The Hague

Hugo Wilmar (c. 1938)

Hugo Wilmar was born on May 28 in 1923 in Amersfoort. He grew up in The Hague as the second son of a family of four. The family is conservative. His father is Victor Emile Wilmar, Lieutenant Colonel attached to the General Staff in The Hague. His mother is Marie Jeanne Leembruggen.

Hugo has one older brother, Emile, and two younger sisters, Hélène and Cécilia. In 1942 he graduated from HBS at the Rijnlands Lyceum in Wassenaar.

Nature lover and amateur photographer

He has a passion for photography and nature. As an amateur photographer and hunter, he goes into the dunes whenever possible. He roams around Landgoed De Horsten together with the hunting warden duo of the Velthuis brothers. Besides photographing Hugo learns to mount animals. He places these animals in their natural environment to create the picture in his head.

Photo dealer Nieuwenhuis at the Van Hoytemaplein in The Hague
Photo dealer Nieuwenhuis at the Van Hoytemaplein in The Hague (manufacturer Hans Nieuwenhuis collection The Hague Municipal Archives)

On the roof of his family home, he groups a crow, rook and chew. With the photo he wins an amateur photo contest. The jury does not know that Hugo set up the animals.

In 1942 he runs into Fotohandel Nieuwenhuis Jan Woldijk. They share the passion for photography. Here Hugo Wilmar makes the first contacts with the resistance.

The second World War

His free existence changes with the outbreak of the Second World War. His father, a lieutenant colonel attached to the General Staff, is regularly arrested by the Germans. Because of his heart condition, he comes out more dead than alive. This has an impact on Hugo's family.

In 1943 Hugo Wilmar photographs the demolition in Duindorp for the Construction of the Atlantic Wall.

The increasing stranglehold of the occupier and the constant threat from the Arbeitseinzats make his forays into nature too dangerous. Hugo's opposition to the Germans is growing. At the beginning of February 1944 he is looking for a way out - Hugo wants himself in London as a war volunteer Sign Up.

Hugo Wilmar's amateur photos



Hugo Wilmar was born on May 25, 1923 in Amersfoort. He is the second son of a family of four.

Photo Contest
Three birds on a roof

Hugo Wilmar wins an amateur nature photo competition. The photo shows a raven, a crow and a rook. What the jury doesn't know is that Hugo stuffed the animals. As far as we know, this photo marks the beginning of Hugo Wilmar's career as a photographer.

Rhineland Lyceum Wassenaar
Rhineland Lyceum Wassenaar

Hugo Wilmar plays in the school play of the Rijnlands Lyceum Wassenaar. The piece is called "The Wounded Lion". (photo: © Polygoon, Haarlem)

Atlantic Wall
Savornin Lohmanlaan, demolition of houses between Evert Wijtemaweg and Sportlaan

In 1943, Hugo Wilmar took photos of the demolition of houses for the construction of the Atlantic Wall. This photo shows De Savornin Lohmanlaan and the demolition of houses between Evert Wijtemaweg and Sportlaan. The photo was donated to the Hague Municipal Archives by the Hugo Wilmar Foundation

Departure from occupied territory
Departure from occupied territory

After the Razzia of 1943, Hugo Wilmar is released from the Psychiatric Ursula Clinic. In February 1944, his escape from occupied territory begins. Hugo Wilmar wants to register as a War Volunteer with the Free Dutch Forces in London.

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