The Holocaust in the Netherlands: Anti Jewish Measures (1942)

Figure 1.--Here we see Jewish school children in 1942. They look like younger children who are just beginning school. Notice that at least two teachers are with them. By this time the Jewish children had been forced out of public schools. For a short tome they we able to attend schools set up by the Jewish community. At the time this photograph was taken, the transports to the death camps had alreay begun. Often children under 10-years of age were not required to wear the badges, but some of these children look much younger.

The NAZI plans of how to kill the Jews in the occupied teritories were finalized in January at the Wannsse Conference. Based in the decisions taken there, Seyss-Inquart and NAZI authorities in other countries began to enact more anti-Jewish regulations that would prepare for the scheduled compleltion of the gas chambers at the Polish death camps in July 1942. Authorities in early 1942 methoidically forced Jews living outside Amsterdam to move to the city. The objective of course was to concentrate the Jews so when the time came they could be more easily tounded for transport to the death camps. The Jewish Council was given the task of housing Jews noving or brought to Amsterdam. The Jewish sections of Amsterdam imcresingly began to look like ghettos. Many Jewish families by 1942 were in desperate straits. Most men had lost their jobs and had no way of supporting their families. Bussinessmen had been stripped of their busniesses and bank accounts had been seized. Doctors, lawyers and other professionals could only accept Jewish clients and fewer and fewer such clints could afford to pay for services. More and more Jews were becoming empoverished. This was not just a matter of cruelty and avarice on the part of the NAZIs, but they were fully aware that empoverished Jews would be much easier to round up when the time came. Beginning in 1942, the NAZIs began forcing Jewish men to perform manual labor in special work camps.


The NAZIS in early 1942 began concentrating Jews into Amsterdam. I'm not sure if there was a sprecufic regulation here. Jews were prohibited from moving, except if it was to Amsterdam. The NAZIs began forced labor camps for Jews in January. The NAZIs in 1942 intensified their efforts to Arayanize Jewish businesses, forcing Jews to sell their businesses to non-Jews or attempting to simply steal them. Some Jews managed to transfer their businesses Dutch assoaciates or friends who held them in trust. Otto Frank did this by turning his jam business over to Henk Gies, the husband of a sympethetic employee. Otto Frank as a German was proactive. Many Dutch Jews not fully understanding how the NAZIs operated did not take steps like taking their money out of the banks and getting assetts out of their own names.


The NAZIs NAZIs introduced the yellow star (early May). Regulations made any infringement of new regulations to have very serious consequences (May 21). The NAZIs used the Jewish Council's Het Joodchse Weekblad (The Jewish Weekly) to publish the anti-Jewish regulations. It was the only newspaper Jews were allowed to publish and of course was censored by the NAZIs. Jews were prohibited from sexual contact with non-Jews. Interracial marriages was prohibited. The NAZIs also prohibited Blacks from sexual contact with Aryans. The NAZIs also restricted Jews from further areas of employment. This included charity work and jobs in companies operated by non-Jews. NAZI authorities prohibited Jews from riding in cars (March 20, 1942). There were a few exceptions for Jews riding in ambulances and hearsts or involved in war work. Another regulation on prohibited Jews from moving furniture outside of their homes without permission (March 20, 1942). [Anderson] All motor vehicles owned by Jews were seized. Jews were prohibited from using public telephones, here I am not sure about the date of the regulation, but I believe it was March.


The NAZI in April made the the German Nuremberg race laws applicable to the Netherlands. Gentiles and Jew were prohibited from marrying and sexual intercourse between the two "races" ws made a felony under the law. The NAZIs on April 29 issued the infamous dcree requiring Jews to wear yellow stars (Decree 13). Jews in Poland and Germany were previously required to wear the stars. This made it easy to pubically humiliate them as well as to simplify their identifcation. Jews were required to wear yellow stars on clothes in public with "Jood" written on them. This was to distinguish them from Aryans so they could be publicly humiliated and make it easier to identify them. The introduction in the Netherlands was cordinated with similar actions taken in Belgium and France. This was timed with thge coming on line of the Polish death camps. The stars made roundups easier. All Jews when in public no had to wear the yellow star badge with the word Jood (Jew). The star had to be sewn over the left breast of outer clothing, it could not be pinned on which would have allowed it to have been easily taken off and put back on. The star was to be about the size of a palm so it could be easily seen. The Jews had little option as the penalties for being caught without the star were very severe. Jews found without Stars coulfd be sentenced to 6 months inprisonment and/or a 1,000 guilder fine. NAZI authorities gave the Jewish Council nearly 0.6 million Stars and ordered them to distribute them within 3 days. The Jewish Council objcted, but of course such protestations ere ignored. Jewish families received a circular informing them of the new decree and where the Stars could be purchased. They cost was four Dutch cents each and the purchaser had to use a clothing ration coupon. The initil decree was modified to explain that children under 6 yers six did not have to wear the badges. (Here the NAZIs knew that such young children need not have to be visually identified as they would almost always be under the care of their parents or older siblings.) The badges had to be sewn on the clothes and absolutely could not be pinned so it could not be easily removed. Jews were terrified about this new regulation. Most other Dutch people were apauled. Many tried to show support. The underground newspaper, De Vonk sureptiously printed 0.3 million Stars with the script changed to "Jews and Non-Jews are ones." The NAZIs soons discouraged sympathetic Dutch from wearing these stars. The NAZIs arrested 23 students at one school and sent them to the Amersfoort concentration camp for 2 weeks. The Stars of course would simplify the roundups that the NAZIs were planning. [Anderson] A Dutch reader writes, "we used to live in Utrecht and we never went to Amsterdam. I was 11 years old when the Germans invaded Holland. And we had no opportunity or desire to go to Amsterdam. We also had Jews living in our neighborhood. We saw them with the star of David attached to their clothes, sometime they tried to hide it by covering their chest with a briefcase or purse. We saw fewer and fewer Jews as the War progressed until we did not see them anymore."


