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 forbid
Jews from the civil-service and required Jews to register the
assets of their business. In January of 1941, the German auth-
orities required all Jews to register themselves as Jews. 159,8
06 people registered themselves as Jews, including 19,561 born
of mixed marriages. As of April 29, 1942, Jews were required
to wear a yellow Star of David on their clothing. Deportations
of 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... [continues]
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