Clipped and Shaved
From the collection of the Resistance Museum, Amsterdam
h 4 cm x w 15 cm
Freedom! Suddenly Dutch flags were hanging all over the place and people were singing and dancing arm-in-arm in the streets. But pent-up emotions were also unleashed: ‘Kraut whores’, girls and women who had consorted with the Germans during the war, were targeted. They were dragged from their homes, marched through the streets, jeered and spit at in the days following the Liberation.
This happened all over the Netherlands. Under the watchful eye of overjoyed spectators, their hair was cut off, their heads shaved and at times even smeared with tar. This was done with a hair clipper like this one, which was most likely used in Amstelveen on the outskirts of Amsterdam. An eyewitness from the city of Haarlem described what happened: ‘The girl’s head was shaven unevenly. She was clenching her teeth in anger. Then she had to hold a bouquet of flowers and some guy thrust her arm into the air and forced her to keep time while people in the crowd sang the traditional Dutch rallying cry Oranje Boven (Lit. Orange on top). An older woman was then pulled out of the line. She tried to defend herself; was incredibly angry. The people around me were laughing hysterically.’