The Nazi Occupation Of Holland Essay

921 words - 4 pages

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...

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