Photolexicon, Volume 8, nr. 16 (September 1991) (en)

Charles Breijer

Marga Altena


The photographer and filmmaker Charles Breijer has always felt that he was more of an artisan than an artist. In his work, journalistic and informative values were foremost in importance. The best-known aspects of his oeuvre are the photos that he took during the Second World War. Breijer was one of a number of Dutch photographers known for their illegal work during the war, later referred to as ‘De Ondergedoken Camera’ (‘The Illegal Camera’). As a photographer and filmmaker, Breijer worked from 1947 to 1953 in Indonesia, where he documented everyday life during the period of the police actions, and thereafter, the building of the young republic. Although Breijer was chiefly involved with the film industry after his time in Indonesia, he continued with photography as a personal hobby.




Charles Breijer is born in The Hague on 26 November as the son of Charles Jean Baptist Breijer, furniture draughtsman by profession, and Grietje van der Hoeven. The couple later has two other children: Leo (born 14 November 1917) en Willy (born 12 May 1930).


In 1917, the family moves to Amsterdam, where Breijer Sr. is hired as the salaried director of his union, the ‘Algemene Nederlandse Bond van Opzichters en Tekenaars’ (‘General Dutch Federation of Construction Supervisors and Draughtsman’, NVV). In 1918, both father and mother become members of the SDAP (Sociaal Democratische Arbeiders Partij, ‘Social Democratic Workers Party’).


Following his forced resignation, Breijer Sr. purchases a bookstore with the benefit payment he receives, a business that nevertheless closes in 1927. He next finds work as a draughtsman in the ship construction industry. A period of alternating employment and unemployment follows.


As a result of the Depression, Charles Breijer Jr. fails to complete his secondary school studies and becomes a darkroom assistant at the ‘Lichtbeeldeninstituut’ (‘Lantern Plate Institute’) in Amsterdam. In 1934 he is drafted into military service for a half-year, thereby losing his job.


In early 1935, Breijer starts working at the Nederlandsche Film Associatie ‘Visie’ (Netherlands Film Association ‘Vision’) initially as a jack-of-all-trades, but later as a film lab technician and camera assistant. Visie was established in 1932 by three former employees of the Polygoon cinema newsreel company in Haarlem: Max de Haas, Jo de Haas, and Ab Keijzer.


Breijer leaves Visie due to a salary conflict. He works for nine months as an errand boy and lab technician at the Ontwikkelcentrale Post (‘Post Developing Centre’) in Diemen.


Charles Breijer enters employment at the publishing company De Arbeiderspers on 15 March. He starts out as a photo lab technician, but is able to work as a photographer almost immediately. He makes photo reportages for Wij and Het Volk. At De Arbeiderspers, Breijer meets Cas Oorthuys. Oorthuys and his friends at the BKVK (Bond van Kunstenaars ter Verdediging van de Kulturele rechten, ‘Federation of Artists in Defense of Cultural Rights’) are busy making preparations for the exhibition Foto ’37, to be held at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. Though Breijer does not become a member of the BKVK, he assists in making the enlargements and mounting the photos for the exhibit. At this time, Breijer also meets Sem Presser.


From August 1939 to May 1940, Breijer is stationed as an infantryman at Hoevelaken along the Grebbe Line. Following demobilisation, he returns to De Arbeiderspers. By declaring himself as ‘irreplaceable’, he is able to continue working during the German occupation, thereby avoiding the ‘Arbeitseinsatz’ (forced labour deployment).


On 30 April, Charles Breijer marries Christina Hendrika (Stien) de Jong, born 17 October 1919 in Amsterdam. The couple moves to a home at Schinkelkade 27-III in Amsterdam. In the following years, two daughters are born: Carla (7 February 1942) and Tineke (17 December 1943). From an early stage in the war, Breijer photographs the repercussions of the occupation. He takes photos of Anjerdag (‘Carnation Day’), the Jewish riots in Amsterdam and the Artsenverzet (‘Doctors’ Resistance’). In addition, he takes passport photos of individuals in hiding to be used for producing forged identity papers. At Oorthuys’ request, the Breijer family stores weapons for the resistance group Guermonprez.


In order to work as an underground photojournalist, Breijer is in need of a cover. For this reason, he registers with the Persgilde (‘Press Guild’).


In September 1944, Breijer is required to be on call for the ‘Ordedienst van de Binnenlandse Strijdkrachten’ (‘Public Order Department of the Domestic Armed Forces’). During the last winter of the war, he and several retired military personnel receive training instructions using weapons airdropped by the English. Breijer photographs this training. In December 1944, Breijer comes into contact with Tony van Renterghem and Fritz Kahlenberg. They set up a coordinated organisation called ‘Nederland Archief’ (‘Netherlands Archive’), which brings together photographers previously working on an independent basis under illegal circumstances.


Breijer is involved in the raid on the garage of the Wehrmacht (the German armed forces) on the Overtoom in Amsterdam, carried out by the resistance group STANZ, to which he belongs. During this raid, weapons are seized for the Dutch resistance. Breijer takes photos of this. In the direct aftermath of the liberation, the organizers of ‘Nederland Archief’ put together an exhibition bearing the name De Ondergedoken Camera (‘The Illegal Camera’). The exhibition was held at Marius Meijboom’s studio on the Keizersgracht in Amsterdam. Breijer’s photos are also shown at the exhibition. Up until October, Breijer is working once again at De Arbeiderspers, but fails to get along with his new boss, Rau. He is offered a position at ANeFo (Algemeen Nederlandsch Fotoburo, ‘General Netherlands Photo Bureau’)—the photo agency of the provisional Dutch government—by its director, Fritz Kahlenberg. Breijer works there for ten months.


