During the Second World War, on 26 November 1940, several Leiden professors gave protest speeches following the dismissal of two Jewish colleagues, professors Meijers and David.
Barge, who was Professor of Anatomy and Embryology, gave a speech in which he gave short shrift to Nazi racial theories. In his protest speech, Professor Cleveringa, who was Dean of the Faculty of Law, explained in minute detail why the measures of the German occupier contravened international law. Van Holk, who was Professor of Theology, also gave a protest speech, followed by a lecture on the Jewish philosopher Spinoza.
To commemorate these protest speeches, LUF in collaboration with the Cleveringa committees, organises the annual Cleveringa Meetings (also known as the 26 November Meetings). Around 26 November, academics from Leiden give Cleveringa lectures all around the world.
The story behind the protest speech
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On 26 November 2014, three wall plaques and a lectern were unveiled to commemorate the protest speeches given on 26 November 1940 by Professor Cleveringa, Professor L.J. van Holk and Professor J.A.J. Barge.