Regular as clock work

People nowadays often complain when a train is running late, me included by the way. However recently I have changed my way of thinking about that.

Throughout Europe, during World War 2 the railways were used to accommodate an industrialized scale of murder. This could only be done of the trains ran on time. The picture at the start of the blog is of a train at Westerbork, which was operated by the NS,Nederlandsche Spoorwegen (Dutch Railways).

Nearly 107,000 people were deported from camp Westerbork with 97 transports. On 15 July 1942 the first transport left for Auschwitz-Birkenau. From March 2, 1943 to November 16, 1943 there was a weekly schedule: every Tuesday a train with a thousand and sometimes more than three thousand people left. The last transport left on September 13, 1944.

The transport were regular as clock work.

In June 2019 the Dutch railway has accepted a recommendation that it pay up to €50m to relatives of thousands of people it transported to Nazi death camps during the second world war. That figure is really like a drop in the ocean.

sources

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/jun/27/dutch-railway-to-pay-out-50m-over-role-in-holocaust

Camp Vught-Concentration camp in the Netherlands

Before I start writing about Camp Vught in the Netherlands, there is something I have to get off my chest. Two days ago I was watching the Irish news, they were talking about the Stutthof camp, in connection with the recent detention of 96-year-old Irmgard Furchner, who worked as a secretary in the camp’s office.. The news reader said “Polish camp”. I immediately said “There will be complaints about this” and sure enough a day after Poland’s ambassador to Ireland protested against Irish national broadcaster, RTE.

In a letter to RTE CEO Jon Williams, Ambassador Anna Sochańska pointed out that wartime concentration camps in Poland were built and run by the Germans, who were occupying Poland at the time.

“This is completely wrong, because the death camps were Nazi-German camps in occupied Poland. Poland was under German occupation at the time when several Nazi-German concentration and death camps were operating on its territory,” Sochańska wrote.

Except for Ireland, UK, Spain, Portugal, Malta, Sweden and Switzerland all other European countries were occupied, or axis powers. In all occupied countries there were Nazis and Nazi collaborators, even in Poland. If the Polish government keeps denying that, they are betraying the memories of the brave Polish soldiers and resistance fighters who died fighting the Nazis and their helpers. They are distorting their own history and that helps no one, past and future generations will not thank them for it.

As you can see the title of this blog is “Camp Vught-Concentration camps in the Netherlands” and not occupied Netherlands.

The prisoners at Camp Vught included Jews, political prisoners, Sinti and Roma gypsies, and resistance fighters. They were subjected to slave labour and were forced to make products for the German war industry, such as torches and radios. Despite their difficult circumstances, the prisoners managed to resist even in the prison camp by sabotaging the goods they were forced to make.

The as camp located in Vught near the town of ‘s-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands. The camp was opened in 1943 and held 31,000 prisoners. 749 prisoners were murdered in the camp, and the others were transferred to other camps shortly before the camp was liberated by the Allied Forces in 1944. It is also known as ‘Herzogenbusch concentration camp’

After the war, the camp was used as a prison for Germans and for Dutch collaborators.

Camp Vught witnessed endless cruelty on order of the Nazi regime . One of the most infamous events was the bunker drama. On 15 January 1944, to punish prisoners for a women’s protest in the camp, the camp commander put 74 women in cell 115, a bunker measuring 9 square meters without ventilation. When the soldiers opened the bunker door the next morning, 10 of the women were dead.

Camp Vught was the only SS concentration camp outside Nazi Germany.

As I stated earlier every occupied country had indigenous people helping the Nazis, and to be honest I don’t know what I would do if I was put in that position. Many people helped the Nazis purely out of self preservation. The Dutch railways and the civil servants had a lot to answer for. Their actions enabled the murder of over 100,000 Jews and a great number of others. But the Dutch were not unique in this, the only difference is that the Dutch were more efficient because of a well oiled citizen registry.

It would have been physically impossible for the Germans to fight on 2 fronts, defend the Atlantic wall from Norway down to France. And control more than 44,000 incarceration sites, without getting help from the locals.

If we keep diluting history we will never learn from it.

sources

https://www.holland.com/global/tourism/destinations/provinces/north-brabant/the-camp-vught-national-memorial.htm

https://www.thefirstnews.com/article/poland-protests-irish-broadcasters-polish-concentration-camp-misnomer-25086

Marijke Godschalk -Murdered one week before her 2nd birthday.

Marijke Godschalk was born in Assen, the Netherlands, on June 18 1941. Less then 2 years later she would be dead.

Not because she was ill or had been involved in an accident. She died because of someone’s idea of her. Although she looked like any other Dutch or even German girl, I would even say she looked Aryan, she was deemed not worthy of life because she was Jewish.

Marijke Godschalk was deported to Sobibor in June 1943 from Vught via Westerbork on the so-called children’s transport. She was 1 year, 51 weeks old when she was murdered.

