Stephen Fry: Willem and Frieda Defying the Nazis

Stephen Fry: Willem and Frieda – Defying the Nazis

Category: Press Pack

Airs Thursday 2 March at 9pm on Channel 4

The theatrical version of Willem & Frieda premieres at BFI Flare: London LGBTQIA+ Film Festival on 24 March at BFI Southbank.


Stephen Fry discovers why an act of sabotage by the Dutch Resistance that saved many Jews from the camps remains uncelebrated.



  • Summary
  • Preview, clips and images
  • Stephen Fry Interview
  • Credits
  • Biogs



During the occupation of the Netherlands in WW2, Willem Arondeus, a painter and Frieda Belinfante, a cellist, used their artistic skills to forge identity cards that saved thousands of Jews from the death camps. This was no mean task as, at the time, the Dutch had the most sophisticated identity card system in the world and, what’s more, the Nazis had a clever backup: each card they issued had a duplicate stored in the Amsterdam Central Records Office to prevent forgery.


Willem realised he had to take action and, with a rag-tag gang of fellow artists, he led a daring raid to blow up the Central Records Office and destroy the duplicate cards. There was only one proviso: no one could be harmed in the process because “We are not like them”.


Stephen Fry goes on a very personal journey to Amsterdam to discover why this incredible story has remained largely hidden to the present day.