Friese meisjes tegen het Bolsjewisme, a photo by NIOD Instituut voor Oorlogs-, Holocaust en Genocid on Flickr.
Frisian Girls Against Bolshewism?
The caption placed with the photograph is most suggestive. No wonder an American visitor thought the photo must have been made right after WWII, when the Red Scare and fear of Bolshewiks colored many a Westerner's paranoid view of the world. Even if it wasn't the intention of the NIOD, the words play right into the old fear of Marxist and Leninist theory and communist practice.
In reality the Frisian girls were part of a 1941 gathering of farmers in Rolde, a hamlet in Drenthe, one of the three northern provinces in the Netherlands. The speaker was Arthur Seyss-Inquart, an Austrian Nazi who ruled over the Netherlands during the German occupation. By scaring the farmers with what the Bolshewiks might do to the country, the Nazis hoped to gain followers and collaborators.
He used his I.Q. of 141 (he was tested at the Nurenburg Trials) in a cunning way. After the German fighter planes bombed the hell out of Rotterdam, Seyss Inquart sent homeless children on vacation to Gmunden in his heimat or homeland Austria, which was called Ostmark during the German ruling. When the children return to The Hague, they spoke German and some shook hands with Seyss-Inquart, who told them to give their parents his regards.
During his inauguration speech Seyss-Inquart didn't mince words. The help given to the Dutch was not charity, but a means to create goodwill —a political tool, he stressed.
Seyss-Inquart was successful, a large number of farmers in the three northern provinces joined the NSB, the National Socialist Party, which should not be confused with the Labor Party. The NSB started as a regular political party, but soon adopted the Nazi ideology. Hundreds of NSB members would eventually join the Dutch fraction of the SS.
This work by Judith van Praag is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License