Following ANeFo’s privatisation, Breijer resigns on 31 July. Hereafter, he works from his house on the Westlandgracht in Amsterdam as a freelance photographer. Acknowledged as a professional, he is able to choose from among various assignments offered to him. He makes photo reportages for illustrated magazines and for the Ministry of Reconstruction. Together with Sem Presser, he also makes a reportage on the ‘Rode Valkenfeest’ (‘Red Falcon Festival’), held by the Arbeiders Jeugd Centrale (‘Workers Youth League’) in Amsterdam for the first time since the end of the war.


On 10 February, Charles Breijer arrives in the Dutch East Indies, where he starts working (in part because of his experience at ‘Visie’) for Multifilm Batavia, the film company of the Dutch East Indian government. He is hired as an assistant cameraman, but is initially responsible for editing and archival work. After two months, Breijer is assigned to do camerawork and news acquisition for the film newsreel Wordende Wereld. After eight months of separation, Breijer’s wife and children also arrive in the Dutch East Indies. In addition to his film work, Breijer continues to photograph: partially for his own use, but also for local illustrated magazines, such as Oriëntatie (‘Orientation’) and a magazine for the Department of Economic Affairs. Charles Breijer directs films with sociocultural themes, including a number of documentaries on the lives of Dutch soldiers in the Dutch East Indies.


During the second police action, Breijer is embedded in an army unit as a filmmaker. He does not film any combat. During Breijer’s time in the Dutch East Indies, his friend Cees Verweij manages his archive back in the Netherlands. Verweij is probably the person responsible for submitting Breijer’s photos to the exhibition Foto ’48, held at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam.


Breijer accompanies a Red Cross team to the southern coast of Java. He also films the visit made by several American journalists to meet with the imprisoned leaders of the Indonesian Republic on the island Bangka, including Sukarno and Hatta. Following the transfer of sovereignty in the autumn, Breijer accompanies Sukarno during a trip around East Java. He is asked to be present at Sukarno’s state visits to India, Pakistan and Burma. From this, Breijer is offered a contract by the Indonesian government, which is to take effect as soon as his contract with the Dutch East Indian government expires.


In February, Breijer travels to the Netherlands on temporary leave. He works for five months as a reportage photographer for the ABC Press Service, with Imre Rona as its director. In August, Breijer departs once again for Indonesia. He now works for the Indonesian Ministry of Information Services and is involved in the training of young filmmakers. He also assists in the making of feature films and documentaries. Just as in his early years in Indonesia, Breijer continues to photograph alongside his regular work.


Upon his return to the Netherlands, Breijer works again for De Arbeiderspers from October to the end of December.


Breijer starts a new job on 1 January at Multifilm in Haarlem. Multifilm makes films on commission for the government, Philips and Shell. Breijer works as a cameraman on film reportages for television news. In addition, he makes approximately thirty informational films, with the film direction and production work under his charge. Commissioned by the Ministry of Transport, Public Works and Water Management, he produces a series of films on the Delta Works, and for Philips, films about television tubes, microcircuits and the construction of a communication network for the Nationale Oliemaatschappij (‘National Oil Company’) in Iran, among other projects. In addition, Breijer makes documentary productions in which he does some of the camerawork himself. He also works as a cameraman for documentaries and short feature films at the request of fellow colleagues.


Breijer retires at the end of November.


Charles Breijer dies on 18 August in the city where he resides, Hilversum, at the age of 96.


Charles Breijer’s father was an amateur photographer. He taught his son the basic principles of photographic technique in the darkroom. Besides his lessons in composition, he introduced Charles Jr. to the New Photography movement emerging at the time. It was thanks to Charles Breijer Sr. that Paul Schuitema and Piet Zwart presented lectures for the AAFV (Amsterdamse Amateur Fotografen Vereniging, ‘Amsterdam Amateur Photographers Association’), which the young Charles also attended. Like his father, he became a member of the AAFV and participated in competitions with success. As a member of the AJC (Arbeiders Jeugd Centrale, ‘Workers Youth League’), Breijer was familiar with the New Photography through magazines such as the Arbeiter Illustrierte (‘Workers Pictorial Newspaper’).

Experimenting with design elements of the New Photography, he was able to achieve pleasing results. Breijer chose unusual camera angles and made photomontages and photos with diagonal compositions that emphasised the structure. He combined this new movement with the shooting of traditional pictorial landscape photos with no difficulty. The fine printing processes (‘edeldrukprocedés’) that were frequently applied in amateur circles, however, held no appeal for Breijer.

Around 1930, Russian films were gaining interest. Breijer attempted to adopt motifs taken from these films for his own photos. His introduction to the work of Joris Ivens also made a deep impression. At the Lichtbeeldeninstituut (‘Lantern Plate Institute’) in Amsterdam, where Breijer worked in the darkroom as a student photographer, he received instruction from the head photographer, Van de Hoek Ostende, and ‘first’ photographer, Herman Veldman. Following this, he perfected his technical knowledge as a lab technician and camera assistant working respectively for the company Visie (‘Vision’), and the Ontwikkelcentrale Post (‘Post Developing Center’) in Diemen. He began his career as a professional photographer at the social-democratic publishing company De Arbeiderspers.

