Persecution of Jews in the Netherlands

Wachttoren en omheining rond kamp Westerbork (collectie JHM)About 107,000 Jews were deported from the Netherlands via the transit camps at Westerbork and Vught. They were sent to extermination or concentration camps. The five destination camps were Auschwitz, Bergen-Belsen, Mauthausen, Sobibor and Theresienstadt.


In May 1940 the Germans invaded the Netherlands and almost straight away started implementing anti-Jewish measures to restrict the freedom of Jewish citizens. At that time the number of Jews in the Netherlands was around 140,000, while there were about 20,000 people of mixed Jewish origin. Regulations were enforced to restrict the freedom of Jews, and also to spread fear among them by carrying out brutal round-ups and deportations in 1941. Anti-Jewish ordinances and laws grew gradually more severe and cruel, with increasing prohibitions concerning work, school, businesses, shops, leisure activities and housing. Finally Jews were completely excluded from public life.


By mid 1942 the isolation of the Jews had been accomplished. On 26 June 1942 the Nazis issued an order to the Jewish Council in Amsterdam stating that Jews were now to be organized for what they misleadingly termed 'work in the East'. Jews were sent a summons for this by post. They reacted to the summons in different ways. Some went into hiding, while others tried to acquire temporary dispensation via the Jewish Council. Yet others decided to comply with the summons. Because if you didn't comply and register voluntarily you were likely to be arrested by the police and deported anyway. Between August 1942 and November 1943 the deportees were assembled in the Hollandsche Schouwburg.

See the chronology listing the measures taken by the Nazis in the Netherlands for the isolation and deportation of Jews.