c a s o o r t h u y s
The “First Task Was To Bear Witness”
140. (OORTHUYS, Cas). Amsterdam tijdens de hongerwinter [Amsterdam during the ‘Hungerwinter’]. Amsterdam, 1947. Large quarto, original half black cloth, dust jacket. $5200.
First edition, a landmark photobook of “extreme hardship… resilience and resistance” (Parr & Badger), with over 140 black-and-white photogravures, many secretly taken by leading members of the Dutch Underground Camera Group—as Oorthuys, Emmy Andriesse and Krun Taconis—ocumenting Holland under the Nazis, in very scarce,unrestored dust jacket.
Published only two years after Holland’s liberation from the Nazis, “this is not simply a book remembering and commemorating Amsterdam’s dreadful winter of 1944-45, but also a political rallying cry for the future… The story told is of extreme hardship—unger, poverty and cold. People stand in food queues or search desperately for firewood, while others lie dead or dying in the streets But Amsterdam also showed resilience and resistance… It was a landmark publication by a group of photographers with both an ethical and an aesthetic attitude.” Leading photojournalists such as Cas Oorthuys, Emmy Andriesse, Krun Taconis, and others who formed the Underground Camera Group, made these images at great risk, each understanding that Amsterdam’s “first task was to bear witness.” As the journalist Max Nord wrote in the book’s introduction, “Was it not in those times that we dreamed our most beautiful dreams?… While uniformed Germans marched along Amsterdam’s canals, their clipped songs resounding past the overcrowded prisons, we had a clear vision of the most perfect freedom” (Parr & Badger, 196). Text in Dutch. Introductory essay by Max Nord. With extremely scarce photographic dust jacket printed on verso, typical of such postwar publications. Book fine; some chipping to spine ends, closed tears along spine seam, minor tape repair to verso of very good, unrestored dust jacket. Rare.
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