Breijer was initially hired as a photo lab technician. As an amateur photographer, a number of his photos had already been published by this time in magazines such as Focus and Filmliga (‘Film League’). It was the head of the photo department, Van der Vlis, who gave Breijer his first chance as a photographer at De Arbeiderspers. He was allowed to shoot photos and do reportages for various publications, including the daily newspaper Het Volk (‘The People’) and the weekly Wij. Ons werk ons leven (‘We. Our Work, Our Life’), a magazine with a modern design and substantial space devoted to photography and photomontages as determined by its photo and layout editor, Nico de Haas. It was at De Arbeiderspers that Breijer became friends with Cas Oorthuys, from whom he learned a great deal. For Breijer, Oorthuys was ‘a tremendous role model as well as a true friend’. They discussed work often, with Oorthuys encouraging Breijer to experiment. There was plenty of opportunity for this at De Arbeiderspers. In mutual consultation, the editors, journalists, and photographers decided on subjects for the reportages: it was an atmosphere of creative freedom that greatly appealed to Breijer, eventually leading to his photo reportage on how working-class children in the city spent their holidays.

Besides newspapers and magazine weeklies, Breijer also made series of photographs for various photobooks. In 1939, he collaborated on a book concerning the topic of career opportunities, Om het dagelijks brood (‘For the Daily Bread’), which as well featured photos by Cas Oorthuys, F.J. Griek, and others. For the Amsterdam publishing company Contact, Breijer worked on the books, Polder en waterland (‘Polder and Waterland’) and Landschap (‘Landscape’), which both appeared in 1941 as part of De Schoonheid van ons Land (‘The Beauty of our Land’), a series of books presenting a picturesque view of Dutch towns and cities.

With the advent of the German occupation in May 1940, the press was placed under censorship. Several weeks after the Dutch capitulation, a Nazi director was installed at De Arbeiderspers above the board of directors, in addition to a ‘Nazi-Hauptschriftsteller’ (Nazi ‘head writer’), above the company’s senior editorial staff. When at one point the Jewish employees were fired, a group of the editors quit their jobs. Those who remained behind tried to continue their work without abetting the Germans. In Breijer’s words: ‘For the photographers and agencies, it clearly made no sense to provide photos that would be objectionable to the Germans. From the outset, everyone participated in self-censorship’. Breijer and his colleagues made photos of ‘neutral’ daily events that could be published without creating a conflict, e.g. sports events, civic news, art and entertainment. Van der Vlis took on commercial work in order to stave off more controversial topics. That said, the German and NSB (Nationaal-Socialistische Beweging, ‘National Socialist Movement in the Netherlands) photographers demanded their right to contribute German propagandistic material. In 1942, it became increasingly difficult for Dutch photojournalists to carry on with their work: all were required to register with the so-called ‘Persgilde’ (‘Press Guild’), a department of the ‘Kultuurkamer’ (‘Chamber of Culture’). Breijer registered in order to continue with his work, but also to have a cover for his underground activities.

One of the measures introduced by the Germans was the requirement to provide a name when publicizing photos, which sometimes created painful situations. Following the German invasion, Nico de Haas—a member of the NSB—returned to De Arbeiderspers as a photo and layout editor for the magazine, Hamer (‘Hammer’), published by the Volksche Werkgemeenschap (‘People’s Cooperative’). With free access to the photo archive of De Arbeiderspers, De Haas used many of Breijer’s and Oorthuys’ photos, e.g. for an article on ‘Race and Labour’ in the 1941 midwinter edition of Hamer. It was distressing and sobering to discover that the imagery of the New Photography was so readily suitable for use as National-Socialist propaganda, when in fact it was produced from a view that was politically the opposite.

Even in the earliest years of the German occupation, Charles Breijer was out on the street photographing everyday life, with a motivation that was journalistic in nature. He produced photos of NSB soldiers on guard duty and the demolished windows of Jewish storefronts. Breijer was one of the very few to photograph the sealing off of the Jewish neighbourhood in Amsterdam. Such activities carried out against the Jews were what provoked the Februaristaking (‘February Strike’) in 1941. Breijer and Oorthuys both participated in the strike. Fairly certain that they would be forced to quit their jobs as a consequence, they took no cameras with them, as these were the property of De Arbeiderspers. Breijer would later come to realize that he had missed out on an important opportunity by not having recorded this event. What he did photograph were the anti-Jewish riots that preceded the Februaristaking, the Artsenverzet (‘Doctors’ Resistance’) and the protests on Anjerdag (‘Carnation Day’). Breijer also made passport photos of Jews in hiding for those who were in need of false identity papers.

In the final year of the war, a degree of coordination emerged in the illegal activities carried out by photographers. From within the ‘Binnenlandse Strijdkrachten’ (‘Domestic Armed Forces’), Fritz Kahlenberg, together with Tony van Renterghem, formed an organisation to pass information on to the Allies and to document the approaching liberation. An important part of this work was to photograph German strategic points in Amsterdam, e.g. weapon transports, attacks, raids (‘razzias’), assistance to Jews in hiding, and the repercussions of the food and fuel shortages. For the more dangerous missions, the photographer was given the protection of an armed member of the Binnenlandse Strijdkrachten. Various employees of De Arbeiderspers worked for this ‘Nederland Archief’ (‘Netherlands Archive’). For security reasons, the photographers knew nothing of each other’s assignments, even when close friendships were involved. At the end of 1944, Charles Breijer came into contact with Fritz Kahlenberg via an acquaintance of the ‘Ordedienst’ (‘Department of Public Order’), hereby becoming part of this group of photographers, referred to after the war as ‘De Ondergedoken Camera’ (‘The Illegal Camera’). To develop his film, Breijer used the darkroom at De Arbeiderspers. During the occupation, Breijer made no less than 260 images, some of which were taken from a camera hidden in the saddlebags of his bike. His work had the feel of journalistic photography, i.e. reporting on events and situations. Breijer focussed more on the resistance movement’s organisation rather than human emotions. As such, relatively few of his photos depict starvation (‘hunger photos’). When he did produce photos of this kind, they were usually far less confrontational than those shot by Cas Oorthuys and Emmy Andriesse. It was in Breijer’s nature to maintain a respectable distance.

