Singling Out the Dutch Jews

On 29 April 29, 1942, the Nazis announced a new law to further humiliate the Dutch Jews. From 3 May, they had to wear an identification mark—a six-pointed yellow Star of David with the word Jood [Jew] in its centre. The star made it possible to recognize people as Jews on the street. The Nazis wanted to further isolate and single out Jews from the non-Jewish Dutch. Failure to wear the star was severely penalized. Non-compliance could lead to being sent to a concentration camp.

The majority of the Dutch Jews considered themselves primarily Dutch, and only secondarily Jewish, Judaism was their religion, other than that they were Dutch.

The Jewish Council was instructed to distribute the stars among the Dutch Jews within three days. They were obliged to buy four stars per person for four cents each and were also to be worn by children aged six years and up. A total of 569,355 Stars of David were distributed. In today’s terms that means that the Nazis would have earned $218,969, and this is only in the Netherlands, you can multiply this roughly by anywhere between 50-80 or so across the rest of Europe. That’s just my estimate based on the amount of Jews living in Europe at the time.

Singling out Jews wasn’t something new in Europe. In medieval Europe, the Fourth Lateran Council under Pope Innocent III of 1215 decreed that Jews and Saracens should wear distinctive clothing. Its implementation was left to the local authorities. This was not immediately adhered to everywhere, however, in the following forty years, the position was repeated 29 times by popes and councils. This had a clear effect and as early as 1218 Henry III of England decreed that Jews had to wear a sign, while from 1221 Frederick II in Sicily had ordered them to wear a blue sign. Similar measures were also announced in the rest of Europe, although it would take until 1270 before the Jewish hat was made compulsory in the Holy Roman Empire. Over time, it became not only a sign of distinction but also of inferiority.

After the new law in May 1942, some Jews wore the star with pride, others experience it as a humiliation.

The brothers Abraham and Hartog Benjamins wear the Star of David. Woudrichem, 1942

The new measure is also causing a stir among non-Jewish Dutch people. Some people protest by wearing a self-made star with Catholic or Aryan. Others greeted Jews in the street or gave up their seats on the tram. After a while the outrage subsides and the gap between Jews and non-Jews grows.

They were made by the Enschede textile factory De Nijverheid. This Jewish family business, as it was then, worked under an Aryan Verwalter, a non-Jewish agent, in this case, a German. Incidentally, the origin of the stars only came to light in 1997, during an investigation set up by the Jewish Historical Museum. They were previously assumed to have been produced in Poland.


On Sunday, 3 May, it became clear that the Nazis had gotten their way. Checking compliance was easy, after all, Jews had the J stamp on their identity card. Some Jews wore the star ‘with pride’. Others joked about it; the Jodenbreestraat in Amsterdam was briefly called the Milky Way because of all those stars.

On 1 May (Labour Day) 1942, the group around the revolutionary, socialist resistance newspaper De Vonk carried out a daring protest in Amsterdam, they distributed 300,000 notes bearing a star and the text Jew and non-Jew in battle!

A lot of those notes were dropped from the Bijenkorf (department store) building onto the Damrak.

In the beginning, to the anger of Nazi supporters, there were quite a few expressions of sympathy for the Jews. In Deventer, for example, on Monday morning, 4 May 1942, large groups of students came to school with counterfeit Stars of David on their clothing. Twenty students from the Agricultural School were arrested; they then spent two weeks in concentration camp Amersfoort, where they emerged emaciated and exhausted.

A female diarist from the province of Gelderland, noted on Sunday, 3 May 1942:
“Joop entered the church this morning with a so-called Star of David. I was afraid that there was too much at stake. Will go to jail if necessary for my conviction…If everyone did it, it could make an impression, but there are few. In the evening he already told me that he had taken off that star in the afternoon because a granddaughter of Dr Lugtenburg had already been arrested for it. It’s hard to know what to do.”



