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The K number

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Some books printed in occupied Holland during the Second World War carry a so-called K number. This was long supposed to signify approval by the Kultuurkamer, a ‘wrong’ (i.e. a pro-German or, as in this case, puppet) body that was set up in November 1941 by the country’s German governor or Reichskommissar. It has now become clear that this is incorrect: the K number was in fact introduced in July 1941 as a bureaucratic means of monitoring and controlling the supply and rationing of all printing paper by the Dutch Department of Economic Affairs, and was a consequence of pre-war Dutch rationing legislation dating from 1939.


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