At the time Breijer decided to leave for Indonesia in 1947, he was drawn by a longing for adventure. His trip was also marked by a certain streak of idealism, expressed by his desire to help with the building of an independent Indonesian state. At the time, it was no concern of his whether he went as a photographer or a film student: the pay was decent. He had acquired a short-term contract for three years with the government film company, Multifilm Batavia. This film service was established by the Dutch East Indian government’s ‘Voorlichtingsdienst’ (‘Department of Information’) shortly after the war. Its chief activity was to produce the weekly film newsreel, entitled Wordende Wereld (‘World Becoming’), intended for the Indonesian people. Focusing on everyday life and reconstruction in the colony, this newsreel was representative of the views held by Dutch people living in Indonesia. During the first ‘police action’ of 1947, the presence of the Dutch in the East Indies was portrayed as a guarantee for the return of the public order, peace, and prosperity. Cameramen were sent out with the troops, but the resulting film material was censored and sometimes modified in the editing room, making it ‘more suitable’ for public viewing. Breijer was also forced to re-edit film. He was initially called in to edit film negatives. After two months, he travelled to Surabaya for camerawork and newsgathering, in consultation with the Rijksvoorlichtingsdienst (‘Netherlands Government Information Service’). As a public civil servant, Breijer worked on assignment and did not have the ability to move freely while making reportages in those areas where a political, military, or social journalistic investigation was implied. He made several, partially re-enacted, documentaries under the title Soldaat overzee (‘Soldier Overseas’), which were also included in film newsreels shown in the Netherlands.

Looking back at the film work produced for Multifilm Batavia, Breijer has seriously questioned the ‘objectivity’ of his Indonesian films. Considering the poor access to information and the ambiguous political situation, it turns out that these films are anything but impartial. The Dutch government, on one hand, sought reconciliation with the Indonesian leaders, who were initially accused of collaborating with the enemy, and on the other hand, they went ahead and carried out police actions. More important than anything was the desire to restore authority. Breijer was there as a filmmaker, when, in 1949, fifteen prominent journalists visited the imprisoned Sukarno, Hatta, and the twenty or so other Republican leaders who were being held. A summary of this visit, filmed by Breijer, was shown around the world.

On the occasion of the transfer of sovereignty, Breijer was sent to Jakarta, because he knew it well. Following this, he was a witness to Sukarno’s entry into Surabaya and accompanied him on his trip to East Java. The presidential staff grew to know Breijer, and consequently, he gained their confidence. He was asked to accompany Sukarno during his state visits to India, Pakistan, and Burma. On the return journey, Sukarno, asked Breijer to stay in Indonesia. The newly formed Indonesian government offered him a new contract, following the cessation of the old one with the Dutch East Indian government in February 1950. After a brief absence of several months spent in the Netherlands, Breijer returned to Indonesia in August 1950, this time employed by the Ministry of Information Services for the Republic of Indonesia. His most important activities were training young Indonesians in the film profession and making feature films and documentaries. Especially in the period 1947-1949, Breijer shot many photographs. In his possession were two Rolleiflex cameras, an ample supply of film, developing boxes, and chemicals, which he had all brought with him from the Netherlands. His wife eventually followed, bringing with her part of the darkroom equipment. Particularly in the beginning, Breijer experienced numerous complications due to the fluctuating water supply and his film, which dried poorly in a humid climate. During his six years in Indonesia, he took approximately two thousand photos, sometimes commissioned by illustrated magazines in the Netherlands, but also for a number of magazines in Indonesia.

From 1954 until his retirement in 1979, Breijer shot very few photographs. Due to his position at Multifilm Haarlem, filmmaking absorbed all of his time during this period. He was involved in camera and production work, as well as film direction. Breijer made films that were entirely in line with his photographic work, with the documentary or informational aspects receiving the greatest emphasis. He worked on only a few feature films.

With the exception of his work during his early years as an amateur photographer, Breijer’s photographic archive is primarily documentary in nature. The early work includes still lifes, landscapes, cityscapes, and portraits in a traditional style. In the style of New Photography, Breijer made photomontages, architectural photos, sports photos, street scenes, and industrial photos (industrial landscapes and detail shots of industrial products). For De Arbeiderspers, he worked more in a reportage format, with images featuring the everyday life of the working class as one topic among many, in addition to landscapes, sports photos, and portrait photography. The photos that Breijer made during the war are generally journalistic in character, capturing images of the protests against the Jews, raids (razzias), as well as illegal and resistance activities on film.

Regarding the photo work made during his years in Indonesia, Breijer himself distinguishes between two periods: before and after the transfer of sovereignty. In the first period, Breijer not only photographed for his own pleasure and without any clear purpose, but he also took photos for Dutch illustrated magazines, such as Panorama and Libelle. In the second period, Breijer photographed in order to assemble a visual documentation, which he believed would some day prove to be a topic of interest in the Netherlands. He photographed all kinds of subjects: street scenes, landscapes, portraits, architecture, as well as the everyday life of the Indonesian people and the Dutch soldiers stationed there. In reality, however, the interest in these photos was limited: the Dutch weekly Elsevier was the only magazine to actually ever use a couple of these photos.

