Holland’s National Holocaust Museum is presenting the stories of two people closely involved with identity cards introduced by the Nazis in the Netherlands during World War II.
From 1941 onwards, Dutch nationals were required to carry identity cards which identified Jews with a black capital letter “J” on both sides.
Jacob Lentz (1894-1963), a Dutch official at the Interior Ministry, became obsessed with developing technically advanced identity cards . The German occupiers eagerly helped him perfect his system. He also set up a central registry of identity cards, so that it was easy to check whether a card was genuine.
Opposing him was Alice Cohn (1914-2000), a German Jewish graphic artist who had fled to the Netherlands in 1936 and forged cards for the Dutch resistance, saving the lives of up to 350 Jewish children.
The exhibition includes her personal archive, dozens of test cards, forged documents, falsely stamped papers, tools, and blank identity cards.