Excursion to Dachau

day trip

One might be forgiven that the title implies a current school trip to Dachau, but the title refers to another kind of trip to the notorious death camp.

The Dutch Nazis, the NSB. did not have the same level of hatred against, Jews,Roma and disabled people as their German counterpart. Himmler was aware of this but he needed support for the SS from the Dutch.

In January 1941 ,Himmler invited the leader of the NSB,Anton Mussert to Munich.

Mussert and Himmler

Most of the NSB leadership accompanied Mussert on his journey to Munich.The aim of the meeting was to make Mussert enthusiastic for the SS so he would encourage Dutch men to join them.

As part of the trip an excursion was planned to Dachau, but to ensure the Dutch delegation would not be shocked by what they saw there, the whole excursion was staged on January 20,1941.

They were shown good dormitories, great sanitary utilities and a well equipped  kitchen with high quality and fresh food. In short the wool was pulled over their eyes.

In an interview in jail in 1946, Mussert stated.

“That time when I visited Dachau, it was beautiful. People were walking around in the open air, they were busy gardening.baking and painting. They were all smiling. Later on of course I realized that this was all staged”

Although they did not have the same level of evilness as the NSDAP, the NSB were nevertheless willing participants in the Holocaust. Mussert may not have been fully aware what was going on in Dachau in January 1941, since it was reasonably early on in the war, but he knew exactly what the fate of the Jews was later on and he facilitated the occupying Nazi regime in any way he could.

The whole trip was a propaganda exercise. It is also a clear indication that the Nazis knew exactly that what they were doing was wrong, for they even hid their crimes for their ‘friends’.

Dachau visit

 

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Source

NIOD

 

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Jews in the NSB

NSB

Many European countries had an equivalent of the NSDAP(Nazi) party, the Dutch National Socialist party was the NSB. It may be hard to believe nowadays but not every National Socialist party started off as an anti-Semitic party, as was the case with the NSB.

The NSB even had Jewish members, and the party leader ,Anton Mussert, emphasized in the party’s news paper,Volk en Vaderland(people and Fatherland) that the NSB was not an anti-Semitic party and Jews were welcome.

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He also wanted to make it clear that the NSB was nothing like the German NSDAP,it felt more aligned with the Italian Fascist party.

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He claimed that the Jews would always be an integral part of the future of the Netherlands and they had nothing to be worried about.

However that prediction and promise became null and void the minute the Nazis took power in the Netherlands.

Although initially the Jews who had been active members of the NSB were excluded from deportation.

Between February and April 1943 eight ‘NSB Jews’ and the artist,Jo SpierS ,  were interned under the protection of Mussert in Villa Bouchina, a parsonage of the Christian Reformed Church in the City of Doetinchem. They became to be known as the ‘Mussert Jews’

Villa

The villa was empty because the resident Reverend J.TH. Meesters was taken to camp Amersfoort on 11 September 1942 for his participation in the Dutch resistance, where he was executed on 15 October 1942.

Eventually on  April 21 1943, these Jews were taken to Camp Theresienstad.Two of the 9 survived the war , Jo Spiers en Kaatje van Lunenburg .

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Holocaust in the Netherlands

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Some people believe that when the Germans invaded the Netherlands in May 1940 the life of its Jewish population changed over night.

This however was not the case. Like in other European countries the undermining and eventual eradication of Jewish life was a gradual process.

Until September 1940 very little changed,It was only then when the German occupation of the Netherlands started to have an impact of the 170,000 Jews living there.  A series of anti-Jewish measures started to male life  difficult.

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Throughout 1941, the situation for Jews in the Netherlands got worse.  Jews were banned from public places, subjected to nighttime curfews and travel restrictions. Jewish students were also thrown out of schools and universities. Then, during late 1941, the Joodse Raad(Jewish Council) was tasked with providing lists of workers as the Germans opened a number of forced labour camps.

