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Jews in the Netherlands 05: Holocaust period 1933-1945
NS persecution provokes more Zionism - population tables - restrictions and Jewish council since 12 Feb. 1941 - Jewish institutions - robbery and aryanizations - badge, labor camps and deportations - rescue from persecution
Encyclopaedia Judaica 1971: Netherlands, vol. 12, col. 973-974, map of the Jewish settlements 1941 and 1960
Encyclopaedia Judaica 1971: Netherlands, vol. 12, col. 990: One of the deportations between 1942-1943: Dutch Jews about to be deported to a German concentration camp, 1942/43. Courtesy Yad Vashem Archives, Jerusalem
from: Netherlands; In: Encyclopaedia Judaica 1971, vol. 12presented by Michael Palomino (2008)
[Numbers of Jews 1933: 140,000 Jews]
On the eve of the Holocaust, there were 140,000 Jews in Holland, of whom 121,400 were members of the Ashkenazi community, 4,301 of the Sephardi community, and another 12,400 Jews were unaffiliated with the religious communities. There were also about 1,900 Christians of Jewish origin or parentage living in the Netherlands.
[since 1933: enforced Zionism by German refugees - Committee for Special Jewish Affairs - Westerbork]
In 1933, immediately after the Nazi rise to power, German Jews began their flight to Holland.> (col. 984)
<The radical change took place under the influence of the persecutions in Germany after 1933, when a steady stream of refugees went to the Netherlands (see below). Concurrent political events strengthened the growth of the Zionist organization (at that time under the leadership of Perez *Bernstein and after his aliyah of A.J. Herzberg) and of the youth organizations and *He-Halutz movements. Although nominally the structure of Dutch, Jewry remained unchanged, in fact the emphasis was shifted from the parnasim [[leaders]] to the political leadership; this had far-reaching consequences as the German occupation later proved.> (col. 983)
<A Comité voor Bijzondere Joodse Belangen ("Committee for Special Jewish Affairs") was established to aid the refugees on March 21, 1933, by Abraham *Asscher, president of the organization of Dutch-Jewish communities, and David *Cohen, a longtime active Zionist. The council's prime task was to facilitate absorption of refugees and aid their further emigration; to a lesser degree it also engaged in anti-Nazi propaganda.
By January 1939 the committee had spent approximately 3,000,000 Dutch guilders ($780,000) for these purposes from funds collected mostly from the Jewish (col. 984)
community in Holland. In 1939 expenses rose to approximately 3,000,000 guilders a year because of increased anti-Jewish measures in Germany. At that time there were about 30,000 German-Jewish fugitives in Holland.
The Dutch government, which had continuously resisted a more liberal admission policy, decided to establish a central camp for illegal immigrants at *Westerbork, a forbidding wasteland in the northeast, not far from the German border. The financial burden fell on the committee, which was taxed 200,000 guilders yearly as of February 1939. A well-organized and extensive apparatus was needed for the committee's enormous tasks. Except for its leaders, the membership consisted almost exclusively of German Jews. The existence of this institution with its many departments (including finances, occupational rehabilitation, education, and culture) was to prove of enormous - and, according to some - fatal import for developments in Holland after the German occupation.> (col. 985)
Table 1. Number of Jews in the Netherlands
23,723ssssss from: Netherlands; In: Encyclopaedia Judaica 1971, Vol. 12, col. 985
Table 2. Distribution [[of the Jews] over the Provinces [[in Holland]] (according to %)
North Holland (incl. Amsterdam)
South Holland (incl. Rotterdam and The Hague)
from: Netherlands; In: Encyclopaedia Judaica 1971, Vol. 12, col. 985
Table 3. Division [[of the Jews in Holland]] According to Profession in 1930 (in %)
from: Netherlands; In: Encyclopaedia Judaica 1971, Vol. 12, col. 985
<THE FIRST ANTI-JEWISH MEASURES.
