In September 1944, the poet Bertus Aafjes (1914–1993) published his Kleine katechismus der poëzie [Small catechism of poetry]. He began with the facetious remark: ‘These days, if one goes out seeking a reader, one comes home with ten authors’. Had he been a publisher, Aafjes could have made a similar derisory comment on the surplus of clandestine publishers that flourished during the Second World War. Aafjes was then one of the most prolific authors in this field. A.A. Balkema published his Kleine katechismus der poëzie, but clandestine editions from his hand also appeared from A.A.M. Stols, G.W. Breughel, Mansarde Pers, Molenpers, Piet Worm, Contact, Klaas Woudt, G.A. van Oorschot and Arya Plaisier, and at the end of the war, he even released a self-published volume. Some of these publishers, such as Stols, were amongst those with the highest clandestine production; others kept it to a single edition.
The design of conventional publications become slowly more austere as the war wore on. Good paper was scarce and publishers were increasingly forced to print on machine-made paper made of wood pulp. The quality of the typesetting also suffered from the lack of typographic material. At Stols, one of the major bibliophile publishers before the war, only a single volume appeared from their Halcyon series, but (in addition to texts already in production at the outbreak of war) releases were mainly German classics so it seems the gloss had worn off. L.J.C. Boucher continued his Folemprise series only after the war. The planned second series of Ursa Minor, of which the last volume was published in 1939, did not appear. Exceptional printing, for which the restrictive measures of the occupying force was circumvented, was to be found in more than 1000 clandestine publications published during the war. However, circumvention was not always completely successful.
Clandestine and illegal
The first clandestine publishing in the Netherlands was probably De Blauwe Schuit with their edition of the poem Het jaar 1572 [The year 1572] by M. Nijhoff. Along with Balkema, De Bezige Bij, Jaap Romijn and Stols, De Blauwe Schuit was one of the publishers with the greatest number of clandestine publications to their names. Nijhoff’s work, a broadsheet poem, was printed in late December 1940 by H.N. Werkman in an edition of 100 copies, and illustrated with a woodcut by Jan Wiegers.
There is a distinction between clandestine and illegal printing. The latter was directed against the occupying forces and was in the minority. De Blauwe Schuit, Stols and other fellow publishers seldom or never distributed illegal editions. Although it was claimed of the publications of the Mansarde Pers that the proceeds went to supporting a number of people in hiding, it was probably only the publications of De Bezige Bij that had an illegal character because the proceeds benefited the Resistance. For example, of the 54 clandestine editions of Stols, there were only five that could be classified as illegal (directed against the Nazis) while the remainder had a more or less innocent nature.
According to Stols’ former employee, Huib van Krimpen, he never used the proceeds of his printing to benefit the Resistance or writers in hiding, even though the colophon of the poem, Visie [Vision] (1945) by Elisabeth van Maasdijk, stated that the proceeds were intended for ‘victims of the current tyranny’. The journalist and author H.M. van Randwijk concluded in the Resistance newspaper Vrij Nederland [Free Netherlands] that most of the clandestine published collections that did not explicitly call for resistance were merely ‘aesthetic vanity’.'
The poet Klaas Heeroma, active with his small publishing business In Signo Piscium, in retrospect, saw little heroism in most clandestine publications and suspected that his fellow publishers produced them mainly for economic reasons. The suspicions of Van Randwijk and Heeroma certainly had some basis because even Werkman did not appear to be free from commercial ulterior motives with De Blauwe Schuit. In mid-1944 he wrote to Ate Zuithoff: ‘On balance, you can also bite off more than you can chew and do nothing more than print covers but I do not feel all that much for that. We must not endanger the B.S. [Blauwe Schuit] and that danger certainly exists. Publishers are appearing in legions and to earn anything with that solely you have to sell your soul which I would rather not do in order to save as much time as possible for printing unique works that also earn money with little effort’.
That illegal editions had a primarily commercial objective is clear from the frequently high asking prices that took advantage of book scarcity. Even the constantly hard-up Aafjes found the price of 50 guilders too greedy for his collection of poems, Omne animal,issued by the Mansarde Pers: ‘a terrible price’, he wrote to the publisher Bert Bakker; everyone now thought that he had ‘entered the black market of letters’. W.Gs. Hellinga (responsible for the Vijf Ponden Pers with A.A. Balkema and Jan van Krimpen) said later: ‘No courage was required for the release of these books nor for their distribution’. But Jaap Romijn (publisher of the clandestine Schildpad [Tortoise] series in Utrecht from April 1942) stressed in an interview that the main impetus for the clandestine edition was actually ‘the sense of freedom in an un-free time’. (SvF)
Generally, printers of small clandestine literary editions were not in very great danger. Real danger threatened the printers of illegal publications. Jaap Romijn told of the Utrecht printer Jan Hendriks: ‘Although during the five years of war Jan Hendriks printed almost nothing but illegalia behind a café curtain over which anyone could look – [including Vrij Nederland, Je maintiendra, Het parool (The watchword), De waarheid (The truth) and De Bezige Bij editions] I’ve never seen him on edge. When two printers were caught two streets away and were shot at the end of the day at De Bilt fort, and he was recommended to go for a little walk, he found it unnecessary as the identity cards for the B.S. [Domestic Forces] that he had printed in the meantime for after the Liberation lay in the basement under the coal.
Elsewhere he told the story slightly differently and gave more details about this incident, which concerns Vier gorgelrijmen [Four gurgle rhymes] (1944) of C. Buddingh’, published by him and illustrated by Fedde Weidema: ‘the most beautiful and greatest of all my war editions’. ‘The interior of the book was printed by Jan Hendriks at Van Asch van Wijkkade in Utrecht, the cover by the UTA, a small cooperative printers on Ambachtsstraat’ (the Utrechtsche Typografen Associatie, which also printed extensively for De Bezige Bij). ‘A raid took place when the finished printed covers, together with a copy of the contents, lay there. At the counter, two members of the Grüne Polizei [German Police] encountered a certain Mr. Geuze (board member of the large Utrecht printing works of P. van Boekhoven) who had, by chance, just arrived. He was searched and illegal publications were found in his pockets. The small printing shop was ransacked with the result being enough for the Polizei to arrest Zuiderdorp (co-owner), the only printer present. He was taken in along with Geuze and in the afternoon of the same day they were shot dead at Fort De Bilt.
