Much has been made of the “#Resistance”, a self-styled moniker for opposition to the party in power in today’s Washington.
Today, the RedState Department of History takes look back at a special anniversary, to when the word Resistance meant not only actual opposition but the very real possibility of getting yourself killed if anyone found out what you were doing.
In 1940, the German Army overran most of Western Europe, including the Netherlands. The history of the Dutch people under German occupation was complicated; segments of the population performed heroic deeds in shielding Jews from persecution and men from forced labor, with those sympathetic to the resistance numbering about one million; but on the other hand, the Netherlands provided at least 60,000 men for the German armed forces during the war, who were stripped of their citizenship and property after it was over.
But vast numbers of ordinary Dutchmen were involved with the resistance – as many as 300,000 by some estimates — and was known to be apolitical, which was remarkable for the time.
There were four main resistance groups, and eventually these groups would want to publish a newspaper. Eventually, there came a man for action.
Dr. Jan Albertus Hendrik Johan Sieuwert Bruins Slot was actively involved with the Dutch Anti-Revolutionary Party (ARP) before the war. Unlike in France, where resistance elements were generally progressive if not Communist in nature, the Dutch resistance was primarily led by the same conservative elements which had led the national government prior to 1940.
But they needed to communicate, and on this date in 1943, Bruins Slot published the first edition of Trouw. Meaning “true”, or “loyal” as one might derive from the name, the paper accomplished many noble goals.
First, it served as a voice for the ARP, which like almost all other Dutch political parties had been banned by the Germans. The NSB, or National Socialist Movement in the Netherlands, was the only political party they allowed.
But Bruins Slot was also a Calvinist, and Trouw was founded as a religious paper as much as anything else. It published articles that denounced the Nazi worldview as anti-Christian, gave resistance instructions, carried statements by Queen Wilhelmina who was then in exile, and also reported the D-Day invasion in addition to taking a stand against the Nazis’ anti-Semitic policies.
As such, Bruins Slot and co-editor Jan Schouten were soon wanted men. In 1944, the Germans decided to take a stand against the paper in a unique way – they arrested all its couriers, and held them as hostages. Bruins Slot recounted for Thames Television after the war:
“There were several illegal newspapers in Holland. Once the Germans had taken about 40 of our people prisoner, they had been put in Vught concentration camp. They interrogated one of them and then released him, and sent him to us with this message: if you close down your paper – this was near the end of the war, probably 1944 – if you stop producing your paper, then we won’t shoot these people. We called a meeting, and talked it over very carefully. We reached the conclusion that we had to go on.”
After the war, Trouw continued to be published, and exists as a daily to this day. True to its religious roots, Trouw’s current goal is to “remain a newspaper rooted in a Christian tradition and to be a source of contemplation and inspiration for everyone, churchgoer or not, who feels a need for moral and spiritual orientation.”
Happy Sunday and enjoy today’s open thread!