The process of humiliation and isolation of the Jews started in the autumn of 1940 when twelve Nijmegen Jews were dismissed from the civil service. The occupying forces then issued a series of minor and major discriminating measures, culminating in the deportation of Jews, which started in the autumn of 1942. The largest razzias took place on October 2 and during the night of November 17, 1942. Over a hundred Jews were arrested. The Nijmegen police force had a few notorious collaborators in its midst and there is no doubt that some Nijmegen citizens gruesomely betrayed their fellow citizens.
The plain walls of the beautiful synagogue on Gerard Noodtstraat were violated in 1941 by a daubed swastika and abusive slogans, obvious signs of serious anti-Semitism. By January 1 1943 most Nijmegen Jews had been deported. As few as ninety Nijmegen Jews survived the war, of which only thirteen returned from the death camps after 1945. Remarkably there has been very little published covering the exact facts of the holocaust in Nijmegen, almost as if the city is still embarrassed about this black page in its history. During the first couple of years of the war, resistance took place in Nijmegen. The newspaper ‘De Gelderlander’ and the public reading room stood firm when they were threatened by being run by the national-socialists. The teachers at De Klokkenberg primary school did the same by refusing to send Jewish children home. The Senate of the Catholic University of Nijmegen refused on principle to make students sign a declaration of loyalty to the occupying forces. This led to the closing of the university in April 1943 as an act of self-preservation with most students having to live in hiding.
The war increasingly affected everyday life – Jewish deportation, measures against students and forced labour. This all caused the resistance to grow stronger. In Nijmegen, groups such as the Poelen, Hogerhand, Natura, Oranjewacht, the Pandoerenclub and Fredericks were formed. On July 8, 1943 the Nijmegen Chief of Police A.J.M. van Dijk, a known collaborator, was shot in broad daylight by Henk Romeyn, a courier for the Dutch Secret Service. Van Dijk died from his injuries and Romeyn was executed by the Germans.In the last phase of the war the spread of illegal reading matter increased. Magazines such as, Trouw, De Geus (an underground student paper), the communist De Waarheid, Je Maintiendrai and Christofoor all found their way to their readers via illegal groups.