Corry Brokken, Popular Dutch Singer and Feminist Icon, Dies at 83

Brokken, whose father was a Nazi and whose mother was part Jewish, performed the first of the Netherlands' four winning entries in the Eurovision Song Contest.

Dutch singer Corry Brokken on September 16, 1964.
Dutch National Archives

Corry Brokken, a well-known Dutch singer whose father was a Nazi and whose mother was part Jewish, died Thursday at the age of 83.

In 1957, Brokken performed the first of the Netherlands’ four winning entries in the Eurovision Song Contest.

Seen as a role model for feminists in the Netherlands, Brokken took a hiatus from performing in 1976 when she started to study law, becoming first an attorney and then a judge. In the 1990s she returned to show business, recording an album and performing on stage.

Her death was widely reported in the Netherlands, including in the evening news edition of the NOS public broadcaster.

She revealed her unusual family history in 1999, during an interview with the magazine Opzij.

Her parents married before the Germans occupied the Netherlands, and during the occupation, which began in 1940, her father was a member of the NSB Dutch Nazi party who entertained high-ranking German Nazis at his home.

Her mother had “Jewish roots and a dark complexion,” she said in the interview, but apparently managed to avoid being subjected to the racial laws and death camp deportation.

“When my parents would fight, he always used to curse her, calling her a ‘dirty Jewess’,” she said in that interview.

After the Netherlands was liberated, Brokken’s father was imprisoned for a few months in a concentration camp for Nazi collaborators. Brokken’s mother was also detained once and questioned for a few hours but released shortly thereafter.