The events of May 1945 in chronological order:
Sunday May 6th:
Several newspapers, including De Waarheid mention on Sunday May 6th 1945 that the Canadians are set to arrive in Amsterdam on the next day. One can also read here that the Domestic Armed Forces had to follow the instructions provided to them by Prince Bernhard.
Monday morning May 7th
Despite the fact that some newspapers had indicated that the liberators would not arrive on Monday, thousands of people moved, in a party atmosphere, to the Dam.
Changing of the German soldiers guarding the Dam Square, including those stationed at the ‘Grote Club’.
Members of the ‘Ordedienst’ (part of the Domestic Armed Forces) including Tonny van Rentherghem wait for the arrival of the Allied Forces at the Berlagebrug.
* This picture was possibly taken on May 8th, as van Renterghem awaited a large group of Canadians here on that day also.
British reconnaissance unit ‘Polar Bears’ on the Dam. The three armoured Humber personnel carrier vehicles are covered with partying citizens. The British find the situation explosive. They cannot get in contact with headquarters and therefore depart via ‘het Rokin’ in the direction of the Berlagebrug. See also: ‘t Lichtspoor.
Operation ‘Three Castles’ takes place on the ‘Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal. The Money Office, Post Office and the Royal Palace are taken over from the Germans by a unit of the Domestic Armed Forces, led by H.A.L. Trampusch. Captured Germans are brought to the Palace.
Arrest of two Germans on the corner of Paleisstraat/Spuistraat. See also photo of Mr Coesel. The two Germans were also taken to the Palace.
Around this time a German soldier was gunned down near the Paleisstraat or the Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal.
Shots are fired from the ‘Grote Club’. People are desperate, trying to find cover behind the posts of the streetlights. Girl left (Tiny van der Hoek) walks angrily towards the ‘Grote Club’ because her ice-cream has fallen on the ground.
On the other side of the Dam people are looking for cover behind barrel organ ‘t Snotneusje’ and a small truck.
During the shooting victims are helped by first-aiders and scouts.
Some of the dead are placed at the corner of Nieuwendijk; later most of the dead are brought to the Zuiderkerk church.
Victims are also found in the alley ways behind the Dam.
Members of the Domestic Armed Forces and a German officer are trying to stop the shooting.
Wounded are carried away to the hospital (Binnengasthuis) in a variety of vehicles, including carrier tricycles.
Around 17:00 hours the shooting had stopped. However shooting also took place at the Central Station, between several troops of Germans and the Domestic Armed Forces. This cost the life of Sergeant Jan de Jongh. He, together with Overhoff and Hauptman Bergmann, had also played a role in trying to stop the shooting at the Dam.
During the shooting at the Dam that day 26 people lost their lives, not counting the losses sustained by the Germans. Five more people died later of gunshot wounds. The last known victim died on June 22nd 1945. See also the list of victims.
Afterwards there was an urgent call for an investigation. Despite this there has never been any serious investigation into the cause, the perpetrators and the victims. On this website we try to let as many witnesses as possible tell their story and bring facts forward; but we especially try to give the victims a name and a face.
7 Mei 1947
Two years after the shooting a plaque was unveiled at the corner of the Dam, Paleisstraat and Kalverstraat. This happened in the presence of Bep Vink, who was one of the nurses at the Dam. The plaque is still there, but it doesn’t contain the names of the victims.
*Times mentioned are approximate