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In may 1942 Jews were ordered to wear a yellow Star of David containing the word Jood (the Dutch word for Jew). As a sign of protest some Non Jewish Dutch also wore the Yellow star.

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Deportations of Jews from the Netherlands began in the summer of 1942 and lasted until September 1944. Approximately 75% of the Dutch Jews did not survive the war.

A Substantial albeit minority part of the Dutch population being sympathetic to the Nazis ideology(or idiocy) .The NSB were the dutch equivalent of the NSDAP in Germany, they subscribed to the same Fascist  ideas.

nsb

However there were many Dutch who risked their own lives and that of their families to save their Jewish neighbours. he NV-Groep (Nameless Company). The group was set up by by the brothers Jaap en Gerard Musch.(picture is of Jaap}Jaap.JPG

They were a resistance group dedicated to helping Jewish children find hiding places. Many of the children they helped hide, survived the war. The picture below is a picture of some of the children being a bit brave but cheeky by forming the letters NV in a field, this picture was taken in 1943 while the war was at its height.NV

Unfortunately not everyone was as lucky as these children were.The geography of the Netherlands made escape difficult. The ruthless efficiency of the German administration and the willing cooperation of Dutch administrators and policemen doomed the Jews of the Netherlands.

I have come across many pictures of Dutch Jews being killed in death camps or pictures of their remains, and initially my thought was to end this blog with some of those pictures. However I changed my mind, although I do think it is important ti show the horrors of the Holocaust in the graphic ways, we do sometimes forget that the victims weren’t always victims., they were also people like you and me. Therefore below pictures of my  some of my fellow human beings as they were before they were butchered.

Etty Hillesum

Julius Spier and  Evaristos Glassner

julius

Jaap Hillesum brother of Etty on his 21st birthday.

jaap hill

Bram Beem

bram

Eva and  Bram Beem

Eva en Bram

Students of a Jewish secondary school during summer recess in 1940. I don’t know how may ,if any, survived the war.

MULO

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Sources

Joods Monument

Yad Vashem

Nationale Jeugdstorm- The Dutch Hitler Youth.

“Jeugdstorm” boys with Standart Flag

When standing at attention for a long time, once the musical director gives the sign, the horn may be placed under the right arm’ These and other strict instructions applied to playing the Nationale Jeugdstorm (NJS, National Youth Storm) trumpet.

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With the Hitlerjugend  (Hitler Youth Movement) in Germany as their example, the Dutch Nazi Party (NSB) established the NJS, a Dutch youth movement for ten to eighteen year olds. Sports, games and entertainment went hand-in-hand with physical training and preparation for military service.

GEEN CAPTION

National Socialist principles and admiration for Mussert and Hitler were key. Music played an important role, especially to add lustre to the many parades and marches. Practically every chapter had its own band. Just like in the NSB, discipline and obedience ruled. Every member was required to react without delay to different trumpet signals: to rise to one’s feet, to assemble or when a fire broke out. Almost all the youngsters were children of NSB members. During the war, membership in the NJS grew to more than 12,000.

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Once they reached the age of 18 they seamlessly enrolled into either the Waffen SS or the ” Nederlandse Arbeidsdienst” Dutch labor service.

Arbeidsman

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Anton Mussert-Dutch Fascist

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Anton Adriaan Mussert ( 11 May 1894 – 7 May 1946) was one of the founders of the National Socialist Movement in the Netherlands (NSB) and its formal leader. As such, he was the most prominent Dutch fascist before and during World War II. During the war, he was able to keep this position, due to the support he received from the Germans. After the war, he was convicted and executed for high treason.

anton_mussert_arrested_at_korte_vijverberg_street_in_the_hague-_1945

Anton Adriaan Mussert was born in Werkendam, Noord-Brabant, Netherlands. In the 1920s, he became involved in right-wing political movements that advocated a Greater Netherlands by annexing Dutch-speaking neighboring regions. On 14 Dec 1931, he abandoned his profession as a civil engineer and founded the National Socialist Movement political party (Nationaal-Socialistische Beweging), or NSB, along with other like-minded activists such as Cornelis van Geelkerken.

