JE MAINTIENDRAI: With Thanks from All Readers

Je Maintiendrai was one of the top five underground periodicals in Holland during the German occupation, according to a book on that subject by Werner Warmbrunn. The French phrase Je Maintiendrai means “I will maintain,” which is the motto of the House of Nassau (the royal family in the Netherlands). The main lettering just below where it says “Je Maintiendrai” on this sheet, which I discovered in the box I got from my grandmother’s house, translates to “With Thanks from All Readers,” according to Google Translate.

Warmbrunn’s “The Dutch, under German Occupation, 1940-1945” talks more about the paper’s history:

“After May 1943 the editorial board of Je Maintiendrai was largely made up of people who have been active in the Netherlands Union or sympathetic to its political concepts. Some of the collaborators were Catholics, but on the whole Je Maintiendrai included a diverse group of people, Protestants, Catholics, and ‘humanists,’ who worked together in harmony…

“The paper suffered two major blows. A number of distributors were arrested in July 1943, but the most important of these were freed from prison. In August 1944, however, the Germans managed to seize two of the founders and key editors. These men were executed in October.”

Of the many names mentioned, I believe N. Siersema was my Opa, Johan Nico Siersema, who was a Dutch Resistance fighter and soldier in the Army, and M. Siersema-Van Erp would have been his step-mother, Maria Wilhelmina.

The original sheet is not in great shape and I spent about an hour working with Photoshop to try to restore the edges for this digital copy. Some parts, I think you can tell, but I tried my best, because I think it’s pretty cool to see a bit of journalism history and my family history intertwine. I especially like the images of people passing the papers from door to door.