[1940-1945: German NS occupation: persecution of the Jews by profession and residential restrictions]
Encyclopaedia Judaica 1971: Netherlands, vol. 12, col.984, Jewish quarter established by the Nazis [[and their collaborators]]
in Amsterdam. A photograph taken in 1942. Courtesy Yad Vashem Archives, Jerusalem
The first months following the Dutch capitulation (May 14, 1940) passed quietly. The first anti-Jewish measures taken by the German occupation authorities in September consisted of barring Jews' entrance in certain professions and residential districts. Of greater importance still was the German demand (col. 985)
that every civil servant sign a declaration that he was an "Aryan". In November all Jewish civil servants and teachers were dismissed. A further step was compulsory registration (January 1941) and the issue of special identity cards for Jews.
[Coordination committee - Jewish Council since 12 Feb. 1941 - Joodsche Weekblad 1941-1943]
At the same time the Ashkenazi and Sephardi communities, in cooperation with national Jewish organizations, instituted a Committee of Coordination, which sought to formulate a unified stand in the Jewish population. The committee's president, Lodewÿk E. Visser, categorically refused to cooperate on any anti-Jewish measure. Asscher and Cohen disagreed with his stand and hoped to alleviate suffering by cooperating with the Germans. This attitude was reflected in the policy Asscher and Cohen adopted as presidents of the Jewish Council (established by German order on Feb. 12, 1941), which was made responsible for the Jews of Amsterdam. The apparatus of the Committee for Special Jewish Affairs was extended and incorporated into the Jewish Council, which increasingly supplanted the Committee of Coordination.
Encyclopaedia Judaica 1971: Netherlands, vol. 12, col. 982, "Joodsche Weekblad" ("Jewish Weekly"), first issue of 11 April 1941
On Oct. 27, 1941, the Germans extended the power of the Jewish Council over the whole of Holland and ordered the Committee of Coordination to suspend its activities. In every province and in Rotterdam a representative responsible to the Jewish Council was appointed. The Jewish Council developed into a huge organization, whose staff numbered approximately 17,000 at its climax. All existing Jewish institutions were incorporated into it, and a great many new departments were established to cope with problems caused by the German measures.
Officially, the Jewish Council had 18 members at its inception. Its actual power, however, was in the hands of its two presidents and the senior officials. An important advantage lay in the fact that the Jewish Council had its own publication. In September 1940 all Jewish newspapers were banned by the German authorities and replaced by a single, German-controlled Jewish weekly. The issue of anti-Jewish measures in a specifically Jewish publication averted reaction by the non-Jewish population and served to further isolate the Jewish community. The Joodsche Weekblad first appeared on April 11, 1941. Although it initially published cultural articles and attempted to elevate the morale of the Jewish population, it ultimately became little more than a vehicle for announcements from the Jewish Council. The paper ceased publication when the presidents themselves and the last remaining officials of the council were deported (September 1943).
[Establishment of Jewish kindergarten and Jewish schools - Jewish hospital, homes for the aged - Jewish youth centers, Jewish sports clubs]
To isolate the Jewish population further, Jewish children were removed from public schools and an extensive network of Jewish schools was established and supervised by the Jewish Council (August 1941). At the beginning of 1942 the system provided for 1,200 children in kindergarten, 9,000 primary school children, 4,200 secondary school children, and 75 teachers-in-training in 36 cities. A total of 111 schools with 758 teachers dealt with these 14,500 students.
Similar concentrations in other sectors of public life, such as hospitals, homes for the aged, youth centers, and sports clubs, took place. All the existing Jewish organizations were banned by the Germans and their funds confiscated; they were then grouped into centralized bodies functioning as departments of the Jewish Council.
[Finance questions of the Dutch Jewish Council - robbery of Dutch Jewish property and capital - aryanizations]
The financing of the Jewish community, which was impoverished by ostracism from the economic and community life of the country, compulsory transfer of business to non-Jews, and confiscation, was a major problem. The Jewish Council levied taxes on all Jews; non-payment disqualified one from using the services of the Council. Another part of the funds came from subsidies by the bank of Lippmann, Rosenthal and Col, originally a Jewish bank that was exploited by the Germans for the pilfering of (col. 986)
Jewish capital. The Nazis first carried out a compulsory transfer to this bank of all Jewish property in August 1941: a sum total of 300-400,000,000 guilders (about $100,000,000) was thus extracted from the Jews of Holland. Approximately 20% of this money was spent on financing the Jewish Council and the camps at *Vught and Westerbork and income payments to the Jewish individuals involved. The rest was transferred to German institutions.