Although Breijer’s oeuvre includes beautiful photographs, information rather than aesthetics is central to his work. In the formal design of his photos, the influence of New Photography is highly evident. One finds in his work elements that were visually essential to the New Photography, e.g. diagonal lines in the composition or an unexpected angle of view. The low vantage point in his photos was in part due to the use of a Rolleiflex camera, which he held at waist level.

Breijer’s major influence was Cas Oorthuys, with the two men’s work often being parallel. Both worked for De Arbeiderspers, were part of ‘De Ondergedoken Camera’, and were active as photographers during the same period in Indonesia. Their relationship, which they also kept up in Indonesia, was more than just a personal friendship: they shared the same ideas about photography. Both underscored the importance of the informative nature of photography and saw activist photography as an ideal. Oorthuys even tried to be ‘consciously unethical’ and saw the ‘beautifying’ of photos as the photographer’s biggest enemy. Breijer viewed photography as an informative medium that was supposed to communicate and educate. Its artistic function was secondary: beauty was a bonus, but never a goal in itself. Contrary to Oorthuys, Breijer did not reject aesthetics. Comparing Breijer’s photo work in Indonesia with that of Oorthuys, then there are also numerous thematic parallels: Dutch soldiers, Indonesian beggars, poverty, the markets, as well as general everyday life. Both provided a photographic account of a country being built and displayed the various aspects of its development, with humanity always serving as the main focus. Yet as a freelance photographer, Oorthuys enjoyed a greater freedom of movement than Breijer and expressed more of a viewpoint in his photos. This is apparent in his book Staat in Wording (‘Becoming a State’), published in 1947. Oorthuys placed a greater emphasis on the conflicting interests of the Indonesian freedom fighters and the Dutch. He expressed this primarily through the book’s powerful layout.

In the early years of Breijer’s career as a photographer, between 1930 and 1937, he used a 9×12 cm folding camera with a Prontor shutter. He had received this camera from his father, who had won it in a photo competition. By adding a viewfinder, Breijer was able to use it as a hand-held camera. With his first pay-cheque earnings at De Arbeiderspers, he purchased an Ikoflex 6×6 cm roll film camera. During the war, he had access to a Rolleiflex camera. This camera required quite a bit of adjusting and was in fact rather unsuitable for taking pictures at a time when it was illegal to do so. Sometimes it was impossible to adjust the camera settings or lighting precisely. Breijer worked with the Rolleiflex camera until 1960, thereafter switching to Pentax and Canon 35mm cameras.

Charles Breijer’s photographic oeuvre serves as an important part of Dutch national heritage, due to the historical and social meaning of the subject matter he photographed. Although perhaps of less importance to the photographer himself, the level of design and technique as well gives his work an aesthetic quality. To this day, the photos Breijer shot during the war serve as a widely utilised visual archive. The same cannot be said of his Indonesian photography. For some time, these photos remained unused and were therefore a relatively unknown part of his oeuvre. The growing interest in this period of history, however, likewise signals an emerging interest in Breijer’s photos shot in Asia.


Primary bibliography

Foto’s van munten, in Bedrijfsfotografie 21 (14 juli 1939) 14, p. 261-262.

De Rolleiflex als reportagecamera, in Kleinbeeld-foto 3 (december 1939) 9, p. 317-318.

Synchroniser ervaringen, in Kleinbeeld-foto 3 (maart 1940) 12, p.420-421.

Illegale fotodocumentatie, in Foto 1 (mei 1946) 5, p. 77-79 (idem in Sybrand Hekking, Cas Oorthuys fotograaf 1908-1975, Amsterdam (Fragment) 1982, p. 36-38).

Noordzee-visserij per trawler. Ervaringen van een fotoverslaggever, in Foto 2 (maart 1947) p. 42, 45-48 (met foto’s).

Brief uit de tropen, in Foto 2 (augustus 1947) 8, p. 140-141.


images in:

Focus 20 (4 maart 1933) 5, p. 145.

Lux-De Camera 55 (30 december 1933) 26.

Filmliga 31 januari 1935, omslag.

Het Volk vanaf 1937-oktober 1945.

Wij. Ons werk ons leven 1938-1939.

P.J. Mijksenaar (red.), Om het dagelijks brood, Amsterdam (ARBO) 1939, na p. 24, na p. 56, na p. 72, na p. 120, na p. 168, na p. 184, na p. 232.

Cosmorama 5 (maart 1939) 3, p. 50, 57.

Focus 26 (15 april 1939) 8, p. 256.

Kleinbeeld-foto 3 (mei 1939) 2, p. 52.

Kleinbeeld-foto 3 (december 1939) 9, p. 316.

Walter Brandligt e.a., Het landschap, Amsterdam (Contact) 1941, afb. 59, 89, 92 (serie: De schoonheid van ons land I).

Kees Hana e.a., Polder en waterland, Amsterdam (Contact) z.j. (1941), afb. 7, 29, 32 (serie: De schoonheid van ons land VII).

Werkend Volk 1941.

Hamer (1941) midwinternummer, p. 65-80.

Auteur onbekend, Nooit vergeten! (samengesteld door de red. van Het Vrije Volk) Amsterdam (De Arbeiderspers) 1945.

A. de Froe, Er moet veel strijd gestreden zijn …, in De Vrije Katheder z.j. (1945) (speciale uitgave).

Nederlandsch Jaarboek voor Fotokunst 1944/46, pl. IV-V.

