On September 29, 1943, Amsterdam was declared ‘Judenrein’. (Free of Jews) This happened after a major raid, in which 5,000 people, including the board and employees of the Jewish Council, were arrested and transported via Amstel station to camp Westerbork.
Those who were able to avoid the raids ended up in hiding places. A countrywide hunt for Jews in hiding was conducted. Several additional deportation trains left in late 1943 and early 1944. The solution of the Jewish ‘problem’ in the Netherlands was almost final. Against this background, and as Germany’s overall situation deteriorated, Arthur Seyss-Inquart wrote a summarizing report of the anti-Jewish campaign in the Netherlands.
“Reich Committee for the Occupied Netherlands Territories, The Hague to Party Chancellery Chief Bormann copies to General Commissars in Netherlands and Plenipotentiary Dr. Schroeder
February 28, 1944
Dear Party Comrade Bormann,
We have cleaned up the Jewish question in the Netherlands, insofar as now we only have to carry out decisions that have already been formulated. The Jews have been eliminated from the body of the Dutch people and, insofar as they have not been transported to the East for labor, they are enclosed in a camp. We are dealing here first of all with some 1,500 persons who have not been transported to the East for special reasons such as interventions by churches or by personalities who are close to us. In the main I have warded off the interference of the churches in the whole Jewish question in that I held back the Christian Jews in a closed camp where they can be visited weekly by clergy. About 8-9,000 Jews have avoided transport by submerging [in hiding]. By and by they are being seized and sent to the East; at the moment, the rate of seizures is 5-600 a week. The Jewish property has been confiscated and is undergoing liquidation.
With the exception of a few enterprises which have not yet been Aryanized, but which have been placed under trusteeship, the liquidation is finished and the property converted into financial papers of the Reich. I count on a yield of ca. 500 million Guilders [more than $250,000,000]. At some appropriate time the future utilization of this money is to be decided on in concert with the Reich Finance Minister; however, the Reich Finance Minister agrees in principle to the use of these funds for purposes in the Netherlands.
The question of Jews in mixed marriages is still open. Here we went further than the Reich and obliged also these Jews to wear the star. I had also ordered that the Jewish partner in a childless mixed marriage should likewise be brought to the East for labor. Our Security Police processed a few hundred such cases, but then received instructions from Berlin not to go on, so that a few thousand of these Jews have remained in the country. Finally, Berlin expressed the wish that the Jews in mixed marriages be concentrated in the Jewish camp Westerbork, to be employed here in labor for the moment. Herewith we raise the problem of mixed marriages. Since this matter is basic I turn to you. The following is to be considered with respect to marriages in which there are children: if one parent is brought to a concentration camp and then probably to labor in the East, the children will always be under the impression that we took the parent away from them. As a matter of fact, the offspring of mixed marriages are more troublesome than full Jews. In political trials, for example, we can determine that it is precisely these offspring who start or carry out most of the assassination attempts or sabotage. If we now introduced a measure that is sure to release the hatred of these people, then we will have a group in our midst with which we will hardly be able to deal in any way save separation. If, in short, there is a plan which is aimed at the removal of Jewish partners from mixed marriages with children, then the children of these marriages will sooner or later have to travel the same road. Hence I believe that it may be more appropriate not to start on this course, but to decide in each instance whether to remove the whole family or—with due regard to security police precautions—to permit the Jewish member to remain in the family. In the first case, the couple, complete with children, will have to be segregated, possibly like the Jews in Theresienstadt. But in that case one must remember that the offspring will get together to have more children, so that practically the Jewish problem will not be solved lest we take some opportunity to remove this whole society from the Reich’s sphere of interest. We are [now] trying the other way in that we free the Jewish partner who is no longer to have children, or who allows himself to be sterilized, from wearing the star and permit him to stay with his family. These Jews—at the moment there must be 4-5,000 in the Netherlands—remain under a certain amount of security police control with respect to residence and employability. For example, they are not permitted to direct an enterprise which has employees or occupy a leading position in such an enterprise. There are quite a few volunteers for sterilization. I believe also that we have nothing to fear any more from these people, since their decision indicates a willingness to accept conditions as they are. The situation with the Jewish women is not so simple, since the surgical procedure is known to be difficult. All the same I believe in time this way will yield results, provided one does not decide on the radical method of removing the whole family. For the Netherlands, then, I would consider the following for a conclusion of the Jewish problem:
- The male Jewish partner in a mixed marriage—so far as he has not been freed from the star for reasons mentioned above—is taken for enclosed labor to Westerbork. This measure would signify no permanent separation, but action of a security police nature for the duration of exceptional conditions. These Jews will be employed accordingly and will also receive appropriate wages with which they can support their families who will remain behind. They will also receive a few days leave about once in three months. One can proceed with childless female partners in mixed marriages in the same way. We have here in the Netherlands 834 male Jews in childless mixed marriages, 2,775 [male] Jews in mixed marriages with children, and 574 Jewesses in childless mixed marriages. Under certain circumstances these Jews can return to their families, for example, if they submit to sterilization, or if the reasons for separation become less weighty in some other way, or if other precautions are taken or conditions develop which make separation no longer seem necessary.
- The Jewish women in mixed marriages with children—the number involved is 1,448—should be freed from the star. The following considerations apply here: it is impossible to take these Jewish women from their families—the Reich Security Main Office agrees—if there are children under 14. On the other hand the women with children over 14 would in most cases have reached an age which would entitle them to request freedom from the star because it is hardly likely that they will have more children.
- I am now going to carry out the Law for the Protection of Blood [prohibition of intermarriage and extramarital relations between Aryans and non-Aryans] in the Netherlands, and
- make possible divorce in mixed marriages by reason of race difference. These four measures together will constitute a final cleanup of the Jewish question in the Netherlands. Since this regulation could in a certain sense produce a precedent for the Reich, even while in the long run the regulation of mixed marriages in the Reich will also apply in the Netherlands, I am informing you, Mr. Party Director, of my intentions in the hope that I may have your reactions. I wrote in the same vein to the Reichsfuehrer-SS [Himmler].
With best regards,