Illegal and clandestine editions

The collection: A representative collection of books and pamphlets published without the consent of the authorities during World War II.
Size: The collection comprises ca. 700 volumes.
Access: The books can be found in the KB catalogue. They may be consulted in the Special Collections Reading Room.
More information: Paul van Capelleveen 070-3140331

During the German Occupation (1940-1945) several measures were taken to control publications. More than 1000 literary texts and songs were printed in secrecy. Among those are books designed by Jan van Krimpen for A.A. Balkema in Amsterdam, books of songs about the Dutch revolt against the Spanish - Spanish referring to the German authorities - and experimental and colourful printed illustrations by H.N. Werkman in Groningen.

M.Nijhoff, H.N. Werkman, Bij het graf van den onbekenden soldaat gevallen in de Meidagen 1940 (1942)
M.Nijhoff, H.N. Werkman, Bij het graf van den onbekenden soldaat gevallen in de Meidagen 1940 (1942)

M.Nijhoff, H.N. Werkman, Bij het graf van den onbekenden soldaat gevallen in de Meidagen 1940 (1942)

M. Nijhoff, H.N. Werkman, Holland; In plaats van foto (1942)
M. Nijhoff, H.N. Werkman, Holland; In plaats van foto (1942)

M. Nijhoff, H.N. Werkman, Holland; In plaats van foto (1942)

Geuzenliedboek. Eerste vervolg (1943)
Geuzenliedboek. Eerste vervolg (1943)

Geuzenliedboek. Eerste vervolg (1943)

Jan Campert, De achttien dooden (1943)
Jan Campert, De achttien dooden (1943)

Jan Campert, De achttien dooden (1943)

Description of the collection

The circa 1000 illegal publications that appeared in the Netherlands between 1940 and 1945 were catalogued by Dirk de Jong in his standard work Het vrije boek in onvrije tijd (Leiden 1958). A later catalogue was published by Anna E.C. Simoni: Publish and be free (1975). The books are mainly belletristic in character, with poems, short stories, or songs, but there are also politically engaged works among them. They are further characterized by the use of fine paper, illustrations, appealing texts from home and abroad and from the past and present. Because of the restrictions imposed on publishing by the Nazis the major part of the books were published in limited editions and under difficult circumstances. They were distributed and collected during the War and remained a popular collecting item afterwards.

The KB also owns a collection of Nazi-propaganda, and publications by organizations such as NSB.

History of the collection

The collection grows as a result of acquistions and donations. More than 700 of the publications listed by De Jong are present in the collection, often in more than one copy. An important gift was that by A.J. Eschauzier in 2002: the two portfolios of Chassidische legenden, published by De Blauwe Schuit and printed and illustrated by H.N. Werkman in 1943 and 1944. At the auction of Eschauzier's collection another 100 rare publications were acquired. In 2011, thanks to the support of the Friends of the librray, eight publications of De Blauwe Schuit were added to the collection.

In 1995, an exhibition based on the collection was held in the KB under the title: 'Het verborgen woord' [The hidden word].

References

  • Paul van Capelleveen, ‘7770 unieke kunstwerken. H.N. Werkman en de deiningen van De Blauwe Schuit, 1940-1944’, in: De boekenwereld, 31 (2015), nr. 1, p. 2-9
  • Marieke van Delft, Reinder Storm en Kees Thomassen, Het verborgen woord: drukken van Hendrik Nicolaas Werkman en andere clandestiene publicaties uit de collectie Den Haag: Koninklijke Bibliotheek, 1995
  • Sjoerd van Faassen, 'Het bijzondere boek in de Tweede Wereldoorlog', in: Paul van Capelleveen en Clemens de Wolf (red.), Het ideale boek. Honderd jaar private press in Nederland, 1910-2010. Nijmegen: Uitgeverij Vantilt, 2010, p. 117-133
  • Dirk de Jong, Het vrije boek in onvrije tijd: bibliografie van illegale en clandestiene belletrie. Leiden: Sijthoff, 1958
  • Anna E.C. Simoni, Publish and be free: a catalogue of clandestine books printed in the Netherlands, 1940-1945, in the British Library. The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff; London: British Museum Publications for the British Library, 1975