When German troops invaded the Netherlands in 1940 they found that the great Dutch exporting company Philips in Eindhoven had the ability to do something that their soldiers, sailors and airmen desperately needed to manufacture: one without batteries, pocket-sized dynamo flashlight. A lamp which stays on while you keep squeezing with a spring lever. In 1943, the Germans put the flashlight into production for the Wehrmacht and the small “squeezer” (pronounced Knaip-Cat, means “squeeze cat”) found its way.
He was only carried out in 1943 with a steel cabinet, painted an olive green color Wehrmacht. Before the war, Philips produced a similar flashlight, but the metal casing is made of aluminum, unpainted.
German military flashlights or Taschenlampen came in all shapes and sizes and are made by dozens of European manufacturers during World War II.
A little more sophisticated were the “dynamo” pocket lamps from Philips that needed no battery. Contrary, it contained a small anchor and a flywheel driven by a gear which engages with teeth on a lever. When the anchor turned, generated this enough electrical current to a small light burning and the flywheel anchor it kept spinning by “pumping” the handle. These were widely used by the Wehrmacht, SS, Kriegsmarine, Luftwaffe Fallschirmjäger and in the Third Reich Germany of Adolf Hitler.
In early 1943 gave the Philips management after long hesitation due to the urgent request from ‘Berlin’ to settle in Vught near ‘s-Hertogenbosch the Special Workshop B677. With the SS was agreed in advance a large degree of control of its own, which for a long time could be maintained. More than 3,100 prisoners have shorter or longer time been part of the working there Philips Kommando. Philips tried as many prisoners, men and women, Jews and non-Jews, to help work. In a relatively safe environment they made include radios, pinch cats and shavers. For others, work was conceived by a Court Room or write Drawing Office. Young Jewish women could be deployed under the pretext that they can only have the required ‘Fingerspitzengefühl’ possessed for making ‘kriegswichtige’ radio tubes.
Working Philips Kommando has 600 Jewish prisoners long time exemption means of transport. When they were still in June 1944 deported to the extermination camp Auschwitz-Birkenau, they were not selected for the gas chambers. After a short time they are from other camps as ‘Philips Facharbeiter’ employed by companies in Reichenbach, etc. Nearly 400 of the 500 deported Jewish Philips employees survived the war.
“More than just a Cat” In full color with a lot of info.

Read about it in my book:
“Meer dan een knijpkat” (only in Dutch)

The flashlight is approximately 2.7 cm thick, 4.2 cm wide, 8.2 cm long and weighs about 200 grams. Squeezing the handle of this dynamo flashlight produces a “soft” noise when spinning a cat.

 Click on the picture for a PDF










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