After the Second World War, around 200,000 Dutch citizens were arrested for collaborating with the enemy. Most were soon released into a society in which they could fully participate, and even have great careers. Anton Mussert, the leader of the Dutch Nazi Party or NSB, was sentenced to death.
An archeology of fascism in the Netherlands, this richly illustrated historical documentary investigates the mechanism of nationalist feelings that radicalize. It shows how fascism was on the rise even a decade before the founding of the NSB, due to a number of anti-democratic initiatives led by a millionaire with a predilection for one-legged women, a market vendor, a cleric, and an artist. Historians, writers and collectors of fascist curios reveal how an initially marginal and fragmented movement grew into a radical populist party.
The film opens with an audio recording of market vendor and fascist leader Jan Baars, over a magnificent aerial scene of a misty river landscape, in which he describes how he addressed a “herd” of voters. It was the fire of his words that stirred the masses—his message was entirely unimportant.