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Instances of Students’ Protest and Resistance Activities Under Occupation

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The Nazi Occupation of the Netherlands during World War 11 largely has been neglected in English language historical scholarship. Yet the experiences of higher education and university students warrants closer academic scrutiny. While elementary and secondary school resistance was relatively successful, the resistance of the post secondary faculty proved ineffectual. However post secondary students accomplished quite different results. Their activities against the Occupiers initially were rather spontaneous, but they quickly became unified and considerably productive throughout the war years. Students reacted aggressively to Nazi Occupation through establishing underground newspapers, disbanding their clubs and associations, using strikes as a method of protest against their professors’ dismissals, actively resisting the labour drives by going underground, rejecting the loyalty oath demanded by Hitler and vigorously resisting the Occupier’s ideological attempt to “Nazify” their education. These students paid a very high price for their protest and resistance activities, some with their lives, and their education was almost at a complete standstill by 1943. This preliminary study of eventual school disruption suggests that students have a role to play in maintaining their education system during times of political conflict.1
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Alberta

Publication date: January 1, 1999

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