There were also other ways in which the German state (or German and Dutch National-Socialists) appropriated Jewish funds. Of the 22,000 Jewish businesses, 200 "Aryanized" themselves, while 2,000 were compulsorily "Aryanized", the remainder being liquidated. This netted the Germans 75,000,000 guilders.
[[Swiss banks played a big role in the Nazi financial transactions, and the Hitler regime gave Jewish businesses to its "friends" for a song, and also "neutral" Swiss industrials accepted these bribes]].
CONCENTRATION IN CAMPS AND IN AMSTERDAM.
[42 labor camps all over Holland with 5,242 Jewish inmates - deportations - "evacuations"]
Before the *Wannsee Conference (Jan. 20, 1942), when many different German authorities engaged in anti-Jewish measures, one of them established labor camps in Holland whose inmates (exclusively male) endured inhuman conditions. In the course of 1942 the Jewish Council cooperated in establishing 42 of these camps all over Holland. Finally, 5,242 men from 85 towns and cities in Holland were placed in these camps to work on various development projects, some wholly superfluous. These people were ready victims at the start of the deportations for "work in the East", as they were deceptively called.
In a raid (razzia) that took place simultaneously in all suitable locations in Holland on Friday night, Oct. 2, 1942, whole families, including 8,877 women and children, were arrested. These were transported first to Westerbork and then to *Auschwitz.
The concentration of the Jews was also effected by evacuating hundreds of towns and hamlets. Non-Dutch Jews had to leave the shore region immediately at the outset of the Nazi occupation. At the end of 1941 Jews could move only to Amsterdam. Later the Jews in other parts of Holland were forced to move to Amsterdam. This activity was in the framework of making Holland "Judenrein" ("clean of Jews").>
Details: Addition from Jerry Meents, Dutch Jew in Holland (12 years old in 1942 and Dutch Holocaust survivor):
-- from September 16, 1941 on Jews were not allowed to travel any more without permission
-- and from November 7, 1941, Jews were not allowed any more to move to another apartment without permission, in Amsterdam and in other cities
-- not all Jewish people were forced to move to Amsterdam, but Jewish people from about 20 towns or cities were directly deported to Westerbork or Vught, without living in Amsterdam before [Meents 01]
<Finally, the Jews were forbidden to live in eight of the 11 Dutch provinces. The remaining three provinces were restricted on April 13, 1943, so that legally, with very few exceptions, Jews could only live in Amsterdam.>
[since 9 May 1942: Jewish badge - protest badge against the badge]
<The Nazis decreed on May 9, 1942, that the yellow badge which was meant to isolate the Jews and degrade them in the eyes of their fellow citizens, was to be worn by every Jews, and the Jewish Council was compelled to cooperate with the implementation of the (col. 987)
order. The measure encountered much resistance from the Dutch population, even in National-Socialist circles. In protest, stars were distributed and worn by non-Jews. The Germans reported that the Jews wore their star proudly, but that they were frightened by the new anti-Jewish measures.
[Call-up for deportation - arrests - detainees from Westerbork transported to the East - Vught]
Deportations began shortly afterwards. The Germans called this operation "Arbeitseinsatz im Osten" ("work in the East"), but in reality it meant certain death in the extermination camps, especially Mauthausen.
[[There were 1,000s of victims in quarries and in the tunnel constructioning for the underground weapon production, for the "Underground Reich"]].
During the summer of 1942, the Germans systematically organized the deportation of almost all the remaining Jews.
[[There is no indication if also non-Aryans (half Jews, quarter Jews, and 3/4 Jews) were deported]].
In the course of 15 months (until September 1943) the mass deportations were completed. At first, as a means of camouflaging the fate awaiting the Jews, the Nazis called young people up by mail. However, when too few people presented themselves, arrests followed. Detainees were usually transported immediately to Westerbork, which was proclaimed a Polizeiliches Durchgangslager ("Police-Transit Camp"; July 16, 1942).
