Joel Cahen is director of the Jewish Historical Museum in Amsterdam since 2002. Before
returning to Amsterdam in 2002, he worked as chief curator and deputy director of the
museum Beth Hatefutsoth in Tel Aviv. The Jewish Historical Museum is part of the Jewish
Cultural Quarter and as such manages the Hollandsche Schouwburg Holocaust Memorial
and is developing plans to create a National Shoa Center and Museum. The Jewish
Historical Museum is also in charge of the Portuguese Synagogue.
David de Levita (1926) is a Second World War survivor from Amsterdam who later
became a professor of Child Psychiatry. In 2013 he published a book called Mevrouw, is dit
uw zoon? (Madam, is this your son?) in which he shares his memories of the Second
World War. He concludes that the years have made his memories increasingly intense and
more difficult to handle, and supports his narrative with research in child psychiatry. In his
book he also contemplates the reasons for his rescue and links these to broader themes
of chance and justice.
Maarten Frankenhuis, a Second World War survivor born in 1942, was the director of
the Natura Artis Magistra (or “Artis Zoo in Amsterdam”) from 1990 to 2003. Since his
retirement he has written several books on the function and survival of the Zoo (Artis and
others) during the Second World War. Between 1940 and 1945 Artis Zoo served as a
hiding place for 250 to 300 persons in total. Among those were young men trying to
escape Nazi work deployment and Jews in hiding. Frankenhuis also published a novel in
2010 that tells the story of a young boy who escapes a razzia and spends the war hiding in
the Zoo. The book is based on Frankenhuis’ discoveries about the Artis Zoo and is a tribute
to his nephew who perished in the Holocaust.
Inger Schaap obtained a master’s degree in Holocaust and Genocide Studies at the
University of Amsterdam. For over five years she has been involved with the Anne Frank
House, where she works as a trainer and develops teaching materials. A main question
that leads her as an educator is how we can teach about the Holocaust in a respectful way
that is both honouring the victims, keeping the memory alive and at the same time is
meaningful for students today. As an historian she researches Dutch resistance and
reprisals during the Second World War, and published Sluipmoordenaars (Assassins) in
2010, on retaliation against Dutch acts of resistance by the Nazi’s during the War.
Abraham de Swaan (1942) is a professor emeritus of Social Science at the University of
Amsterdam and has been involved with the Amsterdam School of Social Science Research
since its foundation in 1987. He has been an editor of the general cultural review De Gids
from 1969 to 1991 and has been writing a weekly column to the national daily
NRC/Handelsblad for many years. In 2008 de Swaan received the national award for
literature, the P.C. Hooft prize, for his entire oeuvre. In early 2014 de Swaan published
Compartimenten van vernietiging (‘The Killing Compartments: On genocidal regimes and
their perpetrators’). His book contains an extensive overview of the campaigns of mass
murder in the 20th century. He contests the ‘banality of evil’ of Hannah Arendt and calls for
an alternative interpretation of the Milgram experiment.
Orhan Galjus is a Roma radio reporter, born in Kosovo. In 2012 he produced the
documentary “Broken Silence”, together with documentary maker Bob Entrop. Galjus tries
to find out what happened to the Sinti and Roma during the Second World War. Sinti and
Roma are increasingly discriminated, and even prosecuted, throughout Europe. How do the
12 million Sinti and Roma living in Europe cope with this? What do they know about their
own history? These are the type of questions that Galjus tries to answer in his radio
program. He travels to Kosovo, Germany and Poland, where he speaks to survivors,
eyewitnesses and others. In Poland, he participates in commemorative events for
massacres committed against Sinti and Roma, and visits the extermination camps of ! 36!
Auschwitz and Birkenau. Here, he is confronted with the fundamental differences between
his people and ‘Gadje’, the ‘others’, and calls for positive and peaceful change.