Besides De stilte der zee [The silence of the sea] by Vercors (published by De Bezige Bij), the Germans must have found the folded model of Vier gorgelrijmen at the UTA’. Romijn himself never experienced any hindrance from his clandestine publications. Bert Bakker (involved with the Mansarde Pers) simply offered his clandestine publications to bookshops. Drukkerij Trio (where Stols worked in 1943) printed only one of his unlawful publications, a verse from the Wilhelmus, the Dutch national anthem. Others were printed by Boosten & Stols or by the Ando printing shop of his colleague from The Hague, Fokko Tamminga. Thus Stols ran little or no risk for four of his five illegal editions. It is also remarkable that authors’ and printers’ names were mentioned without any hesitation in many clandestine publications. In all Blauwe Schuit editions, for example, Werkman was explicitly named as the printer.
In May 1944, Werkman explained that he would rather print one-offs that cost little effort and did not throw up hazards ‘such as business closure or the seizing of papers and type matter and a fine’. It indicates that the Blauwe Schuit enterprise was chiefly bibliophile and not intended to damage the occupier in any way. In his memoires, Henkels saw their editions as ‘annotations to world events of the day; an implicit commentary speculating on the notion of the good listener who needs only a few words in order to understand’.
Henkels insisted that De Blauwe Schuit was not seeking ‘the aesthetic’: ‘We did not print on expensive paper because we did not have it and were satisfied with packing paper and what happened to emerge from the small storeroom in a corner of the warehouse attic. We did not care for rare fonts: the type collection for printing was very limited’. The small print runs ‘did not spring from snobbery but arose from the method of working which Werkman maintained as of old: each copy was hand illustrated and that does not permit large editions’.
In June 1943, he scoffed to Zuithoff about Balkema and his associates, who published their editions for purely aesthetic reasons, that the ‘5-Ponds Pers’ (Vijf Ponden Pers), ‘a little company in Amsterdam’, was ‘experimenting to find new paths in the art of printing. Their editions did not have “current” and “implicit” significance; they just gambled with the so-called freedom you have under the limit of 5 pounds of paper’.
Henkels’ associate, Zuithoff, also distinguished between De Blauwe Schuit and their competitor, the Groningen publisher In Agris Occupatis, and its major series by claiming that ‘the intent of De Blauwe Schuit was totally different in its objective of intellectual resistance: the Volière series was the only one with any literary content’.
Henkels represents the affair more heroically than it was experienced at the time. This became apparent when he wrote to Zuithoff in July 1943 about new plans and De doode zwanen [The dead swans] by S. Vestdijk and stated: ‘There is no “danger” at all in the previously mentioned things’, although Vestdijk had written his poem during captivity in Sint-Michielsgestel after the execution of a number of hostages. Furthermore, Vestdijk was still being held hostage in August 1942 when he was openly named as translator in the colophon of Paul Verlaine’s Ballade van de twee olmen [Ballad of the two elms]. One month later the same happened to Hendrik de Vries with his Walhalla that was issued confidently with open mention of the author’s and printer’s names.
It is known that Nijhoff had difficulty with attribution or even with using a veiled ‘poet’ or ‘skipper of De Blauwe Schuit’, titles that sometimes adorned the colophons. Nijhoff’s objection was primarily motivated by the fact that he had not registered at the Kultuurkamer and therefore had a publication ban. He wrote to Henkels about his translation of Charles d’Orléans’ Gebed om vrede [Prayer for peace]: ‘if you think the B.S. [Blauwe Schuit] cannot do without it, then take it. But then do send a proposal regarding the Colophon. Since the previous publications, terms such as “poet of the B.S.” are no longer possible’.(SvF)
The Kultuurkamer and censorship
During the war, innumerable obstacles were gradually raised for publishers, writers and printers. The first was the obligatory membership of the Kultuurkamer (Verordeningenblad voor het bezette Nederlandsche gebied [Regulations journal for the occupied Dutch territory], 1941, No. 211). Publishers, authors and illustrators had to register no later than 1 April 1942. Most conventional publishers did so; otherwise they could no longer practise their business. They did not always proceed willingly.
‘I was summoned to the department and told that I was not registered at the Kultuurkamer’, Stols claimed in his memoirs: ‘Then I could not get out of officially filling in this application in the presence of the gentlemen and hence “giving myself up”’; and ‘I did not “register”, but was forced to act as described above’. Authors, however, would understand if their publisher did go to the Kultuurkamer. Thus wrote Ab Visser, who refused to register, to Bert Bakker (director of The Hague firm D.A. Daamen): ‘I understand that as a publisher you have to go to the guild, that it is even a moral duty to your staff’.
The Kultuurkamer was divided into several guilds, each covering a specific professional field. A publication ban was imposed on writers who did not register with the Literature Guild. However, writers who did not register and so formally were not permitted to publish, in a number of cases sometimes saw the chance to evade the German measures semi-legally, through publishers antedating their publications.
In this period, most publishers succeeded in supplying the hungry reading public without too many problems in the storeroom. Despite restrictions, business for most publishers actually prospered during the war. For instance, Bakker sold a stock of 5000 copies of a book published in 1923 by D.A. Daamen on the occasion of the silver jubilee of Queen Wilhelmina.
Geert van Oorschot (who then worked at the Amsterdam publisher Querido) related that there was an eager market for reprints, often black market, which were sold for cash to trusted bookshops. Some titles were no longer allowed to be sold.
Stols’ Publisher’s catalogue Spring 1940, adapted in August 1940, displayed a label with the rather tacit text, ‘N.B. This catalogue contains some editions which, due to circumstances, have been withdrawn from circulation’. Nevertheless, his turnover in the years 1941 to 1943 was considerably higher than in previous years; it seemed never to have been so satisfactory. And it was probably even more so because, in addition to the official figures, there was a significant black market of allegedly sold-out or sometimes (as in the case of Bertus Aafjes) unknown to the author, clandestinely reprinted editions (on an ‘undisclosed’ paper stock), that were sold at higher prices. According to Jan Vermeulen (then his employee), Stols received a strong additional taxation claim after the liberation.
However, as the occupation progressed stock became exhausted. The legal production of Dutch publishers plummeted dramatically from 10,000 new titles and reprints in 1938 to 2000 in 1944. Stols’ production of new editions in 1940 was barely 20 books; it rose in 1941 to nearly 50, but in 1943 and 1944 fell again. On 30 April 1942, Stols advertised in the newspaper for the book trade,that of his editions released before 1942, only two copies with a maximum discount of 25 per cent could be ordered at a time. Due to pressure of work, other publishers regularly delayed delivery or refused to take on new orders.
