Mimeograph with Bicycle
From the collection of the Resistance Museum, Amsterdam
h 120 cm x w 180 cm (Copying machine)
h 120 cm x w 50 cm (Bicycle)
In 1940, the German occupier abolished freedom of the press. Only information that it sanctioned was allowed in the papers, on the radio and in newsreels. An illegal press arose in reaction to this. The first newspapers appeared sporadically, but by the end of the war the number of illegal publications had increased to 1300.
Creating and distributing these papers was very dangerous work, punishable by death. Even having a single copy in your possession put your life at risk. Along with the growing shortages caused by the war, for instance of paper, these illegal presses also faced other difficulties. Members of the Amsterdam Resistance used this bicycle-powered mimeograph machine to stencil underground newspapers, most likely from late 1944, when the electricity in the city was cut off more and more frequently.