Rare pre-war colour footage shows murdered resistance leader from Friesland

A still from the footage
A still from the footage

A piece of rare colour film footage from 1939 has emerged showing volunteers on the lookout for enemy planes during a training exercise in Sneek in Friesland.

The images came to light when the Scheepvaartmuseum Sneek was collecting material for an exhibition on the liberation of the town on April 15 1945.

One of the men in the footage is Hendrik Jakob Lever, leader of a local resistance group. Lever died in concentration camp Dachau in Germany on March 8 1945 after having been caught during a Nazi raid in 1943.

The museum said the images were of ‘great historical value’. ‘It’s a very rare that amateur footage was shot in colour. There were very few people before the war who could afford colour film,’ a museum spokesman said. It also gives us an insight into the goings on at the observer corps.’

The observer corps was made up of volunteers and the film shows the atmosphere among the men was ‘rather jolly, with tea and biscuits and lots and lots of cigarettes,’ the museum said, an image confirmed by an entry in the diary of one of the volunteers.

‘It was great fun up on the roof, with tea and biscuits and cigar smoke rings rising up into the air but we were getting a bit more nervous as the hour approached when we could expect the noise of a plane,’ the entry reads.

The film was made by Gerrit Krommendijk, a printer from Sneek, possibly at the request of Koos Flach, another printer, who can be seen driving his convertible to the observation post.

The film has stayed in the Flach family and had been lent to the the museum for the duration of the exhibition which, because of coronavirus has been cancelled. It was however, presented on Wednesday during a lecture which could be attended online, local broadcaster Omrop Fryslân said.

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