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Behind the Star



During the Second World War Jewish citizens in the Netherlands were isolated and made subject to discrimination and persecution by the National Socialists and their collaborators. The majority of them did not survive the war. More than 100,000 Jews from the Netherlands  were deported and killed during the Holocaust.

Among the most compelling forms of evidence from this period that have been preserved are photographs of the victims. However, we do not always know the identity of the people portrayed in these photographs.


The NIOD project "Behind the Star" focuses on photographs in which people are depicted wearing the Yellow Star sewn or pinned onto their clothing. From May 1942, the wearing of a yellow fabric star – called the “Jodenster” in the Netherlands – was made compulsory by the German occupiers. This measure made it easy to identify Jewish people and was intended to stigmatize and dehumanize them.

After 1945, numerous photographs from the war years were collected in archives. BeeldbankWO2 (WWII ImageBank) is the largest online photo archive from this period in the Netherlands, and contains more than 200 images that depict people wearing yellow stars. These images reflect a fraction of the lives of those portrayed - in order to reconstruct and understand their life stories, it is essential to identify their names.

In this project we aim to find the names of those portrayed, as well as to identify information that can help us and others tell the stories of their lives.

Please help us to find the names and stories behind the stars.

We invite everyone to share with us as much information as possible about the persons depicted in these photographs. We are looking for names, as well as other information about those depicted in the photographs, such as dates and location. All information is welcome, even if it is not possible to gather all the data at once.

You can read about some of the lives and stories we have begun to research below.

To see the photographs and to share information, please visit the WWII ImageBank / BeeldbankWO2.

66107 - Elias Spitz.jpg

Behind the Star:
Names identified

Apeldoornsche Bosch - Staff_edited.jpg

The Forgotten Names of
the Apeldoornsche Bosch

by Amber Zijlma

Eva Granaada - 96719.jpg

Who is Eva Granaada?

by Annemarie van Dijk & Amber Zijlma


Jan & Herman Heukels: Brothers, Photographers, National Socialists

Two articles by Machlien Vlasblom and
Kees Ribbens

20 June - button.jpg

The round-ups of June 20 1943

by Annemarie van Dijk

NIOD Beeldbank WO2 - 96839.jpg

Between Humiliation and Pride:
Resistance and Other Responses to
the Yellow Star Badge in the Netherlands

by Amber Zijlma

96978 - Bart van der Hoede, Werner Danziger, Directeur Van Arend , Fiet Andriesse-Hes, Loe

Every Day Someone Disappeared

a conversation with
Rosetta Musaph-Andriesse

Albert Heijermans - 66089.jpg

Albert Heijermans

by Annemarie van Dijk & Kylie Thomas

Beeldbank WO2 - 62321.jpg

The Diggers of Kamp de Landweer

by Chiara Longmore


'Marking' Jewish People
in Europe during World War II

by Ayana Sassoon

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