Those Jewish inmates who were originally illegal immigrants from Germany were made responsible for the internal management and organization of the camp including, almost without exception, arranging the transports to the East. The transports, sent out at intervals, comprised only part of the camp population, thus creating a "forced community" (Zwangsgemeinschaft) with a very complicated and widespread organization.
Although living conditions were primitive, especially when the camp population suddenly swelled as a result of massive aktionen [[actions]] and deportations, life was bearable because the German administration seldom interfered in the internal life. The camp was ruled mainly by the fear of transport to the concentration camps.
Approximately 100 such transports took place. Most people were sent to Auschwitz (60,000); in 1943 many transports were directed to *Sobibor (34,000 people, who were gassed upon arrival).
[[Gassing probably is not right, but after the resolution to install underground weapon production in the Reich the detainees were deported back to the Reich working in the big sites and tunnel systems with mass death in the tunnel systems]].
Details: Addition from Jerry Meents, Dutch Jew in Holland (12 years old in 1942 and Dutch Holocaust survivor):
-- Sobibor did not employ Dutch Jews for work [[so Dutch Jews for Sobibor were deported to Sobibor but then were distributed to other camps as it seems]]
-- only one Dutch lady, Selma Wijnberg, worked in Sobibor and survived, and another lady from Holland (Ilana Safran, but she was not a Dutch citizen) also worked in Sobibor and also survived
-- there were 17 other Dutch survivors from Sobibor, however they were only from an hour to 4 hours in or outside of Sobibor and were picked to work in other camps [Meents 01]
A small minority was transported to *Theresienstadt (almost 5,000, mostly prominent personalities), and to *Bergen-Belsen (4,000 people, intended for exchange with other countries). Of the latter, 75% indeed survived the war and a number were exchanged during the war for Germans in foreign countries (222 reached Palestine; 136 entered Switzerland).
In addition to Westerbork, another camp existed for a time at Vught as part of KL-Herzogenbusch. Built in 1943, it seemed at first to be a work camp for a great number of Jews. When all provincial cities and towns were made judenrein (April-May 1943) all Jews had to move to Amsterdam. Hard labor, little food, and severe punishments made for a much more inhumane existence than in Westerbork. From June 1943 to June 1944 all 12,000 inmates of Vught were sent to Westerbork.
ATTEMPTS AT EVASION AND PROTECTION.
[Rescue by mixed marriages - sterilizations of partners]
As the Germans followed a vacillating policy toward partners of mixed marriages, some Jews did escape persecution legally. Many of these Jews were sent to labor camps, while all Jewish partners were put under pressure to have themselves sterilized; approximately 25% (of 8,610) indeed submitted to this operation. Only a very few were sent to the annihilation camps.
[Rescue by false Aryan descent certificates by German "expert" - many Jews saved]
A great number of Jews used genuine or false documents to prove that they were of Aryan descent; this attempt succeeded in more cases than could be expected, due to the cooperation of a lawyer, the German "expert" on "Aryan" extraction, Hans Callmeyer. By contrast, a petition from the Jewish Portuguese community that their members be considered as Aryans was rejected after initial approval, with fatal consequences for its members.
[Rescue by illegal flight - or by hiding with non-Jews]
It was extremely difficult to leave the country illegally, because two borders - the Belgian and French - (col. 988)
had to be crossed. A few non-Jews (Jean Weidner, Joop *Westerweel) did magnificent work by saving Jews in this way. But for the majority this escape operation was much too dangerous, too difficult, and in many instances too expensive. A better chance of surviving was offered by going into hiding with non-Jews ("onderduiken", "submerging"), which was done on a large scale. According to estimates, more than 20,000 went into hiding for periods of varying duration. They were dependent on the non-Jews, who risked their lives for either financial or moral motives.
A national organization came into existence to support the "hiders", more than half of whom eventually fell into German hands, mostly by betrayal. Many of the non-Jewish protectors were sent to concentration camps and tortured to death. It is estimated that approximately 10,000 Jews, among them 3,500 children, survived the war through hiding. Many of the hidden or "submerged" Jews participated in various forms of resistance against the German occupation.
