The Big Flood of 1953 photographed > The photographers

Not much is known about the photographs made by Ed van der Elsken, Aart Klein, Dolf Kruger, Kees Molkenboer, Cas Oorthuys and Ed van Wijk. The photographers or their heirs were seldom able to clarify the photographs, and documentation about the photo reports has rarely survived.

Ed van der Elsken was photographing young people in Paris during this period, for his book Een liefdesgeschiedenis in Saint Germain des Prés (A Love Story in Saint Germain des Prés, 1956). Compared to the work he did in Paris, the photographs of the disaster seem to come from a different world. They have rarely been published after the event, except for the nine photo's included in De ramp (The Disaster).

Dolf Kruger was in the province of Zeeland in February 1953 and he returned in 1954 and 1958 to document the repair works. In February 1953 he took photographs in Dreischor,  Kerkwerwe, Renesse and Zierikzee. He was also in St. Annaland, Stavenisse (Tholen), St. Philipsland, Yerseke (Zuid-Beveland), Strijen, Voorne Putten (Zuid-Holland) and Heiningen (Noord-Brabant).

The struggle against the water is the connecting theme in Aart Klein's oeuvre. In 1963 the book Delta. Poort van Europa (Delta. Gateway to Europe) appeared, four years later followed by Delta. Stromenland in beweging (Delta. Land of Streams in Motion), with some photographs of the Big Flood by way of introduction. Aart Klein was present in February 1953, together with his Particam colleagues. Particam was a photographer's collective, established after the Second World War by Aart Klein, Maria Austria, Henk Jonker and Wim Zilver Rupe. The negatives of the last three photographers are now administrated by the Maria Austria Institute in Amsterdam.

Some of the photographs Kees Molkenboer made of the consequences of the flood disaster appeared in Rotterdamsch Nieuwsblad on 1 and 2 February 1953. Molkenboer photographed amongst others the evacuee's emergency accommodation in the Ahoy Hall in Rotterdam. He was also on the island of Voorne and captured the consequences of the disaster in Abbenbroek, Rhoon, Ridderkerk, Rozenburg and Zierikzee.

Cas Oorthuys was in the province of Zeeland in the period until 20 February. He was amongst others in Hellevoetsluis, probably in the company of officers of Rijkswaterstaat (Department of Waterways).

Ed van Wijk heard the news about the flood disaster on the radio and subsequently left for Zeeland on motorbike, together with the photographer Han Schimmelpenningh (1895-1972). According to Mrs van Wijk he only stayed one day, but that is unlikely because the photograph of Mrs Zoeteman was taken on 4 February. Ed van Wijk was in Bergen op Zoom, ’s-Gravendeel, Middelharnis and Ossendrecht.

Examples from this collection The Big Flood of 1953 photographed

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