More than 6,200 Dutch physicians, 97 percent of the country’s doctors, went on strike against the Nazi-created Chamber of Physicians on this date in 1943. Mandatory registration with this newly formed guild would have forced the physicians to follow Nazi guidelines for racial screening and “euthenasia” for the handicapped and mentally challenged. Hundreds of the protesters were arrested, and for weeks there was almost no medical service in The Netherlands, but the threat of epidemic disease eventually convinced the Nazis to relent and rescind their registration order. The doctors’ strike was just one example of widespread Dutch resistance to Nazism, including a Communist-led general strike in February, 1941 to protest the first round-up of Jews in Amsterdam.
The Dutch village of Nieuwlande resolved that every household would hide one Jewish family or at least one Jew, and all 117 inhabitants are now recognized as “Righteous Among the Nations” by Israel’s Yad Vashem. Despite this mass resistance, however, the Nazis deported and killed more than 75 percent of the country’s’ 140,000 Jews.
“I don’t think of all the misery but of the beauty that still remains.” —Anne Frank