Illegal and clandestine prints (1940-1945)

The collection: A representative collection of books and brochures printed in secret during the Second World War.
Size: Over 800 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 Nazi occupation, several measures were taken to control publications. To circumvent these measures, more than 1,000 literary texts and songs were printed in secret. They include the editions of A.A. Balkema in Amsterdam, collections of songs about the Spanish occupation in the 17th century (but clearly referring to the Nazis) and the experimental colourful prints 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)

Collection profile

During the Second World War, clandestine and illegal publications were published in the Netherlands. These were either inspired by patriotism and a longing for freedom, or intended to support the Resistance movement financially. Many of them were of a literary nature: short stories, songs and poems, but they also include more politically engaged books. These prints are characterised by the usage of good quality paper, illustrations, and appealing texts, both from the Netherlands and abroad and both from the past and the present. Because of the restrictions imposed by the Nazis, the books were mostly published in small print runs and under difficult circumstances. After the War, they became collectors' items. More than 1,000 editions were listed by Dirk de Jong in his standard work Het vrije boek in onvrije tijd (1958). A supplement to this book was published by Anna E.C. Simoni in 1975 entitled Publish and be free.

The KB also owns a large collection of literature sympathising with the Nazis, among others many publications by the NSB, the Dutch Nazi Party.

Collection history

The collection was built over the years through purchases and donations. 75% of the editions identified by De Jong are available, often in multiple copies. A notable donation was the collection of A.J. Eschauzier in 2002 with two folders containing the 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 estate, a hundred more rare publications were acquired. Supported by the Society of Friends of the KB, eight Blauwe Schuit editions were purchased in 2011.

Literature

  • 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