Besides the compulsory membership of the Kultuurkamer there were a number of other restrictive issues such as censorship. Like most publishers, Stols was regularly involved, sometimes at the initiative of the occupation authorities, sometimes on his own initiative. Furthermore, he frequently unashamedly asked advice of F.M. Huebner (for whom he published a booklet in Halcyon series in the early 1930s) who worked at the Sonderreferat für Kulturaustausch in The Hague and subsequently becameadministrator at the Van Lier Art Gallery in Amsterdam. For commercial reasons, the publishers complied with the prescriptions issued by the officials of the Department of Public Information and the Arts without protest. (SvF)
The physical barriers encountered by publishers and printers were more damaging than the Kultuurkamer and censorship. The future publisher Reinold Kuipers recalled that during the war printers had to hand lead in, printing presses were not refurbished or renovated, and type and matrices for typesetting machine could not be bought: ‘Even in a respectable printers, for example, a press was operating where a sheet would have to be laid askew in order to get it printed straight’. There were similar handicaps for bookbinders.
The difficulties experienced by printers in this period are implacably related in the colophon of De legende van Krakus en de draak [The legend of Krakus and the dragon] by C.K. Norwid, translated and illustrated by Johan van Eikeren. This clandestine pirate edition was published by Kameleon Pers of F.G. Kroonder in 1944 and printed by J.K. Smit and Son, Amsterdam. The colophon reads: ‘Lack of power and type material, an acute shortage of food and heating, raids which made the streets unsafe, all this repeatedly caused weeks of delay. Only one page at a time could be printed on a small hand press and this limitation also forced the use of the Atlas and Nobel types, neither of which were intended for bookface’.
Fokko Tamminga, who printed the editions of the Mansarde Pers and others, encountered similar difficulties. There were only a few printing presses left in 1944 when Tamminga printed Omne animal by Aafjes. As far as it is known, at the beginning of the war, Ando had at his disposal in addition to the usual proof press, an old Terno book printing press, one or two Heidelbergs, a Koenig & Bauer cylinder press, two Mercedes automatic cylinder presses and a Tip Top platen press. As the power was cut off, Tamminga had to close the printing shop from mid-June 1943. After the closure, some of his presses had to be dismantled and transported to Germany. Nevertheless, he could continue working at half speed with two employees until the end of the war because he illegally tapped the electricity supply of the military hospital behind his premises: ‘Thus at least we had power for our Terno. By the way, that was a hand fed machine. So on the days that the SS tightened its control, we could still operate by hand’.
Bert Bakker described the production of Omne animal of the Mansarde Pers in a similar way as did Van Eikeren: with a ‘lack of adequate type’ the poems were ‘composed in pieces. E.g., first ten lines. Then the stock was exhausted. Resulting in that first composed fragment having to be printed. Then the piece was dismantled. And with that material the rest was composed. This was done continuously’. Bakker wrote: ‘One day that I was hindered and the job had priority, Tamminga corrected a verse. Result: an error. The thing was printed. Reprinting the sheet would have meant three days of waste and a loss of 275 precious sheets of Simili Japon’. Such tough conditions were obviously not a fertile ground for bibliophile printing.
The first 18 months of the occupation were reasonably normal. In February 1941, for example, Stols unfolded an ambitious programme to his chief consultant between the wars, J. Greshoff, shortly before he immigrated to South Africa. In this early period, it was still possible to freely purchase paper from the large stocks still held by wholesalers and paper manufacturers. However from mid-January 1942, with each new edition, the copy or proof had to be submitted to the Books Division of the Department of Public Information and the Arts. In addition, the amount of paper required for that edition had to be declared. A conventional publisher such as Van Loghum Slaterus, who had registered at the Kultuurkamer, had its activities drastically limited, as they informed one of its authors: ‘We have already reduced our work time, whereby none of us has anything to do, so to speak, until things begin to move again’. The need for publications of limited scope in small editions was primarily prompted by the paper shortage or censorship and to avoid compulsory membership of the Kultuurkamer. (SvF)
One major obstacle to publishing was the rapidly established paper distribution system, through which obtaining the necessary paper for publications gradually became more difficult. Publications printed from stock fell outside the regulation that gave printers some scope. Permission was not necessary for editions for which no more than five kilos (later, five pounds [2.5 kilos]) of paper was required. For that reason, the Amsterdam bookseller A.A. Balkema published a part of his illegal editions under the provocative name, Vijf Ponden Pers. From 1942 to 1945, he released 50 clandestine editions, of which 20 appeared under the imprint of Vijf Ponden Pers. The initiator was the former Dutch teacher and future professor at the University of Amsterdam, Wytze Gs. Hellinga, who also chose the texts. For some volumes they bought in Jan van Krimpen for assistance on graphic design and he provided that Enschedé could print some publications.
However the regulations of the Germans were sometimes simply ignored. Werkman wangled the necessary paper for De Blauwe Schuit through his normal printing commissions. That caused him some concern. Writing to Henkels, he said: ‘I must in any case keep the publications of the B.S. out of the books, not for evasion but to prevent them falling into the wrong hands’.
When, two and a half years later, 28 out of a total of 40 publications of De Blauwe Schuit had been released, the situation was unchanged and he wrote to Henkels’ partner Zuithoff: ‘For various reasons, the B.S. publications are being kept outside the books, if only for the reason that permission would never be given to print this and then also not for the luxurious way that was carried out. You have no idea how childishly they administer the economising requirements and again at the same time how arbitrarily. Last week I had a small report, 100 copies 16 pp. + cover. Cover must be dropped, number of pp. back to 12, print run at most 75 copies. That is just ridiculous: to save 25 sheets of paper. But it is educational because you do not ask for such things anymore. Yet the situation does seem to be that all paper would be exhausted within a few months with free use’.
Many printers and publishers adopted Werkman’s solution. Bert Bakker proved in some cases to be even bolder and more reckless than his colleagues. In November 1942 he prepared a posthumous edition of J.K. van Eerbeek’s Pontus en de dieren [Pontus and the animals]. Gerrit Kamphuis, who had not registered at the Kultuurkamer and therefore could not publish, provided the introduction to the booklet. Bakker solved this problem by submitting only the copy by Van Eerbeek for approval to J. van Ham, Head of the Books Division. Van Ham allocated cheap wood pulp paper, but that was too much for Bakker’s pride. He thought that the illustrations by Henk Krijger would turn out better on wood-free paper; furthermore he also printed 50 copies on handmade paper. There were no repercussions.
Bakker sometimes also managed to miraculously obtain paper for Tamminga, with whom he ran the Mansarde Press. Tamminga had ‘only trade paper’; as the press draftsman Cees Bantzinger (also involved with the press) said: ‘In one way or another, how, you never found out, Bert [Bakker] got his hands on Van Gelder paper. People at Van Gelder stole it. With these folk you naturally had to concoct a tale that you were doing something against the Germans and then these lads made sure that you got so much beautiful paper’.