 

A fan of Benito Mussolini, Mussert ruled NSB along a similar model Mussolini had successfully used in Italy. As Italy grew closer to Germany, Mussert grew close to her as well, especially that Adolf Hitler’s vision to annex all German-speaking regions under German rule matched exactly his vision for the Netherlands. In Nov 1936, he met Hitler for the first time, and he remained in communications with Berlin from that point on until 1945.

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His political agenda matched many of Germany’s, though Mussert was careful in not allowing the racism to taint Dutch politics.

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A state of siege was declared by the Dutch government in April 1940 after the foreign correspondent for the New York Times, Vladimir Poliakov, spread the false news that Mussert’s followers were preparing to kidnap Queen Wilhelmina as part of a coup.

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On 10 May, German troops invaded the Netherlands and Mussert was permitted to suppress all political parties other than the NSB.

Mussert was not appointed prime minister of the occupied nation. Instead, Austrian Nazi Artur Seyss-Inquart was appointed as the Reichskommissar, while Berlin summoned Mussert to control his uncooperative countrymen.

Mussert responded by working with the Gestapo in stopping resistance to the German occupation. On 21 June 1940 Mussert agreed to have NSB members train with the SS-Standarte ‘Westland’.

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On 11 September, Mussert instructed Henk Feldmeijer, to organise the Nederlandsche SS (Dutch SS) as a division of the NSB. Mussert had nothing to do with the raising of an all-Dutch volunteer SS unit, the SS-Freiwilligen-Legion Niederlande. Regardless, thousands of Dutch citizens were arrested.

During the subsequent occupation, over 100,000 Dutch Jews were rounded up and transported to concentration camps in Germany, German-occupied Poland and German-occupied Czechoslovakia. By the time these camps were liberated, few Dutch Jews survived.

 

In February 1941, Mussert agreed and oversaw the formation of the 23rd SS Volunteer Panzer Grenadier Division Nederland, which trained in Hamburg. In November 1941, the legion was ordered to the Eastern front near Leningrad, under the overall command of Army Group North. The division acquitted itself well alongside its German allies, but suffered large losses.

On 8 December 1941, the independent Dutch administration in the Dutch East Indies declared war on Japan, the ally of Nazi Germany. After the Japanese invasion and occupation and the subsequent internment of 100,000 Dutch civilians and 50,000 military personnel, Mussert requested a meeting with Hitler. On 13 December 1942, Hitler declared Mussert to be “Leider van het Nederlandse Volk” (Leader of the Dutch People).

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Having lost control of the Dutch SS and the military units that were serving in the Wehrmacht to his Nazi masters, Mussert had his last meeting with Hitler in May 1943, where he was told that he would never have political control. Following the unsuccessful Operation Market Garden in September 1944, that included a supporting strike by Dutch railway workers, the German authorities forbade food transport by rail, resulting in the Hongerwinter of 1944/45, during which 20,000 died.

ondervoed_kindje_hongerwinter

https://dirkdeklein.net/2016/05/25/hunger-winter-the-dutch-famine/

By the end of the war, 205,901 Dutch men and women had died. The Netherlands had the highest per capita death rate of all German-occupied countries in Western Europe, 2.36%.Another 30,000 died in the Dutch East Indies, either while fighting the Japanese or in camps as Japanese POWs. Dutch civilians were held in those camps as well.

Upon the surrender of Germany, Mussert was arrested at the NSB office in The Hague on 7 May 1945. He was convicted of high treason on 28 November after a two-day trial, and was sentenced to death on 12 December. He appealed to Queen Wilhelmina for clemency. She refused. On 7 May 1946, exactly one year after his arrest and four days before his 52nd birthday, Mussert was executed by a firing squad on the Waalsdorpervlakte, a site near The Hague, where hundreds of Dutch citizens had been killed by the Nazi regime.

executie

 

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