Unbroken resistance (1965) Hubert van Lith

Otto Snoek
About the artwork

Only twenty years after the war on 4 in May 1965, this resistance monument at the head of the Westersingel was unveiled by Prince Bernhard. This initiative of the Rotterdam Resistance Monument Foundation seemed to conflict for a while with other plans to build a similar monument in the city. Those plans were unsuccessful, but in the meantime a discussion raged for years about who exactly should be dedicated to this monument: only the illegal resistance? Or to all the fallen? Eventually mayor Van Walsum installed the Rotterdam Resistance Monument Foundation to have a tribute made for both groups. This foundation commissioned sculptor Hubert van Lith to make a large monument. It had to refer to the nature and motives of the resistance during the war years, but also to the fate of all fallen. This complicated assignment led to a male figure, who looks up with his head held high. Van Lith shows someone who is clearly 'unbroken'. The base also has the word 'unbroken' in larger letters than 'resistance 1940 - 1945'. Because if the words 'resistance' were depicted too large, that would not have done justice to the people of Rotterdam in general. Many war monuments in the Netherlands consist of a human figure that radiates courage and / or vulnerability. Some of those images are very popular, though Unbroken resistance on the Westersingel was not well received. This is related to the many struggles that preceded the choice for this tribute. The statue is beautiful at its location and forms the unofficial start of the sculpture route on the Westersingel. Despite the official commemorative ceremonies being held on Stadhuisplein, many wreaths are placed every year at this statue and at this location.

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About the artist

Hubert van Lith (Amsterdam, 1908 - 1977) made figurative work with subjects mainly workers, portraits, female figures and polder workers. He was a painter, graphic artist, draftsman, but especially medalist and sculptor. After the Second World War he made several war monuments. In 1931 he won the Prix de Florence and in 1960 the gold Arti medal.

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