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Book illustration of an allegorical cartoon on the destruction of Dutch Jews

Object | Accession Number: 2013.514.8

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    Book illustration of an allegorical cartoon on the destruction of Dutch Jews


    Brief Narrative
    De Waanzin Breekt Los [The Madness Breaks Loose], a print of a drawing by Dutch cartoonist Leendert Jordaan illustrating the terror and coming destruction of the Jewish population of the Netherlands during the German occupation, May 1940- May 1945. Netherlands had an SS controlled administration which put in place policies to persecute and isolate Jews. In 1941, Jews forbidden [Voor Joden Verboden] signs were posted all over Amsterdam. In 1942, the Dutch Nazi Party (NSB) member, Jan Feitsma, who from 1941 was the Attorney General of Amsterdam, had all the signs replaced with ones he designed bearing his name, as shown in the drawing. Feitsma collaborated with the Germans in the 1941 imprisonment of thousands of Jews in forced labor camps, and in 1942, with the deportations to concentration camps. In 1943, there was an assassination attempt on Feitsma. He was killed in a second attempt on February 2, 1945. The drawing was published in a book of Jordaan's work, Nachtmerrie over Nederland : een herinnerings-album [Nightmare in the Netherlands] in 1945 after the war ended in May.
    Artwork Title
    De Waanzin Breekt Los
    Alternate Title
    The Madness Breaks Loose
    publication/distribution:  approximately 1945 May 05-1945 May 31
    publication: Amsterdam (Netherlands)
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, The Abraham and Ruth Goldfarb Family Acquisition Fund
    Artist: Leendert J. Jordaan
    Leendert Jurriaan Jordaan was born on December 30, 1885, in Amsterdam, Netherlands. In 1901, he enrolled in the National Academy of Fine Arts in Amsterdam. From 1904 to 1927, he worked as a political cartoonist, caricaturist, and film critic at several magazines. In 1928, he became an editorial cartoonist at De Groene Amsterdammer [The Green Amsterdammer], and became chief cartoonist in 1931. Jordaan’s magazine covers and comics criticized current events and political issues, such as the rising Nazi movement and Europe’s ambivalence, the inefficiency of the League of Nations, and communism.

    On May 10, 1940, Nazi Germany occupied the Netherlands. It established an SS led administration that immediately put persecutory anti-Jewish practices, such as removal from the civil service and the registration of all assets. The Germans established the Kulturkammer [Chamber of Culture] to censor and control art. Criticism of the German administration was frobidden. The restrictions forced De Groene Amsterdammer into bankruptcy. Jordaan continued to draw anti-fascist caricatures for an underground edition of the journal. The war ended when Germany surrendered on May 7, 1945.

    In 1945, after the war, thirty of Jordaan’s caricatures were published in a book, Nachtmerrie over Nederland [Nightmare over the Netherlands]. The money drawn from the success of this book allowed De Groene Amsterdammer to return to publication. Jordaan continued to work as a cartoonist and film critic at De Groene Amsterdammer until 1948 when he transferred to the Fri Netherlands. He retired in 1961. Jordaan, 95, died on April 21, 1980, in Zelhem, Netherlands.

    Physical Details

    Physical Description
    Offset lithograph book leaf on paper adhered to linen backing. It is an illustration of a man screaming in terror, with his short, dark, curly hair extending into long, orange, flame consumed tresses. He is shown from the waist up, running down a street, clutching to his chest, a stack of placards, and holding one up in his raised right hand, with the Dutch slogan : Voor Joden Verboden [Jews Forbidden]. Printed below this is an official seal with authorization by the Chief of Police: DE PROCURER-GENERAL / FUNGEEREND GEWESTELUK / DIRECTEUR VAN POLITIE / FEITSMA [Attorney General Feitsma, acting Regional Chief of Police]. The man's face, hands, and ragged shirt are finely detailed. On the right, 2 bare trees and a bench display the sign. The background is black and the artists's signature, Jordaan, is printed within the image in the lower right corner. The drawing was published in a book of the artist's work, Nachtmerrie over Nederland : een herinnerings-album [Nightmare in the Netherlands] published in 1945, which is the likely source of this leaf.
    overall: Height: 13.500 inches (34.29 cm) | Width: 10.875 inches (27.623 cm)
    pictorial area: Height: 11.625 inches (29.528 cm) | Width: 7.250 inches (18.415 cm)
    overall : paper, linen, ink, adhesive

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    No restrictions on access
    Conditions on Use
    No restrictions on use

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    The book leaf was acquired by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2013.
    Funding Note
    The cataloging of this artifact has been supported by a grant from the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.
    The acquisition of this collection was made possible by The Abraham and Ruth Goldfarb Family Acquisition Fund.
    Record last modified:
    2022-09-06 16:20:06
    This page:

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