Other clandestine publishers opted for a more drastic approach. ‘Paper, ah, gorgeous, wood-free, superbly glossy, meant for the magazine ‘De Zwarte Soldaat [The Black Soldier]’, mysteriously ending up in my printing shop, auf Nimmerwiedersehen. I must watch out that, after the war, I do become a decent person again,’ Jan Hendriks wrote in his memoires.Geert Lubberhuizen robbed a paper warehouse of its entire stock for the illegal publishing house, De Bezige Bij (launched around March 1943). Jan Vermeulen, who from May 1944 in Leiden published under the name of the Molenpers, did not go so far as his colleagues at De Bezige Bij, but begged for paper from acquaintances.
From 1944, Jaap Romijn, a Utrecht journalist (assistant and later director at Bruna publishers), adapted the format of his editions to save paper. Thus arose the two-volume Handpalm series, so named because the books were so small that they could be hidden in your hand from the Germans. ‘But they also were so small because they were produced in the Hunger Winter, when there was hardly any paper to be had. Besides there was also no electricity, so the texts were composed by hand and printed in blue and black on a cranked press. One of these volumes was Praeter gallum cantat (1944) by C. Buddingh’. ‘It is not mentioned, but it was the Den Daas printers in the Oude Kamp in Utrecht that went to such great lengths’. (Another source gave J.R. van Rossum of Utrecht as the printer).
In April 1942, Romijn started the Schildpad-reeks [Tortoise series] with mainly contemporary Dutch literature. The runs ranged from 100 to 200 copies, each of which was signed by the author. Besides the 26 volumes in the Schildpad series and the two editions in the Handpalm series, he brought out a few instalments of a literary periodical, a pamphlet, three broadsheet poems and four booklets. Pieter Vijlbrief, artist and printer in Utrecht, printed the books and booklets and after he went into hiding, Jan Hendriks continued. (SvF)
Baudelaire, Le vin. Cinq poëmes choisis dans Les fleurs du mal. Avec des compositions en taille-douce par Jeanne Bieruma Oosting. Amsterdam, A.A. Balkema, 1943, title page. KB: 347 G 49. (KB)
Baudelaire, Le vin. Cinq poëmes choisis dans Les fleurs du mal. Avec des compositions en taille-douce par Jeanne Bieruma Oosting. Amsterdam, A.A. Balkema, 1943, publisher's device(colophon). KB: 347 G 49. (KB)
J.K. van Eerbeek, Pontus en de dieren en ander proza. Met teekeningen, initialen en vignetten van Henk Krijger. ’s-Gravenhage, Daamen, 1942, p. 24-25. KB: 1463 A 62. (KB)
J.K. van Eerbeek, Pontus en de dieren en ander proza. Met teekeningen, initialen en vignetten van Henk Krijger. ’s-Gravenhage, Daamen, 1942, p. 15. KB: 1463 A 62. (KB)
Bertus Aafjes, Elf sonnetten op Friesland. Leiden, Molenpers, 1944, title page MM: DJ 0007. (MM)
Ab Visser, Bezet gebied. Utrecht, Jac.P. Romijn, 1943 (Schildpad-reeks 3), title page KB: 347 J 291. (KB)
Ab Visser, Bezet gebied. Utrecht, Jac.P. Romijn, 1943 (Schildpad-reeks 3), p. 22-23. KB: 347 J 291. (KB)
Besides the shortage of paper, there was a shortage of type material. Lead was very much in demand by the war industry and therefore much went to Germany. Henkels recalled that they did not care for ‘rare type’ at De Blauwe Schuit, not least because the type material that Werkman had at hand was too limited. With the printing of the first part of the Chassidische legenden (1942), the accompanying texts of Martin Buber had to be composed in six parts because only a little of the type used was available; the semi-bold Hollandsche Mediaeval for titles and quoted German texts, and the bold Egyptienne (10 pt) for the text.
That Henkels and Zuithoff gave relatively little thought to this aspect of their publications is shown by the fact that in their memoires, both paid hardly any attention to the typesetting of the publications by De Blauwe Schuit. Such a lack of attention was not only caused by difficult circumstances, for a publisher as De Bezige Bij certainly strove for perfect typesetting and so hauled type such as Bodoni or Garamond back and forth between the various branches in order to provide the right type.
At the end of the war, Lubberhuizen wrote to his partner Charles Blommestein, after juggling with figures: ‘Rut [Matthijsen] got a type for you: Bodoni. I will keep the 10 pt here for the time being for SdZ [De stilte der zee: The silence of the sea by Vercors (1944)] to add to my number of 10 pt. In return, you get my 12 pt which suits because Rut already has quite a few 12 pt for you and with mine as well, you can now compose a fair bit’.
Whether Fokko Tamminga (who sometimes printed for the De Bezige Bij) also shared in the joys of these transports is unknown, but Simon Carmiggelt (up to his ears with the illegal newspaper Het parool) was involved and was able to report that in 1943, the Amsterdam Type Foundry supplied Tamminga with ‘a complete case of brand new headline type as well’. Perhaps that explains the ease with which Tamminga managed to persuade the Amsterdam Type Foundry to cast the exotic Excelsior especially for Aafjes’ Omne animal.
Van Eikeren (who carried out the typography for a significant number of clandestine editions and therefore dealt with many different printers during the war) told a different story. He wrote that most printers were forced to hand over a large part of their lead type and were monitored regularly. Thus they had to be cautious: ‘hence some particular types could no longer be used because it was known that only a few printers in the Netherlands had them in use. Printers dared not use Gill’s magnificent Perpetua any more and instead they took up the more common Baskerville. A broadsheet poem designed in the fine Weiss Antiqua was printed in the Hollandsche Mediaeval, which anyone still could have.
When the (unrealized) edition of Vestdijk’s De schuttersmaaltijd [The banquet of the Civic Guard] was in progress at De Blauwe Schuit, Werkman wrote to Henkels: ‘The paper for the banquet of the Civic Guard has arrived. Now I am waiting for a shipment of a new Tetterode type to show a proof’. On the subject of unrealized editions, concerning an excerpt from Aafjes’ Vroolijke vaderlandsche geschiedenis [Cheerful patriotic history] (by the standards of De Blauwe Schuit as sizeable as the Chassidische legenden), Werkman told Henkels that Aafjes’ copy could be taken care of ‘immediately [...] as regards the composition. If it ends up in quarto format, the type could easily be a 12-point, and then the Egyptienne would be a nice letter for it. If the new Tetterode type comes soon I will make a little proof’.
