On 26 November 1940 Rudolph Pabus Cleveringa (1840-1980) read aloud his now famous protest speech. As dean of the Law Faculty, he denounced the measure taken by the invading Germans of removing all Jewish professors from their posts. One of these professors was Cleveringa's colleague Eduard Meijers, who should have been lecturing his students at that point in time.
Cleveringa was arrested by the Security Services and remained in prison in Scheveningen (familiarly referred to as the 'Orange Hotel') until the summer of 1941. Having listened to his speech, the Leiden students decided to go on strike, a step that Cleveringa had by no means encouraged them to take. The University was then closed down by the occupying forces.
In 1944 Cleveringa was imprisoned in Vught. He became a member of the 'College of Trusted Men' that coordinated the resistance. After the war had come to an end, he resumed his work at Leiden University until 1958, when he retired. He was made a member of the Council of State and continued in this role until 1963 when he became Councillor of State Extraordinary. He died at the age of 86, in Oegstgeest.