Corrie ten Boom and national ID cards

Discussions on every day life in the Weimar Republic, pre-anschluss Austria, Third Reich and the occupied territories. Hosted by Vikki.
User avatar
Posts: 7
Joined: 14 Sep 2022 20:25
Location: USA

Corrie ten Boom and national ID cards

Post by Pickle » 23 Sep 2022 21:45

In her book The Hiding Place, Corrie ten Boom recalls that after the Nazis invaded and occupied her country (Netherlands), they required everyone to have and carry an identity card. Corrie says that the local population viewed this requirement as a severe infringement on freedom and privacy. (I don’t have the book, so unfortunately I can’t provide an exact quote.)

In the 1940's, it would seem that Corrie's attitude was shared by many on the other side of the Pond. For example, Forrest Linder, a United States census staffer, said in 1942, “Traditional American thinking regarding freedom of action and thought might consider a mandatory identification register as an infringement of that liberty and the beginning of an American ‘gestapo.’ The political implications or effects of a compulsory identity registration might be considerable.” A government report added that national ID would enable "control of civilian population movement such as the removal of the Japanese from restricted areas... or the right of the individual to travel about the country." (Quoted by Margo Anderson, “Public Management of Big Data: Historical Lessons from the 1940s,”

ID cards and/or internal passports are a subject of interest to me, especially how such things have historically (including but not limited to WW2 and the Third Reich) been perceived by the general population and how they have impacted privacy and freedom of thought and movement. If anyone has resources to share—particularly primary sources and personal stories—please do.

Return to “Life in the Third Reich & Weimar Republic”