The Holocaust in the Netherlands

Netherlands Holocaust
Figure 1.--This unidentified Dutch father and his son are reporting, probably in July 1942, for what the NAZIs told them ws "labor service" in Germany. Dutch Jews did not know what fate awaited them, but rumors circulating led many to suspect the worse. Many wonder today why then any one reported as ordered. In fact the NAZIs and Dutch collaborators set up a systm that made it very difficult for the Jews to do anything but comply. Notice what looks to be like a Dutch NAZI in background. Rather than labr service, the Dutch Jews were shipped directly to death camps, mostly Achwitz and Sobibor. Source: Netherlands State Institute for War Documentation

Some German Jews had fled to the Netherlands before the War began. Dutch Jews had heard rumors of what had happened in Poland. Many had thought that they were safe in the Netherlands. Most Dutch thought that the Germans would respect Dutch neutrality as they had in World War I. They were wrong. The Germans invaded and occupied the country in only a few days (May 1940). The terror bombing of Rotterdam and threats of similar bombings of other Dutch cities convinced the Dutch that resistance was futile. Queen Wilemina fled with her family to England. Hitler appointed an Austrian, Arthur Seyss-Inquart, who had been involved in the administration of occupied Poland to seve as the NAZI governor of occupied Poland. In his first addressed to the Dutch people, Seyss-Inquart assured the Dutch people that Germany would not impose NAZI ideology and that they would respect existing Dutch laws. Unlike Poland thaere were no mass killings of Jews or burning of syynagoges as German soldiers occupied the country. The NAZIs administered the Netherlands differently than other occupied countries in the West (Belgiumm Denmark, and France). Most scholars believe that if Germany had won the War that the Netherlands would have been annexed to the Reich. The Dutch population was in fact more Aryan than the German population and thus for the race-obsessed NAZIs like Hitler and Himmler it would be a valuable addition to the Reich. Seyss-Inquart ruled by decree. Over the 5 years he governed the Netherlamds (1940-45), he issued hundreds of decrees. Contrary to his pledge, he turned the Netherlamds into a throughly NAZI police state. Many of his decrees were inconsequential, but slowly they created thge circumstances that permitted the NAZIs to murder most Dutch Jews.

Dutch Jews

There were two Dutch communities in the Netherlands: the Sephardim and the Ashkenazim. The Sephardim arrived in the Netherlands by sea along with other Portuguese traders and became permanent when the Inquisition targeted Portuhuese and Spanish Jews. The Ashkenazim arrived overland beginning in the mid-17th century. These two communities remained separate, but the Dutch Republic recognized only one community to which a level of autonomy was granted within the larger Protestant (Calvinist) community. The authorities tolerated thev Jews to a greater degree than other Protestants and Catholics. Jew could not fully participate fully in civic life or join a guild. Dutch tolerance of Jews, however, led to a level ofvtrust among the Jews and an approsavch of negotiation and compromidse. The Sephardim faced the problem of aiding newly arrived Jewish refugeees. Some Dutch Jews during the 19th century integrated into Dutch society and became secularized. Often moving away from traditional Jewish areas. Others maintained Orthodox traditions and continued to live in Jewish neigbothoods, especially in Amsterdam. The bulk of Dutch Jews tookmiddle-of-the-road approaches which mean that they were not fully integrated. There was even a kind of Jewish economy. The Dutch diamond industry and segments of the textile industry were heavily Jewish. Many Dutch people did not fully accept Jews, although there attitudes were often more descrete thannin other European countries. Anti-Semitism grew during the 1930s, boith because of the Depression and the arrival of large numbers of German Jews.

Safe Haven

There is of course no perfect country, but the Netherlands was known throught Europe for its toleration of religious diversity. It was to Holland that many Spanish Jews came when they were expelled by Spain. The Netherlands in 1930 had a small, but vibrant community. Some German Jews had fled to the Netherlands before the War began. The small initial numbers increased as NAZI supression of the Jews became increasingly intense. Finally in 1938 the Dutch closed their borders to any additional German Jewish refugees. Dutch Jews had heard rumors of what had happened in Poland. Many had thought that they were safe in the Netherlands. Hitler guaraneed that Germany ould respect Dutch neutrality. Most Dutch people thought that the Germans would respect Dutch neutrality as they had in World War I. They were wrong.