Dagen van vriendschap. Pasen 1946, 20-21- 22 april Amsterdam (Een fotografisch overzicht van het Centrale Vriendschapsfeest Pasen 1946 in Amsterdam), Amsterdam (AJC/JVO) 1946.

Norman Phillips en J. Nikerk, Nederland-Canada, Amsterdam/Antwerpen (Contact) z.j. (1946), p. 32 (idem: Holland and the Canadians, Amsterdam (Contact) z.j. (1946)).

Max Nord (inl.), Amsterdam tijdens de hongerwinter, Amsterdam (Contact/De Bezige Bij) z.j. (1947), ongepag.

Oriëntatie 1947-1949.

De Katholieke Illustratie (1947) 16, p. 10, 242.

Libelle 22 juli 1947.

Beatrijs 5 (8 augustus 1947) 16, omslag.

Th.P. Tromp, Verwoesting en wederopbouw, Amsterdam (Contact) z.j. (1948), afb. 6, 26, 38.

Auteur onbekend, Onze jongens overzee, Amsterdam (De Geïllustreerde Pers NV) 1948, p. 3-5, 7, 16-21, 26-27.

Sociaal Spectrum van de Archipel 1 (maart 1948) 9, p. 12-14, 16.

Wij vrouwen 21 januari 1949, omslag.

Le Patriote Illustré 1950, p. 806-807.

Panorama 37 (7 juli 1950) 27, p. 2-3.

Leo Vroman e.a., Toen… 1940-1945, Den Haag (Staatsdrukkerij- en uitgeverij bedrijf) 1960, p. 78-79, 81.

M. Smedts en C. Troost, De lange nacht, Amsterdam (De Arbeiderspers) 1965, p. 26, 107.

J. Zwaan, De Tweede Wereldoorlog in vogelvlucht, Alphen aan den Rijn (Canaletto) 1977, p. 14, 16.

W.C. Meyers e.a., Verraad en verzet, Rotterdam (Lecturama) 1978, p.62.

Russell Miller e.a., The resistance, Alexandria (Virginia) (Time-Life Books) 1979, p. 33, 143.

L. de Jong, Het Koninkrijk der Nederlanden in de Tweede Wereldoorlog, Den Haag (Staatsuitgeverij) 1979, deel 9, tweede helft, afb. 23.

Franklin M. Davis Jr. e.a., Across the Rhine, Alexandria (Virginia) (Time-Life Books) 1980, p.62, 65.

Evert Werkman e.a., Dat kan ons niet gebeuren …, Amsterdam (De Bezige Bij) 1980, p. 105, 180.

L. de Jong, Het Koninkrijk der Nederlanden in de Tweede Wereldoorlog, Den Haag (Staatsuitgeverij) 1981, deel 10B, eerste helft, afb. 37, 43, 49, 93, 361.

Basis (april 1983) bevrijdingsnummer, p. 14-15.

Hripsimé Visser, Zien en gezien worden, in Perspektief (winter 1984) 16, p. 8-10.

K. Slager e.a., Hongerwinter. Verhalen om te onthouden, Amsterdam (Link) 1985, p. 21, 34, 88-89.

C. de Boer Jr., Onderdrukking en verzet 1940-1945, Hilversum 1985, p. 126.

F. Boucher e.a., Woord gehouden. Veertig jaar Stichting 1940-1945, Den Haag (Staatsuitgeverij) 1985, p. 29.

P.R.A. van Iddekinge e.a., Nederland 1940-1945. De gekleurde werkelijkheid, Ede/Antwerpen (Zomer en Keuning) 1985, p. 116, 153.

Toen en nu. (Brochure tent. Je deed wat je doen moest, in opdracht van Vrouwen in Verzet), Amsterdam (De Beurs) 1985.

Joke Kniesmeyer e.a., Anne Frank in the world, 1929-1945. (De wereld van Anne Frank, 1929-1945) Amsterdam (Bert Bakker) 1985, p. 145, 163, 199.

Cor van Stam, Wacht binnen de dijken. Verzet in en om de Haarlemmermeer, Haarlem (De Toorts) 1986, omslag.

Auteur onbekend, Vrouwen in de bezetting. Zes lessen over het leven van vrouwen tussen 1940-1945, Groningen (Geschiedeniswinkel Groningen) 1986, p. 32, 46, 52, 57-58, 61.

Diethart Kerbs en Carry van Lakerveld, Die untergetauchte Kamera. Fotografie im Widerstand. Amsterdam 1940-1945, Kreuzberg (Berlijn) (Nishen Verlag) 1987, omslag, p. 9, 12, 15-19, 23, 28, 30.

T. Heydra, De Pijp. Monument van een wijk, Amsterdam (Wijkcentrum De Ceintuur/ René de Milliano) 1989, p. 61.

Herman de Liagre Böhl en Guus Meershoek, De bevrijding van Amsterdam. Een strijd om macht en moraal, Zwolle (Waanders) 1989, omslag.

L. de Jong, De bezetting na vijftig jaar, Den Haag (SDU) 1990, p. 167, 181, 220, 450.

Hans van den Heuvel en Gerard Mulder, Het vrije woord. De illegale pers in Nederland 1940-1945, Den Haag (SDU) 1990, omslag.

R. Kok en R. Somers, De illegale pers, Zwolle (Waanders/RIOD) 1990, p. 55 (serie: Documentatie Nederland en de Tweede Wereldoorlog, nummer 23).

Paul Vigeveno en Ton van der Meer, Grenzen aan de solidariteit. Een lessenserie over de Holocaust, Den Bosch (Malmberg) 1990, p. 75.