That proof was not delivered so it is unknown whether Werkman indeed would have used the nineteenth-century Egyptienne from Amsterdam Type Foundry. Shortly thereafter Werkman had to report that half of his remaining type material had been requisitioned. 18 months earlier, all the printers had had to hand in 200 kg: according to Werkman this was approximately 15 per cent of his total stock. ‘It’s a naturally a favour that they did not immediately take everything at once, because it has long been under confiscation orders,’ he wrote to Henkels at the first opportunity.
Besides the Egyptienne, Werkman also had some body sizes of the Hollandsche Mediaeval of Amsterdam Type Foundry (designed by S.H. de Roos), Groteske (including Annonce) and the Nobel from the same foundry, and also the Block (designed by H. Hoffmann) from H. Berthold type foundry, all of which he would have liked to have used in December 1941 for Turkenkalender 1942. Purely concerning composing and printing, Henkels generously praised Werkman’s employee, Wieberen Bos (in service since 1910), in his memories.
With so many difficulties in obtaining good paper, fine type material, bookbinders’ linen and so forth, it is not surprising that most of the clandestine publications were not outstanding in design. For example, the typesetting of publications at Balkema, In Signo Piscium and the Molenpers was excellent, but it was mainly De Bezige Bij, De Blauwe Schuit and the Mansarde Pers that brought out editions with special printing and illustrations. It is no coincidence that with the latter two, one of the owners also acted as printer and the illustrations were done by one of the publishers. For the rest, not many small publishers stood out. The Semaphore Pers of the Dordrecht poet Anthony Bosman adopted two-colour printing, provided illustrations for his publications and succeeded, like G.W. Breughel, in beautifully binding some of his fine editions. The draftsman Piet Worm included beautifully coloured illustrations in his editions.
With most editions however, the typography was dull. ‘The typography of Jan’s clandestine small publishing house might have had more impact on me if I had known that its simplicity was wrested from printers from whom in general, as far as type and formatting goes, more banality was expected. The compelling purity of Jan’s future hallmark is already to be seen by those willing,’ Kuipers concluded later in regard to Jan Vermeulen’s Molenpers.(SvF)
Gerrit Achterberg, Morendo. Gedichten. Molenpers, 1944, p. 14-15. MM: DJ 0026. (MM)
Gerrit Achterberg, Morendo. Gedichten. Molenpers, 1944, prospectus, p. 1. MM: DJ 0026. (MM)
Gerrit Achterberg, Morendo. Gedichten. Molenpers, 1944, prospectus, p. 2-3. MM: DJ 0026. (MM)
A.A.M. Stols and the periodical Halcyon
Although more could be expected from a publisher such as Stols, his war editions were rarely remarkable. One exception might be the French editions. After unsuccessfully applying for a job in 1940 as a typography consultant to the Post Office, Stols held a similar function from early 1941 at the publishers Nijgh & Van Ditmar. At the beginning of 1941 he was also typography adviser to The Hague printers, Trio. He held both positions until the end of the war. In mid-1940 he released his first (and only in that year) clandestine publication. Spread over the duration of the war came two in 1941, eight in 1942, fifteen in 1943, twenty-two in 1944 and six in early 1945. Of those 54, 24 were French editions with which Stols could not go wrong. In addition, in March 1944, Trio printed the essay collection Sparsa by Arthur van Schendel and designed by Stols for De Bezige Bij.
Stols sometimes produced editions for other clandestine publishers. He designed the poetry collection Novemberland (1943) by Koos Schuur for fellow resident of The Hague Dirk de Jong and had it printed by Boosten & Stols. From mid-1943, he provided paid typographical advice for Jaap Romijn for a number of volumes of his Schildpad series. In 1944, the printer Meijer of Wormerveer printed G.H. ’s-Gravesande’s Verzen van een eenzaam man [Verses of a lonely man], designed by Stols. Finally in November 1944 and February 1945, Stols worked under the imprint Halewijn-Pers on two small clandestine publications with Fokko Tamminga of the Ando printers.
Besides his illegal edition, he had a conventional publisher’s list. Apart from the French editions that he published himself from March until September 1944 (using the imprint Pierre Mangart of Rosières, amongst others), he brought out three small clandestine editions together with Pierre Seghers of Vichy in France. All three were printed by Trio; the first book with the imprint A.A.M. Stols & Pierre Seghers, the other two with the imprints of ‘Pour les Amis du Chien de Pique’ and ‘Pour les Amis de Génétrix’.
Altogether during the war Stols published a great deal, legally and illegally, but it was not very exceptional, unlike Valery Larbaud’s Questions militaires printed by Trio and beautifully illustrated with superb coloured lithographs by Piet Worm. His publisher’s list appeared perhaps rather unexciting, but Stols did manage to miraculously realize one of the most remarkable bibliophile projects of the war: the periodical Halcyon.
By the end of 1941, a great many periodicals had disappeared due to the paper shortage and to the editors of those still appearing being obliged to become members of the Press Guild of the Kultuurkamer. Hence Stols was forced to cease his Helikon poetry series, although he still continued to issue an irregular series of separate poetry collections under the title of Atlantis. In May 1940 Stols also began the exceptionally typographically beautiful Halcyon,a ‘quarterly devoted to book production and the graphic arts’. The last instalment appeared, greatly delayed, in July 1944. The paper supplier, G.H. Bührmann, put up the initial finance. In all, there were 12 instalments (including two double issues), each consisting of a number of separate contributions in a cover. The contributions were printed by different printers on different papers and were composed in various typefaces; in most cases contributions were also profusely illustrated.
It is a mystery how Stols succeeded in steering this periodical through the war. It was a so-called ‘scientific’ journal, so Stols could write confidently to the typographer S.H. de Roos, ‘You need not worry about your collaboration: Halcyon is a trade journal and collaboration on it does not involve obligations concerning the K.K. [Kultuurkamer]’.
Even so, it was also a periodical that defied all the restrictive German measures. Stols possibly had powerful protectors in the persons of F.M. Huebner, Ed. Gerdes (Head of Visual Arts, Architecture and Applied Arts, Deputy Secretary-General of the Department of Public Information and the Arts) and the art critic Erhard Göpel. In autumn 1943, the latter supplied a piece on the typographer S.H. de Roos for Halcyon. He was attached to the Referat für Sonderfragen in which capacity he stole Dutch art for the Führermuseum to be established in Linz, Austria. Even under the terrible conditions of war in 1941, Stols still had high hopes of selling his periodical abroad. To Greshoff he wrote: ‘Further, my periodical for book and print art “Halcyon” enjoys much success, but it will only pay off if I can export it abroad. We are starting to send it to Belgium’.
