AMSTERDAM (JTA) — Eighty years ago on Thursday, this city was silent. The soft bell chimes of the ubiquitous trams, the main mode of local transportation and a constant presence to this day, were conspicuously absent.
It was the start of a consequential yet often-overlooked milestone of the Holocaust: the February Strike.
On Feb. 25, 1941, at least 100,000 Dutchmen stopped working to protest the Nazis’ persecution of Jews, bringing the economy to a halt for days. Although it was soon broken and German authorities retaliated with even more violence, it galvanized the Dutch resistance and became a lasting symbol of it. Today it is known as the first and largest act of civilian insurrection over the treatment of Jews during the Holocaust.