Cas Oorthuys

Verzetsmusem Amsterdam




Dutch photographer and resister Cas Oorthuys (1908–1975) takes hundreds of photos during the Second World War. This exhibition surveys his work and tells the resistance photographer’s story with the benefit of new historical research.

Photography is permitted in the Netherlands during the occupation until November 1944, although restrictions apply to military sites and objects. While Cas works legally for clients, he also photographs resisters and their activities. When a general ban on photography is announced in 1944, Cas carries on taking photos, clandestinely recording the famine of the so-called Hunger Winter. As Cas recalls after the war: “I suppose we never really discuss it (…) So many of our friends died. You lie awake thinking about it. That constant fear of the doorbell ringing, it never goes away.

The exhibition mixes their stories which relate to love, colonial heritage, migration for studies, and safety issues and shows how Amsterdam turned into a very diverse city in which people sometimes have much more in common in their history than you would think at first sight. 

Spatial design: Rogier Martens

Photos: Zindzi Zwietering