The poet Theo van Baaren and his wife Gertrude Pape still surpassed Stols with their magazine De schoone zakdoek [The clean handkerchief] of which only one copy appeared with contributions in handwriting and typescript, collages and drawings by a variety of fellow workers. The magazine could only be read at the home of the publishers.(SvF)
Valery Larbaud, Questions militaires. Lithographies de Piet Worm. La Haye, A.A.M. Stols, 1944, titelp. KB: 347 K 122. (KB)
Valery Larbaud, Questions militaires. Lithographies de Piet Worm. La Haye, A.A.M. Stols, 1944, p. 10-11. KB: 347 K 122. (KB)
Schiller, Das Lied von der Glocke. Haag, Halcyon Presse, 1942, title page en frontispiece. KB: 2299 B 7. (KB)
Schiller, Das Lied von der Glocke. Haag, Halcyon Presse, 1942, colophon. KB: 2299 B 7. (KB)
Halcyon. Driemaandelijksch tijdschrift voor boek-, druk- en prentkunst. Vierteljahrschrift für Buchkunst, Druckkunst und Graphik. A quarterly devoted to book production and the graphic arts. Revue trimestrielle consacrée à l’art du livre et de la gravure*. 1 (1940)-3 (1942). KB: 48 D 1-3. (KB: JU)
De Bezige Bij
De Bezige Bij accounted for a relatively large number of clandestine publications. It achieved almost 70 editions thereby leaving Stols behind with 54, Balkema with 50 and De Blauwe Schuit with 40. De Bezige Bij distinguished itself not only in the amount but also by the often illegal nature of the editions. They were directed against the German occupiers. The editions of other publishers were mostly bibliophile, largely due to their short print runs. De Bezige Bij in particular differed because the editions in their publisher’s list were often, like De Blauwe Schuit, richly illustrated. Fine examples are the 40-page Moffenspiegel, a book about ‘Adolf the First (and last) and his henchmen’ with biting caricatures by Karel Links (1944), and in the same year the poem Rondeel by Han G. Hoekstra appeared with drawings by Fedde Weidema.
De Bezige Bij began in mid-1942 with the idealistic motive to help Jewish children through the war. At the end of that year, Geert Lubberhuizen was recruited to help raise money. To offer something to potential sponsors in exchange for their donations, it was decided to publish the poem De achttien dooden[The dead eighteen] by Jan Campert, who had died in Neuengamme shortly before. The inspiration for the poem was the execution of 18 Resistance fighters: his death and the subject resulted in a clear political character. The poem was reprinted countless times and acquired the function of a symbol for the Resistance. Thousands of copies of the broadsheet poem were published and thousands more reprinted.
De Bezige Bij was not the only clandestine publisher that made a clear stand through an edition. In December 1940, De Blauwe Schuit in Groningen brought out the poem Het jaar 1572 by M. Nijhoff as a broadsheet poem, and sporadically during the war other publishers implied an opinion about the war through a reference to historical events.\
Usually most publishers did not risk burning their fingers on current events, such as those underlying Campert’s De achttien dooden. Once again, it was De Blauwe Schuit in May 1944 that published Vestdijk’s poem De doode zwanen, which delivered a similar though less intense declaration of conviction given that his poem was written with the execution of a number of hostages in St Michielsgestel in mind. Unlike De achttien dooden, Vestdijk’s text, of which only 60 copies were printed, was not intended to raise funds for the Resistance. (SvF)
Moffenspiegel. Een boekje over Adolf de Eerste (en de laatste) en zijn trawanten. Met karikaturen door Karel Links. Utrecht, De Bezige Bij [Charles E. van Blommestein and G. Lubberhuizen], 1944, p. 30-31. KB: 347 J 39. (KB)
M. Swaertreger [Theun de Vries]. WA Man. Met tekeningen van Fedde Weidema. Utrecht, De Doezende Dar [De Bezige Bij], 1943, title page and frontispiece. KB: 347 H 183. (KB)
De Blauwe Schuit
On 10 April 1945, three days before the liberation of Groningen, the Germans executed ten men on the Mandeveld, a field near Bakkeveen. Amongst them was the 63 year-old Groningen printer-artist Hendrik Nicolaas Werkman, the printer of the clandestine publishing house De Blauwe Schuit. It had been founded in autumn 1940 by the clergyman August Henkels, the chemist Ate Zuithoff and classical languages teacher Adri Buning. From December 1940 to his death, Werkman printed 40 editions for De Blauwe Schuit.
The most important and impressive publication was the Chassidische legenden comprising two portfolios, each of ten pages, printed in an edition of 20 copies. At auction today this edition can bring in more than €100,000 (such as recently at Christie’s). The editions of De Blauwe Schuit are distinguished from other clandestine publications primarily by the form in which Werkman took pride. He wrote to Henkels in August (during the exhibition De verluchte bladzijde [The illuminated page] in the course of the war): ‘From Amsterdam I received a letter from someone [photographer Paul Guermonprez] who wrote that the wall where my products hang, gave him the impression that they can hold out against the incunabula better than all that perfect work of Stols et al. Without being able to or wanting to confirm that, he has felt the same as I do at seeing all that perfect printed matter that in all its aesthetic pretensions loses character. Excellent type, excellent ink and excellent paper in the hands of first class craftsmen on the very best presses are still not everything. We have a very different basis’.
Werkman never particularly cared about the pure typography of the literary texts he printed. Most of the printing he did for De Blauwe Schuit was in that regard rather conservative and monotonous, sometimes just as clumsily composed as his pre-war printing. This casualness can also be seen also in his printing for In Agris Occupatis, the Groningen competitor of De Blauwe Schuit, publisher of the authors A. Marja, W.H. Nagel and W.H. Overbeek. When Werkman printed Gerrit Achterberg’s collection Meisje [Girl] (1944) for its Volière series, he said: ‘These gentlemen want to launch more ships, but they will have to take care not to stray into the wake of the B.S.. But then they have entirely different copy, stay with a small format and give out ordinary paper with a few luxury copies’.
Even an admirer such as Henkels frankly admitted to Werkman’s typographic inability: ‘Werkman was absolutely no typographer, nor a typographer who was seeking his own way. He was more of a very poor typographer. On that subject, I can show surprising things which I rejected – and rightly so! – proofs of later work for us. He was less than an exceptional typographer. And worse. He was a child, playing! Playing with letters, blocks and paint’.