So many words can be read and written about the Holocaust, but it is often the images that stick in ones mind. They say a picture paints a thousand words. In this blog there will only be pictures, and although all of them are horrific. none are graphic. There will be no description with the pictures because I believe they all speak for themselves.


Robbed of Their Humanity

Like in Germany itself, the Holocaust in the Netherlands didn’t happen overnight it was a gradual process.

Less than two months after the Nazi invasion of the Nethera]lands, Jewish employees of the Dutch Air Raid Defence Service were dismissed. It was the first in a long line of anti-Jewish measures. Jews were gradually isolated from the rest of the population in the Netherlands.

The Nazis went about this very systematically. Jews had to register and their identity cards were stamped with a J for Jood (Jew). Jewish business owners were required to report to an assigned Verwalter, an Aryan supervisor who would take over the operation of their businesses. Measures to restrict freedom of movement followed in 1941: Jews were banned from public places such as parks, swimming pools, sports facilities and museums. Jewish children were forced to attend Jewish schools and even needed permission to travel. More and more signboards appeared on the street with the text Voor Joden Verboden (Forbidden for Jews).

In May 1942, Jews were required to wear a yellow star. These stars were printed on inexpensive yellow cotton in De Nijverheid, a textile factory in the Dutch city of Enschede that had previously belonged to a Jewish family. The company had been confiscated from them shortly before and placed under German supervision. The approximately 100,000 yellow stars needed in the Netherlands were probably printed on this one 10,000-metre roll of material. Production most likely took no more than a day. This made the sale of these stars for four cents each a rather lucrative business. In addition, to pay for the purchase price Jews had to turn in a textile ration coupon. Yes you are reading that correctly, they had to pay for it.

The deportations from the Netherlands began two months later under the guise of “employment.” Instead Jews were sent to extermination camps where they were killed.

In October 1939, the first German and Austrian-Jewish refugees fleeing Nazi Germany and Austria arrived in Westerbork. They were involved in the internal organization of the refugee camp starting in 1940, as well as later on when it officially became Polizeiliches Judendurchgangslager Westerbork {A Transit Camp for Jews at Westerbork).

The general supervision of the camp was in the hands of the SS and early on they were also responsible for the security in the vicinity of the camp. Daily life inside the camp was overseen by different Jewish work groups, including the Ordedienst (Lit. Order Service). The members of this group, who wore these green coveralls, were responsible for fire safety and internal security. They supervised the labour gangs, both inside and outside the camp. They also guarded the people scheduled for transport to the concentration and extermination camps. At times the Jewish Order Service was also deployed for razzias (roundups) in Amsterdam, to retrieve the sick from their homes and for instance to empty the Jewish psychiatric hospital the Apeldoornsche Bosch in 1943. Needless to say, members of the Orderdienst were not particularly popular among Westerbork’s prisoners and were often referred to as the “Jewish-SS.” Eventually, most of the members of the Jewish Order Service were transported as well, to the extermination camps.


A Yellow star-marking the enemy

As of April 29, 1942, Jews in the Netherlands were required to wear a yellow Star of David on their clothing. This was to single them out as different from the rest of society. Although the only difference between the Jews and the rest of the Dutch population was their religion. Other then that they were the same. In fact some of the Jews had been in the Netherlands for hundreds of years and were more Dutch then many Dutch themselves.

Freedom of religion was a part of the Dutch constitution but of course after May 1940, the Dutch government had gone into exile and the country was occupied by Nazis, and I deliberately say Nazis and not Germans because some of the Nazis were Dutch.

There was no difference between the Jews and the Dutch, they were all the same. They were all Dutch, some were Catholic, some were Protestant. some where were Jewish and some others were Atheists. The similarities and the common ground outweighed the differences.

The Nazi regime saw the Jews as enemies of the state. They were considered inferior to the Aryan race. The fact that the Aryan race actually originated in Asia was completely overlooked by the Nazis. Their version of the Aryan race was of their own construct and was based on old mythical Germanic characters , or in short fairy tale creatures. Yet they had so many believing that this so called Aryan race was superior to everyone else, even though it was a made up race.

