In 1942, Jews were being rounded up and taken to concentration camps such as Westerbork. By the end of the war, 75% of Holland's Jewish population had been killed.
Photographer: Charles Bönnekamp, Member of the Resistance.
Fewer than 5,000 Jews survived the concentration camps.
"My way to learn about something, to understand it, is to read about it in a book. You know, I have plenty of books about the Holocaust, but no matter how much you read about it, you still can't understand it--you can't understand what people went through; you can't have their experiences. I went through a lot, but to not make it through, that horror I have not experienced. My family members that died in the camps have gone through it; I have not."
"Of course the German measure that affected me, and all of Holland's Jewish citizens most was the deportation to what they advertised as "Work Relief in Germany," but that in reality was for most a journey to the mass murder of the death camps." -Ed Lessing (Holocaust Surivor, Interview)
"Countless friends and acquaintances have gone to a terrible fate. Evening after evening the green and gray army lorries trundle past. The Germans ring at every door to inquire if there are any Jews living in the house. If there are, then the whole family has to go at once. If they don't find any, they go into the next house. No one has a chance of evading them unless one goes into hiding. Often they go around with lists, and only ring when they know they can get a good hail. Sometimes that let them off for cash--so much per a head. It seems like the slave hunts of olden times. But it's certainly no joke; it's much too tragic for that. In the evenings when it's dark, I often see rows of good, innocent people accompanied by crying children, walking on and on, in charge of a couple of good chaps, bullied and knocked about until they almost drop.No one is spared--old people, babies, expectant mothers, the sick--each and all join in the march of death."
"'There is another fence with barbed wire, and there are mine fields between, and we have trained dogs. So don't ever try to escape. You will get shot, or killed by the current, or ripped to pieces by the dogs, or else you'll step on a mine.'"- Diet Eman
"Nakedness in front of those soldiers, the prison gown, and that warning--that was our introduction to the concentration camp at Vught."-Diet Eman
One day, at the beginning of the half hour break, two prison guards grabbed me and hauled me to the square in the middle of the prison camp. "Here, Jew, we have something to show you!" In front of me, lying in a bloody heap were bodies of men. So silent and still...so dead. A look of horror and pain was frozen on their twisted faces. Pinned to the body of one of them was a note: "This Is What We Do With Dutch Resistance Movement Workers ."
-Ernest Cassutto (The Last Jew of Rotterdam)
"I've only got dismal and depressing news for you today. Our many Jewish friends are being taken away by the dozen. These people are treated by the Gestapo without a shred of decency, being loaded into cattle trucks and sent to Westerbork, the big Jewish camp in Drente. Westerbork sounds terrible: only one washing cubicle for a hundred people and not nearly enough lavatories. There is no separate accommodation. Men, women, children, all sleep together. One hears of frightful immorality because of this; and a lot of the women, and even girls, who stay there any length of time are expecting babies. It is impossible to escape; most of the people in the camo are branded as inmates by there shaven heads and many also by their Jewish appearance. If it is as bad as this in Holland whatever will it be like in the distant and barbarous regions they are sent to? We assume that most of them are murdered. The English radio speaks of them being gassed."
-Anne Frank (The Diary of Anne of Frank)