German Invasion (May 1940)

The Germans launched their long awaited Western offensive on May 10. To the surprise of the Dutch people, it was aimedf at them. Fleets of Luftwaffe bombers and fighters attacked targets in the Netherlands, Belgium, and France. German parachute and airborne forces secureed key bridges in Rotterdam, Dordrecht, and Moerdijk. The Germans unleased 76 divisions cross a 175-mile front into Holland, Belgium, and Luxembourg. There was fierce fighting near Arnhem. Luftwaffe bombers on May 13-14 concentrates Rotterdam without regard for civilian casualties. Hitler describes the tactic as "Schrecklichkeit" (frightfulness), the use of terror to break a country's will to resist. It worked in the Netherlands. The Dutch Army surrendered to the Germans on May 15. The terror bombing of Rotterdam and threats of similar bombings of other Dutch cities convinced the Dutch that resistance was futile. (The success of this strategy in Poland and the Netherlands also convinced Hitler that it could be successfully employed in the upcoming Battle of Britain instead of following the strategy devised by the Luftwaffe.)

Dutch Government

Government in exile

Queen Wilhelmina fled with her family and senior members of the Dutch government fled to London. The Queen was initially put up by King George VI at Buckingham Pallace. The Queen and the Government organized a Dutch government-in-exile. At first many Dutch citizens felt that they had been deserted, but as time passed and they saw true nature of the NAZIs, most came to see that she made the correct decission. The Queen began radio broadcasts to the Dutch people almost immediately upon her arrival in London. She spoke weekly inspiring them to take heart and to take fight against those who would enslave their country. Her speeches wer a great inspiration to the Dutch people.

Dutch Geography

The Netherlands until the NAZI invasion had been a safe haven for several thousand German Jews. This changed almost over night wth the stunning German military success. Dutch geography trapped the Jews in the Netherlands. It was virtually imossible to escape from the Netherlands. They were in effect pinned in. Jews in some other country's had neighboring countries to which they could flee. Danish Jews managed to reach Sweden. Some French Jews were able to reach Spain nd Portugal. Dutch Jews had no where to flee. The Netherlands is bordered by Germany and Belgium. Germany was obviously out and the Germans had also occupied Belgium to the South. The Netherland had a long Northsea coast, but it was heavily patrolled by the Germans. Given the conditions in the Northsea and distance to England, only a substantial ship could make the trip and it was impossible for such ships t avoid the German patrols. The geography of the Netherlands itself offeered no refuge. It is flat and heavily populated. There wer not heavily forested or mountaneous areas in which to hide. [Wolfe] Only about 3,000 Dutch Jews managed to reach neutral countries and saftey.

German Occupation

Arthur Seyss-Inquart

Arthur Seyss-Inquart was born Stannern, Austria during 1892. His father was a teacher. As a youth the family moved to Vienna. Seyss-Inquart entered univesity and studied law. His studies wer interupted by World War I and he servd in the Austro-Hungarian Army. He fought in actions against both the Eussins and Italians. He was severly wounded in 1917. He became a lawyer after the War and became asociated with right-wing groups like the German Brotherhood. He was strongly nti-semitic and an advocate of Anschluss with Germany. He had various posts in the Austrian Government as a result of German pressure, including Minister of Interior (meaning the police) and for a few hours became chancellor before the NAZIs seized control and Austria was annexed to the Reich. He was given various assignments by the NAZIs, including governor of Ostmark (Austria) and minister without portfolio in Hitler's cabinet. After Germany invaded Poland in September 1939, Seyss-Inquart served as deputy governor under the brutal Hans Frank. After the Germans seized the Netherlands in May 1940, Hitler appointed Seyss-Inquart Reich Commissioner. He was seen as successfully eased the NAZI occupation and annexation of Austria and Hitler hoped that he could be as useful in the Netherlands. Hitler also hoped to eventually annex the Netherlands. [Warmbrunn, p. 27ff.] In his first addressed to the Dutch people, Seyss-Inquart assured the Dutch people that Germany would not impose NAZI ideology and that they would respect existing Dutch laws. Of course he had not attention of such an approach and waged a relentless campaign against Dutch Jews. After the War, he was arrested and charged with war crimes. The charges against him read in part, "Following his assumption of office in the Netherlands on 29 May 1940, Seyss-Inquart, pursuant to the authority vested in him as Reich Commissar of the Netherlands by the Fuehrer decree of 18 May 1940, systematically promulgated decrees designed to implement the Nazi program of persecution and elimination of Jews." [Nuremberg Tribunal] He was found guilty and hanged in 1946.