But as I mentioned earlier the Nazis saw the Jews as their enemy, and not just an enemy but their biggest enemy. Of course one would suspect that this enemy was a war mongering people. A real threat to society. Below are some examples of the enemies to the Nazi state.

Jansje and Benjamin Pais from Harlingen murdered in Auschwitz on November 23, 1942. Aged 8 and 9.

Jewish musicians, their weapons; violins, clarinets and an accordion.

Nurses from the Jewish Hospital in Amsterdam.

I have heard people ask why there was a Jewish Hospital in Amsterdam, yet I have never heard anyone ask why there were several Catholic Hospitals across the country.

People should realize it was not the similarities that made the Netherlands, but the tapestry of the differences that made it a prosperous nation.



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A Yellow star.

You are told to wear a yellow star. It is a badge to indicate that you are an enemy of the people.

Enemy of what people though?

Sometimes it says the word Jude other times it says Jood or Juif. In Yugoslavia you are told to wear a yellow armband with black “Z”, an abbreviations for the Serbo-Croatian word for “Jew”. as do the words Jude,Juif and Jude mean.

In other places there are variations of this badge but thy all are meant to do one thing and that is to single you out as an enemy. But we all know it is only meant to single you as a target, someone to blame for failures of others or themselves. However it is so much easier to blame others. it is a lazy way.

I want to give you another badge, It is a virtual one with the letter H which stands for Human Being, because that is who you really are a Human Being just like me.

And if they murder you they also kill a bit of humanity therefor also a bit of me.


I believe it is very important to keep history alive, but unfortunately that is not free. However I will not ask to pay for subscription , but if you want to donate it is very much appreciated, but only of you can.


Simple acts of defiance in Geleen-Greeting the Jewish neighbours.


Every once in a while I come across a story which makes me immensely proud to be a native from Geleen.

Those of you who read my blogs on a regular base, know that I was born in the town of Geleen in the south East of the Netherlands.

Most of the Jews who lived in Geleen during World War 2 were killed during the Holocaust. I am not saying that the Dutch could not have done more to save more of their Jewish neighbours , because there is more they could have done.

However on May 10,1940 the Netherlands got a rude awakening. They were too naive to believe that the Nazis would honour the Dutch neutrality. On may 10,1940 the Germans invaded the country.

Initially there was not that much change, not even for the Jewish population. But gradually new laws were introduced and often any breach of those laws was punished by death. It eventually became clear how evil the Nazis were and they ruled by instilling fear in the population.

However there were several times where the Dutch defied the Nazi regime . The biggest act of defiance was the February strike in 1941, where over 300,000 people joined the strike in protest against the treatment of the Jews. The strike was violently stopped by the Nazis.

But there were other small acts of defiance in the Netherlands. On May 2,1942 the Jews were forced to wear a yellow star on their clothes, to be visible at all time in public.

A citizen of Geleen,Rie op den Camp wrote in his diary on May 9,1942, “Silent resistance against the Jewish star. Many people greet all Jews they meet, Even if they don’t know them. Some non Jewish citizens even wear a star too. In many places people have removed the signs saying “Forbidden for Jews” The krauts have arrested some of these ‘offenders’ on several places.


I never knew about this, it is times like this when I feel a bit more proud to be from Geleen.


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. Thank you. 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.



A yellow star


I wear a Yellow star so that people know who I am.

Why? Didn’t they know me before?

The kids in my neighborhood don’t have to wear a Yellow star.

Am I different?

And if so, how am I different?

I breathe the same air, I read the same books, I play with the same toys.

I even look the same.

My mother says it’s because I am Jewish and we are no longer considered human.

I am wearing a Yellow star

The star of David

David, who my friends also know because they have heard of him in  their Sunday school.

They love his story because he was a great King and warlord

Why then ,do they look to this Yellow star of David as if it is a badge of shame.

I am Hanna Lehrer I was born in Munich,Germany but was killed in Riga,Latvia.