but this was also organised and systematic: isolation, theft, displacement, and then murder. And in this exhibition, we think it is important to put the stories of people in the centre, because these thefts changed their lives forever.”


Subscribe to the EJC newsletter

Get the EJC newsletter, including the latest statements and news from the European Jewish communities, direct to your inbox.

European Jewish Congress will use the information you provide on this form to contact you. We will treat your information with respect and will not share it with others. By clicking Subscribe, you agree that we may process your information in accordance with these terms.

browse by community