Occupation Government

The Germans declared that the Netherlands a Reichskommissariat. Hitler named Arthur Seyss-Inquart as Reich Commissioner. He simply took over the esisting the Dutch civilian administration. [Woolfe] He decided that retaining the efficient Dutch civil service would ease the problems of rationing, security, communication, and the transfer of Dutch resources to Germany. The Dutch Government had left the Netherlamds in the hands of the Secretaries-Generals. They were senior civil servants in charge of each government department who were expected to run their departments as best as best they could under the German occupation. Actually the Dutch Government in 1937 issued a vaguely written concrning how the Secretaries-General should conduct affairs if the Netherlands was attacked. Basically they were insructed to continue in office as long as what they were benefiting the Dutch people and not the occupiers. This infact was not that easy to determine. Some Secretary Generals resigned when the NAZI design on the Netherlands became apparent. Others remained in office with the justification that they could help moderate NAZI measures. This rarely was possible and the continued presence of the Secretary Generals in fact provided useful political cover for the NAZIs, cloaking many measures with authority of the Dutch Government. Seyss-Inquart quickly acted to begin changing aspects of Dutch society that would resist the imposition of NAZI totalitarianism. He quicklytook control of instruments tht could be used to mold public opinion: radio, the press, and the schools. [Warmbrunn, p.35.] Austrians played a major role in the German administration. Not only Reich Commissioner Seyss-Inquart was Austrian, but many other ranking officials. The Höhere SS und Polizeiführer Rauter and thr Kommissar for the Economy Fischböck, and the Labor Chief Wimmer were all Austrians as were many lesser figures. A bitter irony was that Dutch food assistance had saved many Austrians from starvation after World War I. [Stuck]

Occupation Regime

Unlike Poland there were no mass killings of Jews or burning of synagoges as German soldiers occupied the country in May 1940. German soldiers behaved correctly. There were none of the attrocities carried out in Austria and Poland. The NAZIs wanted to eventually win over the Dutch people so that they like the Austrians would eventually participate in the New Order. The NAZIs administered the Netherlands differently than other occupied countries in the West (Belgiumm Denmark, and France). Most scholars believe that if Germany had won the War that the Netherlands would have been annexed to the Reich. [Woolf] Seyss-Inquart ruled by decree. Over the 5 years he governed the Netherlamds (1940-45), he issued hundreds of decrees. Contrary to his pledge, he turned the Netherlamds into a throughly NAZI police state. He succeeded in most of his objectives with the exception od winning over the Dutch people. Of course this was of little consequence as long as the Germans controlled the country

Racial Aspect

German occupation policies were strongly influenced by the racial make-up of the occupied population. The Dutch population was in fact more Aryan than the German population and thus for the race-obsessed NAZIs like Hitler and Himmler it would be a valuable addition to the Reich that was unable to significantly increase its own birth rate. It would be virtually mass Eindeutschung. Thus the major goal of the German occupation was to prepare the Dutch for absorbption into the German Reich. [Warmbrunn, p. 27ff.] A Dutch reader takes issue ith our comment about the racial make up of the Dutch people. "The Dutch are probably no more racially pure than the Germans themselves, having absorbed a large influx of French Protestants after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes (1685). Also a steady trickle of people from Latin countries were attracted to the Dutch Republic's wealth in the centuries thereafter. Even so, when after occupation the Dutch proved to be recalcitrant, the NAZIs are said to have considered relocating large numbers of Dutchman (a German gentleman once told me : all of the Dutch population) to the East. There, in Poland, the Ukraine and Russia, settled amongst hostile Slavs, they would, so the NAZIs thought, rally to their German cousins and thus strengthen the colonizing effort that was going to turn these lands forever into Germanic-dominated 'Lebensraum'."