The NAZI authorities ordered Jews to turn in jewelry, precious metal, and art to LiRo (May)/. The collected valuables were mostly seized without compensation by LiRo and the Einsatzstab Reichsleiter Rosenberg (ERR). These entities were supervised by the German General Commissariat for Finance and Economic Affairs. [Hilberg, p. 379 and Simpson, p. 56.] Art dealers were in the possession of large stocks of works. It was not only rich families held valuable art works. Since the 17th century, many "moderately prosperous middle class families" possessed art including paintings and ceramics of some value. Jewish families of course were some of those failies. [Van Rappard-Boon] One estimate suggests that about 14,000 pices of art were looted by the NAZIs from Dutch Jews. After liberation, many works of art plundered from the Netherlands were repatriated. About 3,500 paintings were recovered from Germany. Only abot 600 were returned to the original owners, in part because few of the owners survived. More than 10,000 pieces of art are still missing. [Simpson, p. 56.] Efforts to recover looted art continue. [U.S. Holocaust Museum and Van Rappard-Boon] Jewish families were restricted to withdrawing no more than 250 guilders monthy from the funds they had been forced to deposit in special accounts, a family could now draw no more than 250 guilders a month. The NAZIs prohibited Jews from recieving fishing permits (May 21). They also closed more professions to Jews, including pharmacy, accountancy, and pawn brokers. The NAZIs ordered Jews to turn in any bicycles they owned (May 21). The only exception were Jewish Council employees. [Anderson]


More regulations were implemented in June. Authorities prohibited Jews from a range of recreational activities, including canoeing, rowing, swimming, fishing, and bicycles (June 14). The modst severe new regulation was a curfew for all Jews. Jews had to remain in their homes from 8:00 pm until 6:00 am. The NAZIs also prohibited Jews from entering the homes of non-Jewish Dutch people. Jews were only permitted to shop in non-Jewish businesses from 3:00 to 5:00 pm, by which time many food stores would be sold out. (Jews had to shop in non-Jewish shops because by this time the NAZIs had seized most shops owned by Jews. The NAZIs were prohibited from frequenting non-Jewish barbers and hairdressers. Another NAZI decree prohibited Jews from using trains or other public transportation. Exceptions were made for Jewish Council employees or Jews doing war work. One of the last NAZI anti-Jewish regulation was a prohibition on Jews using public phones. Authorities disconected the telephones of Jewsish subscribers. This could be done because the NAZIs as a result of the 1941 registration had the addresses of virtually all Jewish families. [Anderson] The most serious action taken by the NAZIs during the month was the beginning of deportations (June 26). The NAZIs desguised the purpose of the deportations as war work in Germany . Jewish men and women who were between the ages of 16 and 40 were first targeted. The NAZIs set a quota of 1,000 Dutch Jews weekly. Ann Frank wrote in her diary on the eve of the deportations wrote, "Our freedom was severely restricted by a series of anti-Jewish decrees; Jews were required to wear a yellow star; Jews were forbidden to use streetcars; Jews were forbidden to ride in cars, even their own; Jews were required to do their shopping between 3 and 5 p.m. Jews were required to frequent only Jewish owned barbershops and beauty parlors; Jews were forbidden to be out on the streets between 8 pm and 6 am.... Jews were forbidden to visit Christians in their homes; Jews were required to attend Jewish schools. You couldn't do this and you couldn't do that. But life went on." (June 29, 1942) [Frank]


The NAZIs began as scheduled to deport Jews to Polish death camps in July. No further anti-Jewish masures were needed. The NAZIs sent out notices for labor service. Most Dutch Jews thought or hoped they were going to do labor service in Germany. Few attmpted to hide, in part because thy did not have the resources to do so and had not started to make plans when it might have been possible. German Jews in the Netherlands had a more realistic appreciation of the NAZIs and began making plans earlier. Margot Frank, Ann's older sister, received a notice for labor service. (Many of the German Jews in the Nethelands were the first to receive these notices.) The Franks were German Jews and knew what the NAZIs were like. There father had prepared a plan and the family immediately went into hiding with the Van Daans. [Frank] Dutch Jews did not generally go into hiding. The NAZIs began the transports (July 15). The NAZIs regularly every Tuesday morning transported 1,000 Dutch Jews. Most of these Jews were sent to Auschwitz. Smaller numbers were sent to Sobibor (34,000), and Bergen-Belsen, and Theresienstadt. The NAZIS succeeded in deporting most Dutch Jews and very few survived the camps.


Dutch Jews soon began to stop reporting for transport. When Jews began failing to report as required, NAZI authorities began round ups, Jews were often rounded up from their homes in the middle of the night, unexpectedly. The NAZIs began large scale seizures and transports from Ambsterdam where Jews had been concentrated. More than 2,000 Jews were deported from Amsterdam (November 1942). Gone was any pretense of war work. Whole families were rounded up meaning that it was obvious that wirk was not involved..


Aalders, Gerard. Department of Research, The Netherlands, State Institute for War Documentation, Amsterdam, Plundering of Jewish Assets During the Second World War, Archival Reports online, June 30, 1999.

Anderson, Anthony E. "Anne Frank was not alone: Holland and the Holocaust" [Online], October 24, 1995.

Frank, Anne. The Diary of A Young Girl.

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

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).

Zabludoff, Sidney Jay. Looted Jewish Assets: Nazi Seizures, New York: World Jewish Congress, June 29, 1998).

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Last updated: 9:08 PM 11/2/2015