Werkman was not jealous of other printers. In mid-1944, he got hold of two recently issued publications from the Vijf Ponden Pers – probably Helena’s inkeer [Helena’s repentance] by A. Roland Holst, designed by Jan van Krimpen and published in April 1944, and Ten poems by Emily Dickinson published two months later. Werkman then wrote to Henkels: ‘It was as if I had products of type foundries in my hands. Such flawless execution and what an unrivalled exclusivity in exterior and interior appearance. You clasp your hands together in amazement when you see such a thing in these times. In these times when you can find almost no sheet of good paper. But is it not all a bit too beautiful? Much too beautiful, although the content deserves it I must admit. Would you believe that I would never make such a thing for fun? That is simply sublimated craftsman-printer work without a grain of artistry or even personality. In the long run it would be boring to have a lot of it in the bookcase. Sometimes it seems to me that such a thing is diametrically opposed to the B.S.. And sometimes I think, just keep quiet because you cannot do it like that. Actually to tell the truth, it is too commercial, the printing press has had too much to say’.
About one Bezige Bij edition of Hendrik de Vries he wrote: ‘The ruby reds of Hendrik de Vries of the Bezige Bij are yet again a bit different, perhaps due to the longing of the author to print red on yellow paper and the red cover. But now they have punched a peephole in that cover and now it is really so beautiful’.
Thus the editions of De Blauwe Schuit did not stand out in their typography, but they were unique in the way Werkman illustrated his prints. After the first edition of Nijhoff’s Het jaar 1572 (illustrated by Jan Wiegers), the publisher no longer called in contemporary artists; Werkman himself illustrated all subsequent editions. This was partly born of necessity because of Werkman’s limited technical capabilities as a printer. When Henkels sent the fragment of Vroolijke vaderlandsche geschiedenis by Bertus Aafjes and the illustrator Piet Worm to Werkman, he wrote to him (19 July 1944): ‘That should be a beautiful edition after the war if the illustrator delivers work just as good as the author. I am afraid that the B.S. edition cannot hold a candle to it, because the illustration that I must make for it needs of course to be much more limited than what Piet Worm would permit himself. In the manuscript, Aafje’s scribbles are a good enough indication but I obviously cannot carry it out like that with my technique nor of course illustrate it so elaborately by any means’.
Werkman’s limitations as an illustrator were also clear to various De Blauwe Schuit authors. As Vestdijk expressed his opinion on Henkel’s Ballade voor een gevangen dichter [Ballad for a captive poet] and his own De terugkomst [The return]: ‘I think Werkman has been quite successful this time, especially the ballad with the canary cock next to the ambiguous figure walking on poles instead of legs. This is a good idea as symbolism, I quite often miss such notions with W. As pure “decoration” I find his things not “beautiful” enough; therefore they ought to “mean” something, and sometimes they do and sometimes they do not’.
Nijhoff also had similar objections to Werkman’s illustrations. When he announced to Henkels that he was making a broadsheet poem for De Blauwe Schuit, he asked worriedly, ‘Do you have a draftsman? Because colours are Werkman’s strength but not drawing’. Contrarily, Achterberg wrote to Jan Vermeulen (publisher at the Molenpers) concerning Werkman’s drawing in Allegretto innocente by Vestdijk which was issued by In Agris Occupatis: ‘Werkman’s drawing on that Vestdijk collection is very curious, very different, you can look at it for a long time as something special that makes you happy’.(SvF)
Turkenkalender 1942. Groningen, De Blauwe Schuit, 1941, printer's device (colophon). MM: Obj. 0471. (MM)
Turkenkalender 1942. Groningen, De Blauwe Schuit, 1941, front and back cover. MM: Obj. 0471. (MM)
Turkenkalender 1942. Groningen, De Blauwe Schuit, 1941, p. ‘januari’. MM: Obj. 0471. (MM)
Turkenkalender 1942. Groningen, De Blauwe Schuit, 1941, p. ‘mei’. MM: Obj. 0471. (MM)
Turkenkalender 1942. Groningen, De Blauwe Schuit, 1941, [print between 'June' and 'July']. MM: Obj. 0471. (MM)
Turkenkalender 1942. Groningen, De Blauwe Schuit, 1941, p. ‘november’. MM: Obj. 0471. (MM)
Turkenkalender 1942. Groningen, De Blauwe Schuit, 1941, p. ‘O Hollant’ (printing proof, detail). MM: B 002 A 006:03. (MM)
Chassidische legenden. Een suite van H.N. Werkman. Groningen, De Blauwe Schuit, 1942-1943, I, 6. KB: SMC 2. (KB)
Chassidische legenden. Een suite van H.N. Werkman. Groningen, De Blauwe Schuit, 1942-1943, II, 4. KB: SMC 2. (KB)
Chassidische legenden. Een suite van H.N. Werkman. Groningen, De Blauwe Schuit, 1942-1943, II, 9. KB: SMC 2. (KB)
Chassidische legenden. Een suite van H.N. Werkman. Groningen, De Blauwe Schuit, 1942-1943, II, 9. KB: SMC I, 1. (KB)
Gerrit Achterberg,Meisje. Groningen: In Agris Occupatis, 1944 (Volière-reeks 2), upper cover. MM: B 003 B 022:02. (MM)
Hendrik Marsman, De zee. Verlucht door H.N. Werkman. Heerenveen, De Blauwe Schuit, 1942. KB: 2281 A 269. (KB)
H.N. Werkman and the ‘skippers’ of De Blauwe Schuit at the press, from left to right: Ate Zuithoff, August Henkels, H.N. Werkman and Adri Buning. LM: Blauwe Schuit, NG-I:1. (KB)
‘Skippers’ of De Blauwe Schuit inspect the printing proofs of the ‘Chassidische legenden’, clockwise: August Henkels (upper right), Ate Zuithoff, H.N. Werkman and Adri Buning. LM: Blauwe Schuit, NG-I:2. (KB)
The Mansarde Pers
Many clandestine printers published the poet Achterberg. The Mansarde Pers had a significant share in these editions. This press was a partnership between the publisher Bert Bakker, the printer Fokko Tamminga and artist C.A.B. Bantzinger, who was in hiding in the attic of Tamminga’s printing shop. On the day it was founded, Bakker wrote to Achterberg, who should provide the first series: ‘Everything (format, paper, etc.) is already determined. Some come in two colours. They will become such books the likes of which the Netherlands has hardly ever seen. These are all publications of the Mansarde Pers, which was founded yesterday by Tamminga, Kees Bantzinger and I, and where your booklets are the first editions. This Mansarde Pers (do you like the name? – attic press, hiding-place attic in the war year ’43 – Kees’ idea) will demonstrate the close relationship between word and image’. That this kind of small publisher in the Netherlands was ‘hardly’ ever seen was a bit of bravado from Bakker, even if only taking the editions of De Blauwe Schuit into account.