Dutch NAZIs

The principal Dutch right-wing nationalist pary was the Nationaal-Socialistische Beweging--NSB (Nationalist Scocialist Movement). Like the several smaller groups, the NSB which was founded in 1931 by civil engineer Anton Adriaan Mussert, was inspired by the NAZI example across the border in Germany. Unlike the other groups, however, the NSB did not advocate union with Germany and did not adopt the swastika. These policies probably explain the NSB's broader appeal. The Party stressed Dutch patriotism and won a few parliamentary seats in 1935, but achieved weak results in the 1939 elections. Many saw the Party's fortunes waning. The NSB's position of course changed in May 1940 when the NAZIs invaded the Netherlamds.

Dutch Anti-semitism

While the Netherlands was a bery tolerant society there were some who hated Jews. Many of the Dutch right-wing parties in the 1930s were nor virulently anti-semmetic. Some even had Jewish members. The NSB with the rise of NAZI Germany sought to allign itself with the NAZIs and gradually adopted anti-semitism as a major tennent of the party even before the 1940 invasion. As a result beginning in 1941 NSB members launched their own campaign against the Jews. They bullied the owners of businesses to put up signs reading: Joden Niet Gewenst (Jews Not Wanted). NSB thugs began acting like SA Stormtroopers and began entering Amsterdam's Jewish district looking for Jews to assault for sport. Some Jews in response formed self-defense groups.


In a clash between NSB gangs and the Jewish defense groups, a NSB member was killed. This was followed by the death of German poilcemen during an attack on a Jewish-owned ice cream parlor. The Germans respnded in force, entering Amsterdam's Jewish District and arrested 425 young men at random. Almost all of these men were sent to the Mauthausen concentration camp in Austria. They were all dead within 3 months, either killed outright are sucumbing to the brutal conditions. Camp authorities sent each family informing them of the man's death. The reality of NAZI rule became increasingly apparent as these telegrams began arriving. Few Dutch Jews had heard of Auschwitz yet, but they all now knew about Mauthausen.

The Jewish Council

The Germans in 1941 formed a Jewish Council. This was step taken by the NAZIs in the other occupied countries. Two men involved in the German refugee relief agency, David Cohen and Abraham Asscher agreed to head the Council. The Jewish Council played a controversial role, especially when the NAZI's began deportations in July 1942. The NAZIs promised to exempt employees of the Council from deportment for "labor service" as well as their immediate family. The Council oversaw a variety of social, health, and educational programs for the Jewish community. Operations were financed principally by the money the Germans had confiscated from Jewish bank accounts. The NAZIs after most Dutch Jews had been deported, revoked the exemptions and in September 1943 arrested the employees of the Jewish Council, including its senior directors, Asscher and Cohen, and deported them.

Anti-Jewish Measures

Many of his decrees were inconsequential, but slowly they created thge circumstances that permitted the NAZIs to murder most Dutch Jews. Seyss-Inquart took a gradualist appraoch. NAZI officails had not yet worked out precisely what was to be done with the Jews. The stunning success in the West had suprised most. With France defeated, Hitler was master of Europe and he and his inner circle could now proceed with what ever diobolical plans they desired. Immeduate deportation of Dutch Jews was impractical as camps did not yet exist to accomodate or as was soon decided to murder them. The first anti-Jewsish regulation was issued in July. It was inocuous and receiverd little notice. Soon more stringent decreeswere issued. Some academics and clerics protested. This that spoke up too loudly were arrested. Jew wre gradually foced to register and surrender bank accounts, businness, and other property. Accutomed to being good citizens many registered allowing the NAZIs to plan arressts and roundups. Deprived of their property, most Jews found it impossible to go into hiding which could be a very expensive proposition. Then they were required to wear a yellow star to make it easier to identify them.

