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Ajax, the Dutch, the War: Football in Europe…

Ajax, the Dutch, the War: Football in Europe During the Second World War

by Simon Kuper

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English (2)  Dutch (1)  All languages (3)
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In this “sort of alternative history of WWII” Simon Kuper tells how the Dutch, despite having “welcomed Jews across the centuries, never showing the slightest impulse to kill them,” didn’t stand up to the Nazis with the gusto that has been widely believed.

Nazi Germany used sports, soccer in particular, to gain acceptance with other European nations in the years before WWII. When the war and occupation came, the “honest, competent, and law-abiding” Dutch were exploited by the Nazis and tricked into “deporting the Jews.”

Ajax in particular is considered by many in the Netherlands, and outside, to be a Jewish team. Despite evidence to the contrary, most Israelis love Holland and still believe the Dutch were “goed” in the war and did all they could to resist the Nazis and help Jews. Johan Cruijff is regarded as an “honorary Israeli.”

Kuper provides a rare and detailed look into football and WWII history in Ajax, The Dutch, The War. ( )
  Hagelstein | Feb 12, 2013 |
Insightful perspective of Dutch football during World War II, although at times it reads more like a history book than anything else. ( )
  sarabella | Feb 26, 2006 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0752842749, Paperback)

In FOOTBALL AGAINST THE ENEMY Simon Kuper crossed the globe in search of the links between football, politics and culture. In AJAX, THE DUTCH, THE WAR he skilfully pieces together an alternative account of World War II. He looks at the lives of the footballers who played for the Dutch club, the officials and the ordinary fans during this tumultuous period and challenges the accepted notion of the War in occupied Europe. With almost 80 per cent of Amsterdam's Jewish Corner wiped out during the war, the long-held belief that, by and large, half the Dutch population had some kind of link to the Resistance has, of late, come into question. Kuper explores this issue and looks deeper into the role of football across Europe in the years both preceding and following the War. The result is a compelling and controversial account of the War, seen through the lens of football.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:08:15 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

" ... explores the myths of Holland's "Good War" -- the brave nation that hid Anne Frank from the Nazis -- by using the story of soccer in Holland and the Amsterdam club Ajax to puncture the tales that post-war Holland lived by. Through interviews with Resistance fighters, survivors, wartime soccer players and more, Kuper uncovers a history that has been largely ignored. Ranging far beyond the Netherlands and examining the stories of soccer and war in England, Germany and France, Kuper writes an alternative history of Europe at its darkest hour. He helps change the way we understand ordinary people's experience of the war in Europe"--Back cover.… (more)

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