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Literature as Resistance: Dutch Clandestine Literature (1940–1945)

The Oak Room, Fellowship House
February 7, 2019
06:00 PM to 07:30 PM
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Juggling the Middle Ages Public Lecture, Professor Jeroen Dewulf

Director of the Institute of European Studies and Dutch Studies Program at the University of California, Berkeley, Associate Professor Jeroen Dewulf will lecture on clandestine Dutch-language literature during the Second World War. Dewulf’s books cover subjects ranging from the transatlantic slave trade to resistance publications under the Nazis to (post)colonial culture. His broad expertise promises to make this an engaging talk.

Reception to follow.

Clandestine literature was published in all countries under Nazi occupation, but nowhere else did it flourish as it did in the Netherlands. This raises important questions: what were the risks of writing, printing, selling, and buying clandestine literature during the Second World War? What was the content of this literature? And why the Netherlands in particular?

International studies on the Netherlands under Nazi rule have focused mainly on the political situation, and paid little attention to the local underground press other than considering its political message. This omission of cultural perspective led to an incomplete and sometimes distorted image of the Dutch wartime attitude vis-à-vis the German occupiers. It also hindered the understanding of postwar Dutch society.

In this lecture, Jeroen Dewulf shows that, in all its complexity, clandestine literature offers a unique perspective on Dutch society under German occupation and on the postwar debates about heroism, resistance, collaboration, and victimization.


Juggling the Middle Ages

Featuring more than 100 objects, Juggling the Middle Ages explores the influence of the medieval world by focusing on a single story with a long-lasting impact—Le Jongleur de Notre Dame or Our Lady’s Tumbler. The exhibit follows the tale from its rediscovery by scholars in the 1870s to its modern interpretations in children’s books, offering viewers a look at a vast range of objects, including stained glass windows, illuminated manuscripts, household objects, and vintage theater posters.


This event is presented with the support of the General Delegation of the Government of Flanders to the USA.

Clandestine publisher Bert Bakker demonstrating, after the war, how bicycles were used to produce electricity to run printing presses. Private property of Francine Albach, Amsterdam.