The train left on June 6,1943. It was not a German train she was on, but a Dutch train. According to a representative of the NS(Nederlandse Spoorwegen), Dutch Railways, the NS had “complied with the German order to make trains available. The Germans paid for it and said the NS had to come up with a timetable. And the company went and did it without a word of objection.”

I am struggling with this. Who was more guilty? The person who murdered Marijke, or the person who put her on the train, knowing that the likelihood of her survival were slim to none?

Marijke wasn’t the only child who was murdered. She was one of 1.5 million.

sources

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/en/page/151453/marijke-godschalk

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-49233817

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One man can make a difference-Salo Muller.

Salo

The Dutch Football club AJAX  FC is often seen as a Jewish football club, although it doesn’t actually have any Jewish roots. Although it has had a Jewish connection since the 1930s when the home stadium was located next to a Jewish neighbourhood of Amsterdam-Oost and opponents saw many supporters walking through the Nieuwmarkt/Waterloopleinbuurt (de Jodenhoek—the “Jews’ corner”) to get to the stadium.

Additionally it did employ several Jewish players like Sjakie Swart and Eddy Hamel for example. Another legendary member of staff was Salo Muller, seen above with another Ajax legend, Johan Cruijff. Salo  is a former physiotherapist at the club and was there at the time when the club saw some of its biggest successes.

But to me he is a hero for a different reason. Salo’s, parents were murdered at Auschwitz.

In 1941, when he was five, his parents were arrested by the Nazis and put on a train from the capital Amsterdam to Westerbork, where they spent nine weeks before being deported to Auschwitz and murdered.

He decided to act when he heard that the French government had agreed a $60m compensation fund with the US to be distributed among thousands of survivors and their relatives.He started a campaign to force the Dutch Railways to follow suit to pay compensation to the Dutch survivors of the Holocaust

In 1941, when he was five, his parents were arrested by the Nazis and put on a train from the capital Amsterdam to Westerbork, where they spent nine weeks before being deported to Auschwitz and murdered.

He decided to act when he heard that the French government had agreed a $60m compensation fund with the US to be distributed among thousands of survivors and their relatives.

According to NS, several thousand people could be eligible for the payments, including about 500 survivors and their direct descendants.

Nonetheless, the committee set up by the company acknowledged that “there is no reasonable or appropriate amount of money that can compensate in any way for the suffering inflicted on the persons covered by the scheme.”

When considering the amounts to be paid, the committee said, it noted that “although NS was an essential link in the transport to the concentration and extermination camps, it cannot be held responsible for the existence of these camps and the crimes that were committed there.”

The NS decided that it would pay each survivor  €15,000 (£13,000; $17,000), while €5-7,000 will go to children and widowed spouses of victims.

It had been a long struggle fro Salo Muller, several times he had been rejected by the NS, He was told that he was a nice man and they still knew him from his Ajax days, butthe NS  were never forthcoming in relation to payments. They had officially apologized for their role in the Holocaust, But only Yesterday they decided to pay compensation.

Just goes to show one man can make a difference.

ns

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Source

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Volkskrant

December 2 1975 Terrorist attacks in the Netherlands.

Train

On December 2, 1975, 7 South Moluccan terrorists hijacked a train with about 50 passengers on board in open countryside near the village of Wijster, halfway between Hoogeveen and Beilen in the northern part of the Netherlands. The hijacking lasted for 12 days and 3 hostages, including the driver were killed.

The terrorists were seeking independence for South Molucca, a group of islands in the Western Pacific under Indonesian rule. Indonesia had been a Dutch colony until the late 1940’s.

At  10:07 the emergency cord was pulled on the local train Groningen-Zwolle.

Simultaneously 7 other south Moluccan terrorists had occupied the Indonesian consulate in Amsterdam.

The train driver, Hans Braam, was immediately killed.

When on the third day the Dutch government had not give in to  the hijackers’s demands, 22-year-old national serviceman Leo Bulter was murdered and his body together with Hans Braam’s body  were thrown out of the train on the rails. That night 14 hostages managed to escape from the train.

The following day a young economist Bert Bierling was brought to the doors and shot  in full view of the police and the military as well as the press.

military

On December 11, the terrorists  released two elderly hostages after talks aboard the train with four mediators. This left at least 27 prisoners on the train.

On 14 December the hijackers surrendered. Among reasons for surrender were reports about retaliations on the Moluccan islands and the sub-zero temperatures in and around the train.

The occupation and hostage situation at the Indonesian consulate in Amsterdam ended on December 19. one hostage was killed.

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I am passionate about my site and I know you all like reading my blogs. I have been doing this at no cost and will continue to do so. All I ask is for a voluntary donation of $2 ,however if you are not in a position to do so I can fully understand, maybe next time then. Thanks To donate click on the credit/debit card icon of the card you will use. If you want to donate more then $2 just add a higher number in the box left from the paypal link. Many thanks

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