Vrij Nederland-Bijvoegsel (11 augustus 1990) 32, p. 4.

Secondary bibliography

Auteur onbekend, Bij de platen ‘Tegenlicht’, in Focus 20 (4 maart 1933) 5, p. 129-130.

D.B. (=Dick Boer), Fototentoonstelling ‘Aan den arbeid’, in Focus 20 (14 oktober 1933) 21, p. 610-612.

André Garf, Een wedstrijd vol verrassingen, in Kleinbeeld-foto 2 (december 1938) 9, p. 308-319.

Catalogus tent. Nederland fotografisch gezien en de 5e Amsterdamsche Kerstsalon van fotografische kunst, Amsterdam (Gebouw Leesmuseum) 1939.

H. Frank, De gecombineerde fototentoonstellingen: ‘Nederland fotografisch gezien’ en de ‘5e Amsterdamsche Kerstsalon’, ter herdenking van het honderd jarig bestaan der fotografie, in Focus 26 (21 januari 1939) 2, p.69.

Auteur onbekend, Beknopte analyse der platen in dit nummer, in Focus 26 (15 april 1939) 8, p. 245, 248.

T. Haasbroek-Hessels, Zesde Amsterdamsche Kerstsalon der A.A.F.V., in Focus 20 januari 1940) 2, p. 57-59.

C. Boost, ‘ …de goede films komer er toch… .’, Baarn (De Boekerij) z.j. (1947).

F. Raadman, Charles (Vaarwater) Breijer: ‘Ik ben een ambachtsman’, in De Gooi- en Eemlander 23 juni 1972.

Els Barents (red.), Fotografie in Nederland 1940-1975, Den Haag (Staatsuitgeverij) 1978, p. 10-11, 13, 112 (met foto’s), losse biografie.

Flip Bool en Kees Broos (red.), Fotografie in Nederland 1920-1940, Den Haag (Staatsuitgeverij) 1979, p. 20, 87, 96, 122-123, 138, 140, 146.

Brochure tent. De illegale camera, Amsterdam (Paleis op de Dam) 1980.

Flip Bool en Jeroen de Vries, Fotografie als daad van verzet, in De Waarheid 3 mei 1980, bijlage, p. 15-18 (met foto’s).

Hans Verstraaten, De oorlogsverslaggevers van 1947. ‘Nu zou je je rotschamen, maar in die tijd bestonden kritische journalisten gewoon niet’, in Vrij Nederland-Bijvoegsel (5 juli 1980) 27, p. 3-26.

Bas Roodnat, Crisis van de jaren 30 in ‘nieuwe’ foto’s en onthutsende documenten, in NRC Handelsblad 12 november 1980.

Marleen Kox, Verslag onderzoek fotoarchieven. (Samengesteld in opdracht van de Stichting Nederlands Foto-Archief), Amsterdam, juli 1981.

Sybrand Hekking, Cas Oorthuys fotograaf 1908-1975, Amsterdam (Fragment) 1982, p. 34.

Rudie Kagie, Cameraman Charles Breijer in Indonesië. ‘Het was een goed leven’, in VPRO-gids 1983, p. 9-12.

Auteur onbekend, T.V.-beelden vullen geschiedenis aan. Documentaire belicht acties in Indonesië, in Algemeen Dagblad 26 november 1983.

Catalogus tent. Zien en gezien worden. Fotografische zelfbespiegeling in Nederland van ca. 1840 tot heden, Nijmegen (Nijmeegs Museum ‘Commanderie van Sint-Jan’) 1983, p. 37, 82.

Mattie Boom, Foto in omslag. Het Nederlandse documentaire fotoboek na 1945,

Amsterdam (Fragment) 1989, p. 19, 21.

Frits Baarda, Het oog van de oorlog. Fotografen aan het front, Den Haag/Amsterdam (SDU/Focus) 1989, p. 67-73, 78 (met foto’s).

Flip Bool en Kees Broos, De Nieuwe Fotografie in Nederland, Amsterdam/Den Haag/Naarden (Fragment/SDU/V + K Publishing) 1989, p. 30, 133, 138.

Frits Baarda, ‘In Nederlands-Indië knipten de fotografen voor Jan Doedel’, in Leidsch Dagblad 10 juni 1989.


Arbeiders Jeugd Centrale.

AAFV, vanaf 1932.

VANK, van 1938-1940.

GKf, van 1945-1950.

NBF, van 1954-1985.

Dienstenbond FNV (vakgroep Film), van 1954-1988.

Kunstenbond FNV (vakgroep Film), van 1988-heden.


z.j. Medaille Zeiss Ikon, ‘Für gute Aufnahmen mit Zeiss Ikon camera’s’.

1932 1e prijs afdeeling seniores, Wedstrijd Lantaarnplaten van de AAFV.

1932 Eervolle vermelding, Focusprijsvraag ‘vrije onderwerpen mei’.

1932 1e prijs klasse B, Focusprijsvraag ‘tegenlicht’.

1933 Eervolle vermelding klasse juniores, AAFV-Bondskollektie.

1933 13e prijs (verguld zilveren medaille), tentoonstelling Aan den arbeid, Amsterdam.

1938 Eén van de vijf vierde prijzen a f 10,- en bronzen medaille ‘voor uitmuntende prestatie’, Groote Fotowedstrijd 1938 van het tijdschrift Kleinbeeld-foto.

