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Joop and Jaap Wolff, no 2 en 3 in the CPN

Paul de Groot ranks as the number 1 leader in the history of the Dutch Communist Party. The brothers Joop and Jaap Wolff no doubt might claim to be numbers 2 and 3. Accruals to the archives for both Joop and Jaap have recently arrived at the IISH.

Jaap Wolff (1923-2012) was a very influential omnipresent party official, secretary to Paul de Groot, director of the communist daily De Waarheid (The Truth) and the Political  Research Bureau IPSO.

Joop Wolff (1927-2007) was widely known as a member of Parliament (1967-1981). He was considered the spokesman of the resistance during World War II, which  gave him access to the inner circles of Prince Bernhard. He was very proud of this royal acquaintance (inventory numbers 13-18).
In 1977, when the popularity of the CPN was rock bottom, Joop Wolff developed the protest against the American neutron bomb, one of the most successful peace actions in Dutch history. This protest had a broad national response (1.1 million people signed the petition in 1978), and  was also linked with the Russian and East German communist parties. These groups also contributed financially, as documents in the archive unmistakably prove. In the recent past various publications hinted at such connections, but they were vigorously denied by the former secretary of the Committee to Stop the Neutron Bomb, an adherent of the CPN. (Joop Wolff, inventory numbers 52 and 150)

File number 176 contains the minutes of Joop Wolff’s meeting with Hermann Axen, representative of the Politburo of the Sozialistische Einheitspartei Deutschlands (SED) on November 22 and 23, 1977. Wolff asked for financial and moral support, and Axen pledged his word to this the next day. Wolff also referred to an earlier meeting of the CP leadership in Moscow discussing the anti-neutron bomb activities.
The history of the anti-nuclear protests and foreign policy of the CPN may be traced at length in  another recent accession: the papers of Jan de Boo (* 1934), who was the specialist in foreign affairs for more than thirty years until the liquidation of the CPN in 1991. He wrote his memoirs, and they can be found on line together with the inventory of his archive.

*Among others:  C. Horstmeier, “Stop de Neutronenbom! The last mass-action of the CPN and the Moscow-Berlin-Amsterdam triangle” in: Around Peter the Great (Groningen 1997) 65-91. Horstmeier estimated the contribution of the foreign CPs at 140,000 guilders (partly “in natura”), and the total cost at 250,000 guilders (1978). This was taken up by Beatrice de Graaf, Over de Muur. De DDR, de Nederlandse kerken en de vredesbeweging (Amsterdam 2004) 90-91.

11 June 2013