February Strike (February 1941)

The underground Communist Party in sympathy with the increasing violence directed at the Jews and the increasing severity of the anti-Jewish measures called a sympathy strike. This was a courageous act. The NAZIs put te communists almost on a plain with the Jews. Even a suspion of involvement with the pary could resukt in a call from the Gestapo. In addition, Stalin at the time was in effect allied with the NAZIs and communist parties throughout Europe were under orders from Moscow not to incite the Gerrmans. The February Strike lasted 2 days. It began in Amsterdam and spread to several other Dutch cities. Hundreds of thousands of Dutch workers participated. It was the only mass protest in an occupied country to NAZI actions against the Jews. It was quickly suppressed with considerable brutality by occupation authoriries. [De Jong] Many Dutch people concluded that any further resistance to the NAZIs was futile.

Operation Barbarrosa (June 1941)

The Battle of Britain in many ways changed the course of the War. An invasion of Britain was impossible without air superiority. Hitler, fearing a cross-Channel invasion, decided that the only way to force the British to seek terms was to destroy he Soviet Union. He began shifting th Wehrmacht eastward to face the enemy that he had longed to fight from the onset--Soviet Russia. The nature of the War changed decisevely in the second half of 1941. The Germans invaded Russia in June 1941, launching the most sweeping military campaign in history. A Japanese carrier taskforce on December 7th, 1941, executed a surprise attack on the American Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor. The Japanese secission to strike America, allowed the Sovierts to shift Siberian reserves and in December 1941 launch a winter offensive stopping the Whermacht at the gates of Moscow--inflicting irreplaceable losses. The Germans who months before had faced a weakened Britain mow was locked into mortal combat with the two most powerful nations of the world. British now had the allies that made a German and Japanese victory virtually impossible.

Wannsee Conference (January 1942)

NAZI officials saw the mass killing of Jews in the Soviet Union in the summer and fall of 1941 as being conducted in a disjointed and uncoordinate fashion. Himmler became concerned about the psychological impact on SS members of personally killing Jews, especially women and children. Now that the NAZIs contolled virtually all of western Europe and millions of Jews, it was felt that a coordinated plan was needed to efficently execute the "Final Sollution". The SS was the principal tool, but the killing of millions necesitated the cooperation of many different Government agencies. The was originally scheduled for December 9, 1941, but had to be postponed because of the stuningly successful Russian offensive in front of Moscow and after Pearl Harbor, Hitler's declaration of war on America. The meeting was finally held on January 20, 1942 in the Berlin suburb of Wannsee. The meeting was a secret sesion attended by 15 senior NAZI officials. The purpose was to coordinate the "Final Sollution"-the murder of 11 million Europen Jews. that had already began in Poland and the Soviet Europe. The decission to murder the Jew had already been taken. The Conference was to coordinate and immplement that decission.