1939 Eervolle vermelding, Focusprijsvraag ‘vrije onderwerpen februari’.

1939 Eervolle vermelding, tentoonstelling Nederland fotografisch gezien, Amsterdam.

1939 Eervolle vermelding, 5e Amsterdamsche Kerstsalon van Fotografische Kunst (AAFV), Amsterdam.

1944 Hoogste onderscheiding klasse gevorderden, Groote Fotowedstrijd 1943 van het tijdschrift Kleinbeeld-foto.

1972 Premio di qualita voor de film ‘Waterland’, Instituto Luce, Rome.

1975 Trophée Marcel Pagnol voor de film ‘Vaarwater’, 8e Sélèction du Film Européen du Court Métrage, Parijs.

1976 SAM-prijs voor de film ‘KNMI in de weer’, Stichting Audiovisuele Manifestaties.

1979 SAM-prijs voor de film ‘Dat koop ik ervoor’, Stichting Audiovisuele Manifestaties.

1979 Premio di qualita voor de film ‘Vaarwater’, Instituto Luce, Rome.


1933 (g) Amsterdam, Gebouw I.O.O.F., Aan den Arbeid (AAFV).

1939 (g) Amsterdam, Gebouw Leesmuseum, Nederland fotografisch gezien.

1939 (g) Amsterdam, Gebouw Leesmuseum, 5e Amsterdamsche Kerstsalon van Fotografische Kunst (AAFV).

1939 (g) Amsterdam, Arti et Amicitiae, Kleinbeeld ’39.

1939 (g) Den Haag, Gemeentemuseum, Kleinbeeld ’39.

1940 (g) Amsterdam, Gebouw Leesmuseum, 6e Amsterdamsche Kerstsalon van Fotografische Kunst (AAFV).

1945 (g) Amsterdam, Arti et Amicitiae, 8e Amsterdamsche Kerstsalon van Fotografische Kunst (AAFV).

1945 (e) Amsterdam, Atelier Marius Meijboom, De Ondergedoken Camera.

1946 (g) Parijs, Salon International d’Art Photographique (Société Francaise de Photographie et de Cinématographie).

1948 (g) Amsterdam, Stedelijk Museum, Foto ’48.

1979 (g) Den Haag, Gemeentemuseum, Foto 20-40.

1980 (g) Amsterdam, Paleis op de Dam, De Illegale Camera.

1980 (g) Amsterdam, Gemeente-archief, Crisis in Amsterdam. Beelden uit de jaren dertig.

1983/1984 (g) Nijmegen, Nijmeegs Museum ‘Commanderie van Sint-Jan’, Zien en gezien worden. Fotografische zelfbespiegeling in Nederland van ca. 1840 lot heden.

1985 (g) Amsterdam, De Beurs, ‘Je deed wat je doen moest’.

1988 (g) Amsterdam, Verzetsmuseum, De Ondergedoken Camera.

1988 (g) Delft, De mooiste lente.


(regie Charles Breijer)




Fokken van pluimvee.

Huisvesting van runderen.

Moderne melkwinning.

ca. 1960 De sluiting van het Veerse Gat.

ca. 1961 De millioenste woning.

ca. 1964 Hoofdkraan van Nederland (1e versie).

ca. 1965 Uw visitekaartje.

ca. 1965 Stop u stoort.

ca. 1965 Onder maaiveld.

ca. 1968 Hoofdkraan van Nederland (2e versie).

ca. 1968 Ambacht, boeiend, creatief.

ca. 1968 Zout voor de wielen.

1969 It’s the tube that makes the color.

ca. 1969 Delta-Ypsilon.

ca. 1970 Hoofdkraan van Nederland (3e versie).

ca. 1970 Waterland.

ca. 1970 Eternitbuizen.

ca. 1970 Eternit.

ca. 1970 The microcircuitstory.

ca. 1971 Stormramp 1953.

1972 Progress.

1973 Hydroblok.

ca. 1975 Vaarwater.

1975 KNMI in de weer.

1976 Veepro.

1976 Uitzicht.

1978 Dat koop ik er voor.

1978 Aangepast, maar zelfstandig.

1979 Beroepsrecht.

Television programs

1983 Een ideaal voor ogen. (VPRO).

1989 Het sprookje is uit. (voorlichting over Indonesië) (NOS).

1990 Die untergetauchte Kamera. (Aflevering uit de serie Rückblende) (WDR).


Amersfoort, Charles Breijer, documentatie en mondelinge informatie (o.a. ongepubliceerd typescript voor de Nord Deutsche Rundfunk en ongepubliceerd typescript: Herinneringen aan Indonesië, Hilversum 13 april 1989).

Amsterdam, Rijksinstituut voor Oorlogsdocumentatie.

Hengelo, J. de Haan (ongepubliceerd typescript: Bibliografie Charles Breijer, Hengelo 1979)

Leiden, Prentenkabinet, bibliotheek en documentatiebestand.

Leiden, E.C.M, de Regt (ongepubliceerde doctoraalscriptie: Legale en illegale fotografie tijdens de bezetting 1940-1945, Menno Huizinga in Den Haag, mei 1982).


Amsterdam, Gemeentearchief.

Amsterdam, Rijksinstituut voor Oorlogsdocumentatie.

Den Haag, Prentenkabinet van het Haags Gemeentemuseum.

Den Haag, Rijksvoorlichtingsdienst (o.a. archief Anefo).

Haarlem, Stichting Nederlands Foto- & Grafisch Centrum (Spaarnestad Fotoarchief).

Leiden, Prentenkabinet van de Rijksuniversiteit Leiden.

Rotterdam, Nederlands Fotomuseum