JMB Journal 26: Het Onder­water Cabaret

Curt Bloch (1908–1975), a lawyer from Dortmund, emigrated to the Netherlands in 1933 and went into hiding in Enschede in 1942. While in hiding, he created the magazine Het Onderwater-Cabaret (The Underwater Cabaret), for which he was the author, editor, and graphic artist. Between August 1943 and April 1945, he produced ninety-five handwritten issues as small-format booklets, approx. 13.5 x 10.5 cm in size.

In 483 poems written in Dutch and German, Bloch dealt with the Second World War, the crimes of the Nazis and their collaborators, his situation in hiding, and the fate of his family. With biting irony and sardonic humor, he exposed the Nazi propaganda and described the egregious horrors of the fascist atrocities. Bloch selected one poem from each issue and illustrated it on the cover as a collage or photo montage. Despite the depressing situation in hiding and the constant danger of being discovered, Curt Bloch managed to produce a unique literary and artistic work. Het Onderwater-Cabaret (OWC) is a powerful testimony of creative resistance to war, disinformation, and persecution.

Unlike the poets who enthrall,

Who put you in a drunken trance,

I aim to shake you sober here,

I hope you will not take offense!

And if my scornful sermon works,

If you admit the old mistakes,

Then I will feel indemnified,

Take pleasure in a job well done.

Excerpt from: “To My German Readers”
Het Onderwater-Cabaret, 3 June 1944

Translated by Jake Schneider

Magazine cover with collage of a person reading a magazine and inscription: JMB Journal special edition.

Cover JMB Journal 26, theme: Curt Bloch, Het Onderwater Cabaret, magazine cover from 18.12.1943


  • JMB Journal 26, special edition on the occasion of the exhibition “My Verses are Like Dynamite” Curt Bloch's Het Onderwater Cabaret
    100 pages including many images
    Berlin 2024
    ISSN: 2195-7002
  • Editors Jewish Museum Berlin
  • With contributions by Julia Friedrich, Simone Bloch, Aubrey Pomerance, Ulrike Kuschel, Kerstin Schoor, Saskia Schreuder, Thilo von Debschitz, Jeroen Dewulf, Christine Kausch and Gerard Groeneveld
  • Price 5 €

You can order this publication by contacting

JMB Publications

Collage in gray-blue on an orange background with a blue zigzag line: the head of a man in a diving bell, his hand holding a hose, next to it a manometer.

Exhibition “My Verses are Like Dynamite” Curt Bloch’s Het Onderwater Cabaret: Features & Programs

Exhibition Webpage
“My Verses are Like Dynamite” Curt Bloch’s Het Onderwater Cabaret: 9 Feb to 26 May 2024
Accompanying Events
Tour of the Exhibition “My Verses are Like Dynamite” Curt Bloch’s Het Onderwater Cabaret: Dates by arrangement (from 9 Feb to 26 May 2024)
Exhibition Opening: 8 Feb 2024
Curator Tour for FRIENDS OF THE JMB: 8 Apr 2024, in German
Joodse Vluchtelingen: The Fate of German-Jewish Émigrés in the Netherlands: 3 Mar 2024, in German
Archival Objects of German Jews in the Netherlands: Show & tell for FRIENDS OF THE JMB, 7 Mar 2024, in German
Het Onderwater Cabaret Live. An evening of music and poetry: 11 Apr 2024, in German
Hidden in Enschede: Conversation with Contemporary Witness Herbert Zwartz: 16 Apr 2024, in German
Current page: JMB Journal 26: Het Onderwater Cabaret: Special edition on the occasion of the exhibition
Digital Content
OWC Online Feature: A Glimpse Behind the Scenes of the Exhibition
Life and Work of Curt Bloch: Essay with biographical insights, JMB Journal 26
On the Piano of My Fantasy – Video with Marina Frenk, Richard Gonlag, and Mathias Schäfer, in German, Dutch and German Sign Language
“It’s Complicated”: A text by Simone Bloch, daughter of Curt Bloch
“Ik neurie mee ’t propellerlied…”: Essay on Het Onderwater-Cabaret: A Testament to Political Resistance in the Occupied Netherlands, 1943–45
Clandestine Literature in the Netherlands 1940–1945: Essay, JMB Journal 26
All Audio Pieces of the Exhibition with Transcriptions and Translations
All issues of Het Onderwarter-Cabaret: All 95 issues to browse
See also
Survivors in Hiding (National Socialism)
To the Web Project

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