The Nazi Occupation of Holland

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On May 14, 1940 Holland surrendered to German Forces, and Dr. Arthur Seyss-Inquart was appointed Reichkommissar, the highest governing authority. He watched over a German administration that included many Austrian-born Nazis. These Nazis, in turn supervised the Dutch civil- service. This configuration proved fateful for the Jews of the Netherlands.

During 1940, the German occupation officials forbidJews from the civil-service and required Jews to register theassets of their business. In January of 1941, the German auth-orities required all Jews to register themselves as Jews. 159,806 people registered themselves as Jews, including 19,561 bornof mixed marriages. As of April 29, 1942, Jews were requiredto wear a yellow Star of David on their clothing. Deportationsof Jews from the Netherlands began in the summer of 1942. The final train to Auschwitz left from Westerbork on September 3, 1944. During these two years, the Germans and their Dutch helpers deported 107,000 Jews, mostly to Auschwitz and Sobibor, where they were murdered.

Everything worked against the Jewish population in Nazi-occupied Holland. Land wise, or geographically, the terrain is flat with no natural hiding places. With the open sea to the north and west, the German Reich to the east and Nazi controlled Belgium to the south; escape beyond the borders was difficult and dangerous.

There were three key factors to the success of the anti-Jewish measures in Holland. First, the public protests on the part of the Dutch population were immediately and ruthlessly suppressed with extremely severe repercussions. From that point on all protest became a more secret matter, conducted largely by small underground groups that focused on sabotage against the Germans, or in aiding Nazi victims, particularly Jews, to hide or escape. As these public protests ceased the Germans were encouraged to proceed with their systematic plan to empty the Jews from Holland.

The second factor was the German plot of setting up a Jewish Council, known a the Joodsche Raad it was composed of a group of prominent middle-class Jewish leaders, for the purpose of giving German commands more efficiently to the Jewish population. The Jewish leaders thought that by keeping the lines of communications open with the Germans that it would help the sullen Jewish population more than harm them. In retrospect it is easy to see how wrong they were, as the Council quickly became an oblivious tool of the German War Machine, actually delivering the Jews directly to the German deportation trains.

The third factor was the gradual implementation of the anti-Jewish measures, which lulled Jew and non-Jew alike into believing that despite the difficulties and in- conveniences, things weren’t that bad, and the German commands could be accommodated.

The following chronology of events shows how the German occupation government imposed its will upon the Jews of Holland. (All timeline info has been exactly copied as is; citation information is given on last page)May 14, 1940: Holland surrenders to Germany. Dr. Arthur Seyss-Inquart appointed Reichkommisar, the highest governing authority.

October 1940: Every government official must sign an affidavit that neither he, his wife, fiancé, parents, nor grandparents are Jewish.

Jews are not to be promoted or appointed to government jobs.

All businesses owned or operated by partly or fully by Jews, or in which Jews have financial interest, must register with German authorities.

November 1940: Jews in the Dutch Civil Service are dismissed.

December 1940: Persons of German blood are not allowed to work in Jewish households.

January 1941: All Jews residing in Holland must register with German authorities. Failure to do so is punishable by 5 years imprisonment or confiscation of property, or both.

The Jewish Council, Joodsche Raad, is established, consisting of 20 members, including rabbis, lawyers and middle class business men.

February 1941: The Amsterdam Ghetto is established following a series of incidents arising from an attack on the old Jewish quarter by a group of Dutch Nazi sympathizers.

March 1941: Germans begin to ”Aryanize” Jewish propertyThe Jewish Council is given authority over all Jewish organizations.

Jews can no longer travel without a special permit from the Jewish Council, can not participate in the stock exchange, can not hold cultural posts, or enter public parks.

April 1941: German identification cards issued to the Dutch populationJuly 1941: Jews who registered have there I.D. cards stamped with a large “J”.

August 1941: Jewish children are barred from public and vocational schools.

All Jewish assets, including bank deposits, cash, and securities are blocked in order to be confiscated. A maximum of 250 guilders (Dutch Currency) per month is made available to a Jewish owner of such assets, for his own use.

January 1942: Forced labor camps for Jews are established.

MAY 1942: Jews must wear a yellow star with the word “JOOD” printed on it.

Jews must observe a curfew between 8P.M. and 6A.M.

Jews are allowed to shop only between 3P.M. and 5P.M.

Public transportation for Jews is forbiddenTelephones are forbidden for JewsJews are forbidden to enter the homes of non-JewsGerman government is authorized to confiscate all Jewish property except for wedding rings and gold teeth.

July 1942: Deportation of Jews out of Holland beginsTwo concentration camps are established in Holland, Westerbork and Vught, from which Jews are shipped to other camps, primarily Auschwitz.

September 1943: In the last major round up, 5000 Jews, including the Jewish Council leaders, are sent to Westerbork.

May 1945: Holland is liberated by the Canadian Army.

Work CitedWeb SitesLand-Webber, Ellen. TO SAVE A LIFE: Stories of Holocaust Rescue. 1984, 2005. rescuers /book/Strobos/Conditions.Holland.htmlUnited States Holocaust Memorial Museum. The Netherlands. Copyright c. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington, D.C.