Once the death camps in Poland were operational, the NAZIs could begin deporting the Dutch Jews. Ferdinand Aus der Fünten, commander of the German Special Police in Amsterdam on June 26, 1942 summoned ranking members of the Jewish Council to a special meeting. He announced that the Germans had decided to send groups of Dutch Jews, aged 16 to 40, to do "labor service" in Germany. SS coordinator for the Holocaust Adolph Eichmann set up a branch of the Central Office for Jewish Immigration in each occupied country. This Office prepared the list of people to be conscripted. The quota was set at 4,000 Jews. Doing the mathematices, the 160,000 Dutch Jews could be deported in only 40 weeks. The Office had the records from the Jewish census compiled in January 1941 when virtually every Dutch Jew registered. The Central Office for the first group of deportees chose mostly young, single German Jews and had come from Germany. This seemed the most likely to be chosen for actual work. It also had the advantage of dealing with the most likely group to resist while many believed that they were actually being sent to "labor service". While many Jews receiving the notices did report as directed, the Germans realized that they were not going to meet their quota of 4000 Jews to be dispatched July 15. The Germans on July 14 randomly arrested 700 Jews as hostages. Despite the difficulties, more Jews refused to comply when receiving their notices. The first trainload of deportees were dispatched on schedule by the NAZIs on July 15. The Jews involved were fearfull, but hoped they were headed to "work camps" as the Germans had assurred them. They were in fact headed to the death camps that were now in full opperation. As fewer Jews complied with deportment notices. The Germans had by 1942 acquired considerable experience in such matters. Thgey stopped mailing the dportation notices. The NAZIs in August started arrest Jews and neighborhood round-ups forcing whole families at gun point out of their apartments. Gradually more and more Dutch Jews came to realize the terrible reality of what the deportations meant.


The Germans deported about 107,000 Jews from the Netherlands. About 30,000 Jews decided to go undrground and hide. The Dutch term was "onderduiken", meaning to submerge, as the Dutch call it. Almost all Jews lived openly until the deportation began. The decission to go into hiding was very difficult. Most Jews who went into hiding had to do so as individuals. Most Jews did not go into hiding, or begin to plan to do so, until the German began large-scale round-ups in the fall of 1942. Most of the Jews who went into hiding were German Jews who had fled to the Netherlands. There are a variety of reasons that despite the dangers, few Dutch Jews went into hiding. There were Dutch people willing to help the Jews. The Germans, Dutch NAZIs, and Dutch police managed to track down about half of the 30,000 Jews who went into hiding.


The Jews arrested by the NAZIs were assembled at the Westerbork cmp. The usual procedure was to start boarding the sealed cattle cars at 7:00 am on Tuesday. The trains left at 11:00 am. The NAZIs over the cours of the dportations dispatched 93 trains from Westerbork. The first one departed on July 15, 1942 and the last was dispatched September 6, 1944 as the British were moving into Netherlands. The trains were mostly routed to Auschwitz, about one-third went to other camps, primarily Sobibor. The transport to Auschwitz usually lasted about 2 1/2 days, passing through Germany to the Polish Camps. The ever-creative German propaganda machine ran newspaper articles claiming that Dutch Christians were "attacking" the Jews who had asked for protection from the German authorities, who were providing them a "place of refuge" in Poland. The grateful Dutch Jews were donating their possessions to the German people who they knew were having a "rough time of it" because of the Allied bombing campaign.

Death Camps

Labor service was of course a complete fiction. The purpose from the outset was murder and most of the Dutch Jews were killed within a few hours of reaching the camps.


The trains usually arrived in Auschwitz between midnight and early morning. Upon arrivl, the men and women were separated. This tore the families apart, just what many had sought to avoid. There was a selection for the children, the elderly, and anyone who looked sick or weak. They went directly to the gas chambers. Those initially spared would be subjected to hard work or certain unusual medical experiments. Few survived more than a month. The NAZIs deported about 60,000 Dutch Jews to Auschwitz; only 972 survived. [Woolf]


Sobibor differed from little from Auschwitz, except that it was purely a death camp. Almost all new arrivals were immediately killed upon arrival. The NAZIs deported 34,000 Dutch Jews to Sorbibor; only 2 survived. [Woolf]

Dutch Resistance

The Dutch resistance movement was slow to organize. The 1940 NAZI invasion had come as a great shock. The subsequent fall of France convinced many Dutch people that the NAZIs had essentially won the war and they would have to accept and accomodate themselves to the NAZIs. This slowly began to change as the British hung on in 1940 and then NAZI blitkrieg bogged down in Russia The entry of America into the War especially cheered the Dutch, although few understood how poorly prepared America was. NAZI brutality and the nature of NAZI ideology increaingly alienated the Dutch. The roundup and deportations of the Jews and the inductions for forced labor in Germany brought to the fore the true nature of the NAZIs. The Ressistance by mid-1943 had organized and began to play an important role. It was, however, to late to help many Jews. By that time most had been deported and murdered.


