From Simon Vestdijk’s Work
From the collection of the Vestdijk Society/ Hans Visser
h 25 cm x w 21 cm
On 4 May 1942, the Germans imprisoned 460 prominent Dutch people including politicians, mayors, professors, clergymen, lawyers, writers and musicians in the Beekvliet Preparatory Seminary in the Dutch town of Sint-Michielsgestel.
In the course of the war hundreds of others would follow. One of them was the Dutch author Simon Vestdijk. The German occupier held these hostages to keep the Resistance from perpetrating attacks. Although the hostages were at great risk of being executed as a retaliatory measure, the daily regimen was not very strict. The hostages did not have to work and were able to organize activities themselves. Writer Simon Vestdijk gave a lecture on 19 June 1942 – using these sheets of paper as his notes – about The Trial, a novel by the Jewish writer Franz Kafka. Vestdijk compared the unfree situation of the hostages to that of the main character in the book and said Kafka was representative of the ‘good’ Germany. Vestdijk was released in February 1943.