See also *Amsterdam; *Bergen-Belsen; David *Cohen; Anne *Frank [[ballpen]]; Anton A. *Mussert; *Resistance; *Righteous Gentiles; *Rotterdam; Arthur *Seyss-Inquart; *Theresienstadt; *Vught; *Westerbork; *Westerweel, Joop.> (col. 989)
Table 4. Number of Jews in Holland (according to registration in 1941)
14,381xxxxxxx Jews from other countries
140,001xxxxxxx Half Jews
15,342xxxxxxx Quarter Jews
[[Total with Half Jews and Quarter Jews, non-Aryans
161,458]]xxxxxx from: Netherlands; In: Encyclopaedia Judaica 1971, Vol. 12, col. 989
Table 5. Transports to German Camps (from July 1942)
± 60,000xxxxx Surviving
± 34,000xxxxx Surviving
± 4,000xxxxx Surviving
± 4,897xxxxx Surviving
1,273xxxxx from: Netherlands; In: Encyclopaedia Judaica 1971, Vol. 12, col. 989
[[There were many Auschwitz detainees transported to the tunnel systems and died in the tunnel systems ("Underground Reich"), and some survived]].
Table 6. Estimated Number of Survivors*
Camps (incl. Dutch)
Escaped to other countries
* The numbers arrived at by the various investigations differ slightly.
from: Netherlands; In: Encyclopaedia Judaica 1971, Vol. 12, col. 989
[[Half Jews, quarter Jews and 3/4 Jews are missing in this table]].
[[Supplement: Famine 1944-1945
At the end of World War II there was an immense starvation in Holland because Holland converted into a battlefield, and because the NS occupation took all products to the Reich and to the Eastern Front]].
Details of the map with the Jewish settlements of 1941 and 1960
Little Jewish settlements in 1941 (300-700): Leeuwarden, Winschoten, Assen, Alkmaar, Meppel, Hoogeveen, Zwolle, Zaandam, Bloemendaal, Zandvoort, Reemstede, Naarden, Bussum, Laren, Almelo, Deventer, Hengelo, Zutphen, Amersfoort, de Built, Leiden, Voorburg, Rijswijk, Schiedam, Zeist, Winterswijk, Schiedam, Dordrecht, Nijmegen, Oss, Hertogenbosch,Tilburg, Eindhoven, Maastricht
Jewish settlements in 1941 (1,000-3,000): Groningen, Westerbork, Hilversum, Apeldoorn, Haarlem, Utrecht, Arnheim, Enschede
Jewish settlements in 1941 (8,000-14,000): The Hague, Rotterdam
Jewish settlements in 1941 (80,000): Amsterdam
Jewish settlements in 1960 (300-700): Haarlem, Utrecht, Enschede, Arnhem
Jewish settlements in 1960 (1,000-7,000): Amsterdam, The Hague, Rotterdam
Encyclopaedia Judaica 1971: Netherlands, vol. 12, col. 973-974
Encyclopaedia Judaica 1971: Netherlands, vol. 12, col. 975-976
Encyclopaedia Judaica 1971: Netherlands, vol. 12, col. 977-978
Encyclopaedia Judaica 1971: Netherlands, vol. 12, col. 979-980
Encyclopaedia Judaica 1971: Netherlands, vol. 12, col. 981-982
Encyclopaedia Judaica 1971: Netherlands, vol. 12, col. 983-984
Encyclopaedia Judaica 1971: Netherlands, vol. 12, col. 985-986
Encyclopaedia Judaica 1971: Netherlands, vol. 12, col. 987-988
Encyclopaedia Judaica 1971: Netherlands, vol. 12, col. 989-990
Encyclopaedia Judaica 1971: Netherlands, vol. 12, col. 991-992
Encyclopaedia Judaica 1971: Netherlands, vol. 12, col. 993-994
Details from Dutch Holocaust survivor: Jerry Meents, Ogden, Utah, USA
[Meents 01] information from December 26, 2010