One of the most notable editions of the Mansarde Pers, the poetry collection Omne animal, appeared as the last edition in June 1944. ‘It has turned out to be a wonderful book, to me one of the most beautifully printed from the press, more beautiful than “Les Fleurs du Mal”’, Bakker wrote to Aafjes. Aafjes’ collection contained 14 poems in 64 pages. Bantzinger illustrated each of the 14 poems with a pen and ink drawing. A hefty size (320 x 240 mm) was chosen for Omne animal – a very different kettle of fish than the small Handpalm series of Jaap Romijn. The 275 numbered copies printed on Simili Japon paper consisted of eight uncut quires of two printed sheets alternating with two blank sheets. The boards are serrated, which added to the fashionable appearance. This beauty was almost undone by the Excelsior Italic.
Ondanks de fysieke belemmeringen slaagden uitgevers als De Bezige Bij, De Blauwe Schuit, de Mansarde Pers, A.A. Balkema, Jaap Romijn en sommige anderen er met kunst en vliegwerk in bibliofiele uitgaven te maken. Bibliofiel niet in de zin van kleine oplages, maar bibliofiel in de zin van indrukwekkend zetwerk of bijzondere illustraties. In Het clandestiene boek 1940-1945 schatte Lisette Lewin het aantal clandestiene uitgeverijen en reeksen in Nederland op zo’n negentig. De bibliografie van Dirk de Jong Het vrije boek in onvrije tijd (1958) telde ruim duizend titels. De belangrijkste collectie bevindt zich in de universiteitsbibliotheek Leiden, gebaseerd op de verzameling van Dirk de Jong, maar ook de Amsterdamse universiteitsbibliotheek en de Koninklijke Bibliotheek in Den Haag bezitten zeer uitgebreide verzamelingen. Iedere poging om gedurende de oorlog een goede tekst op een fatsoenlijke manier te drukken woog op tegen de niet aflatende stroom onderdrukkende publicaties die sinds de bezetting in 1940 over Nederland werd verspreid door de bezetter en collaborateurs. De verzamelingen zijn daarvan de weerslag. (SvF)
Bertus Aafjes, Omne animal. Tekeningen van C.A.B. Bantzinger. ’s-Gravenhage, Mansardepers, 1944, p. 6-7. MM: DJ 0013. (MM)
Bertus Aafjes, Omne animal. Tekeningen van C.A.B. Bantzinger. ’s-Gravenhage, Mansardepers, 1944, p. 12-13
Bertus Aafjes, Omne animal. Tekeningen van C.A.B. Bantzinger. ’s-Gravenhage, Mansardepers, 1944, p. 21 (detail). MM: DJ 0013. (MM)
Prominent books: H.N. Werkman, Sabbatgesänge
Amongst the finest clandestine publications produced during the Second World War are the 40 works printed by Hendrik Nicolaas Werkman from 1940 to 1944 for De Blauwe Schuit. While the absolute highlight is the two sets of Chassidische legenden [Hasidic legends], Turkenkalender 1942 also compelled great admiration. It has been previously observed that the De Blauwe Schuit publications drew their fame especially from the cover prints and illustrations rather than the typographic qualities.
In this regard, the Sabbatgesänge [Sabbath psalms] is no exception. This fourth publication was originally intended as an Easter edition for 1941 but appeared most unlikely to be ready on time and so was replaced at the last minute by the less laborious Alleluia [Hallelujah]. The compilation of old Sabbath psalms includes work by Jehuda Halevi translated by Franz Rosenzweig, Martin Buber’s translation of a psalm and a few anonymous evergreens. The combination of the large body size Iris for the titles with the bold Egyptienne for the songs, the way in which the text was divided over the pages, and the addition of an explanation by Henkels on a half sheet in a different paper sewn in the back, was no textbook example of good typography and design. Werkman’s justification for the layout given in a letter to Henkels is not entirely convincing. Even the printing on the front and back cover is not the most beautiful that Werkman ever made for De Blauwe Schuit. The superb illustrations in De zee [The sea] by H. Marsman in 1942 are more qualified for that title.
There is a special reason for placing the Sabbatgesänge on centre stage. In 2010, Museum Meermanno managed to acquire three of the stencils used to make the two illustrations from the estate of Ate Zuithoff. As far as is known, these seemingly useless pieces of paper (perhaps once fished out of the printer’s rubbish by Zuithoff?) are unique and make it possible to deduce how these prints were created, almost step by step.
The printer’s wallet is to be found amongst the paraphernalia in the Werkman collection of the Groninger Museum. There is no longer any money but there is an old-fashioned razor inside. Werkman used this to cut stencils including those for the three figures on the cover. Here he began to apply a light-blue background with an ink roller while the tabletop below required a separate procedure. Then he laid the stencil level with the edge of the table and printed the three figures with a moderately inked roller. Then he shifted the stencil slightly to the right and printed the same image again, now with somewhat more pressure. Then, suddenly, there is the striking silent group at the Sabbath table. The last step was to deepen the blue on the side edge of the table.
The illustration on the back cover – the seven-branched menorah (the Sabbath candelabrum) – looks simpler but it still took four steps because Werkman cut three stencils for it (unfortunately the left arm is missing). His procedure was linked to the technique: if one aims to print with good coverage, the ink roller requires quite a lot of pressure. If the candelabrum was cut out as a whole then the stencil would have been too fragile with the great risk that the paper would stick to the roller. The most logical sequence was to begin with the middle and end with the two side pieces. Which techniques were used to make the flames? This was probably done by hand as they are all different.
The importance of the three stencils is not limited to the technical aspect; you can almost see the printer at work especially through the many fingerprints left on the blue stencil. This comes to life even more with the knowledge that Werkman had complained in a letter to Henkels about the effort it took to remove that dark blue ink from his fingers. (KT)
Sabbatsgesänge. Met prenten van H.N. Werkman. Heerenveen, De Blauwe Schuit, 1941, vooromslag met sjabloon. MM: B 006 G; GV 3076 (stencil). (MM)
Sabbatsgesänge. Met prenten van H.N. Werkman. Heerenveen, De Blauwe Schuit, 1941, achteromslag met sjablonen. MM: B 006 G; GV 3076 (stencil). (MM)