It is the accounts of the individual lives extinguished by the NAZIs that are most moving.The best known individual account of the Holocaust came out of the Netherlkands it was daiary kept by a young German refugee girl as she and her family his from the NAZIs. Ann Frank and her family almost survived. The NAZIs found them only a month before the Allies reached Amsterdam. The Franks and another family successfully hid for 25 months in a carefully hidden annex of rooms above her father’s former office. The Franls learned of the D-Day landings and begin to hope thatvthe Allies would soon liberate them. They were, however, betrayed to the NAZIs. Hitler and the NAZIs thought they could murder and destroy on traces of the Jews. Ironically it is Adolf Hitler's memoirs, Mein Kampf that today lies unread and largely forgotten--a distasteful footnote in history. The ideas expressed in it are now rejected and despised, while the book of the little girl they murdered continues to be read an inspire young people today. Ann left a record. Most of the children murdered by the NAZIs did not.


Accounts vary somewhat, but all accounts of the holocaust in the Netherlands are staggering. One report suggests that the NAZIs deported about 107,000 Jews out of Holland. Very few survided One source suggests about 5,000 Jews survived the deportations. Another source suggests about 112,000 Jews were killed [Dawidowicz, p. 366; Yahil, pp. 174-175; Hilberg, pp.373-379.] About 35,000 Jews in the Netherlands survived the War. The NAZIs succeeded in killing 75 percent of the Jews in the Netherlands. One historian claims that this was proportionately the greatest lost of Jewish life in the Holocaust, with theexception of Pland. [Woolfe]. It is a great tragedy as the Dutch were such a tolerant people whereas in many other countries there was intense anti-semitism. Holocaust Historian, Raul Hilberg, "Holland was the only country were the Jews never had a chance."

Dutch Jews Today

The Jewish community had played an important role in the cultural life of the Netherlands since the 16th century. The Dutch Jewish community was desimated by the NAZIs. Some believe that this irevocably ended Jewish life in the Netherlands. A Dutch reader writes, "Numerically speaking Dutch Jewry was decimated by the NAZIs and emigration to Israel after 1945 further reduced their numbers. Like most other sections of society, they have become highly secularized and the breaking down of traditional religeous and socio-political barriers in Holland has made them less visible as a group. But their prominent role in the country's cultural life has by no means come to an end. Some of our foremost post-1945 writers and publishers are Jews, and they are prominent in the arts, on the stage, in politics and the liberal professions."


Dawidowicz, Lucy S. The War Against the Jews: 1933-1945 (New York: Bantam Books, 1986.

De Jong, Louis. The Netherlands and Nazi Germany (Harvard University Press, 1990).

Marrus, Michael R. and Robert O. Paxton. "The Nazis and the Jews in Occupied Western Europe, 1940-1944" in Michael R. Marrus, ed. The Nazi Holocaust: Historical Articles on the Destruction of European Jews (London: Meckler, 1982).

Hilberg, Raul. The Destruction of the European Jews (Chicago: Quardrangle Books, 1961).

Nuremberg Tribunal. "Individual Responsibility of Defendants: Artur Seyss-Inquart," Nazi Conspiracy and Aggresion Vol. II. USGPO, Washington, 1946, pp.956-1004.

Presser, Jacob. The Destruction of the Dutch Jews (New York: E.P. Dutton & Co., Inc., 1969).

sTueck, Rudi. E-mail message, Secember 10, 2011.

Warmbrunn, Werner. The Dutch under German Occupation (Stanford, 1963).

Woolf, Linda M. "Survival and Resistance: The Netherlands Under Nazi Occupation," April 6, 1999.

Yahil, Leni. "Methods of Persecution: A Comparison of the 'Final Solution' in Holland and Denmark" in Michael R. Marrus, ed. The Nazi Holocaust: Historical Articles on the Destruction of European Jews (London: Meckler, 1982).


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Created: October 9, 2002
Last updated: 3:21 PM 12/10/2011