haven Holland was not only a good haven 1933-1938]
[The first refugee wave -
Mrs. Gertrude van Tijn - partly return to the Third
Reich in 1936]
One of the major havens for refugees in Europe was
Holland, with Belgium not far behind in importance.
Holland had no visa requirements for entrants from
Germany, and it was therefore quite easy to escape to the
friendly republic to the west.
In March 1933 an ad hoc refugee committee was first
created there under the auspices of David Cohen, a
professor at the University of Amsterdam, who was active
in Jewish causes. After the April 1 boycott in Germany,
the stream of refugees increased considerably, and
Professor Cohen and his collaborators asked Mrs. Gertrude
van Tijn, a social worker of independent means who was
herself of German Jewish birth, to take over the refugee
[1933: Committee for
Jewish Refugees set up - economic crisis and
unemployment - the committee advises the Jews back to
the Third Reich]
A Committee for Jewish Refugees was set up, and
fund-raising machinery was created. In 1933 some 3,682
refugees arrived in Holland,
(End note 76:
-- R19. For statistical material on Holland, see also:
-- JDC report for 1934, and:
-- JDC report for 1933 and the first months of 1934,
both in the JDC Library. Also: R16, monthly bulletin nos.
1 & 2, 3/6/35 [6 March 1935])
and they were helped to either integrate into the Dutch
economy or emigrate. For this latter undertaking another
committee was set up, in which Mrs. van Tijn also occupied
a central role. As in France, there was never enough
money, and when there was little chance of either
emigration or absorption into the Dutch economy - there
were 451,000 unemployed in Holland in 1936 out of a
population of 8,000,000 - the committee could only advise
the refugees to return to Germany.
[because in Hitler Germany the unemployment was going down
massively and chances for work were better there].
In 1933, 615 are said to have returned; by 1934 the total
number of returnees was between 1,200 and 1,500. This was
about a fourth of the total number. The rest were either
absorbed in Holland or emigrated (5,500 in 1933 and 1934).
[1934: Mrs. van Tijn announces the liquidation of
the Dutch Jewish Relief Committees]
With the relative abatement of anti-Semitic persecution in
Germany in 1934, it seemed that the emergency might soon
be over. Mrs. van Tijn, in a memorandum entitled
"Liquidation of Dutch Jewish Relief Committees", wrote
that soon the whole problem would be solved. She was not
expecting much more help from JDC, and consequently did
not know what to do with the refugees that still remained.
"As we have from the beginning always repatriated as many
people as possible (in all nearly 900), it will not be an
easy matter to send back many people now. In some cases
the alternative (p.170)
of stopping relief money is being adopted."
(End note 77: 30-Germany, refugees 1934/5, van Tijn memo,
7/22/34 [22 July 1934])
[Removal of German Jewish
refugees - and of "old" non-German Jewish immigrants
from before 1933, too]
The Dutch government was also anxious to remove these
refugees from the Dutch cities, and Kahn reported in
August 1934 that even non-German Jewish refugees who had
come to Holland and Belgium prior to 1933 were being
repatriated. 2,000 such "old" immigrants were being
threatened with expulsion by the Dutch.
(End note 78: Ibid. [30-Germany, refugees 1934/5, van Tijn
memo, 7/22/34 [22 July 1934]; Kahn report, 8/22/34 [22
The relations between the Dutch committee and Kahn in
Paris were excellent; in retrospect it appears that Mrs.
van Tijn thought they were more rosy than they actually
(End note 79: Oral testimony (H) of Mrs. van Tijn (1968).
Cf. also Mrs. van Tijn's memoirs (manuscript), p.8; thanks
are hereby expressed for permission to use this valuable
[JDC pays for Dutch
The committee repeatedly threatened to close its doors
because the means put at its disposal by local Dutch Jewry
and by JDC and other bodies simply were not in proportion
to the needs. At the last moment it was always JDC that
provided the needed sums; Kahn was very partial to Mrs.
van Tijn's powerful personality, accurate bookkeeping, and
German Jewish background, and in New York these sentiments
were echoed as well.
(End note 80: Germany, organizations and institutions,
"C"-Holland, letter to Kahn, 1/7/34 [7 January 1934].
Executive Committee, 3/26/35 [26 March 1935], where Jonah
B. Wise declared that the Dutch Committee "needs
assistance and should get it. They work efficiently and
constructively." See also: R14, Kahn's report for 1935, in
January 1936; and sources in note 79 above).
[Rising number of Jewish
refugees after Nuremberg laws 1935 and after occupation
of Austria and CSR - Holland makes border crossing
By the end of 1934 some 9,000 Jewish refugees had arrived
in Holland. There seems to have been a marked decrease in
1935, but after the Nuremberg laws in the autumn the
movement increased again. In 1936, especially toward the
end of the year, an estimated 600 people were coming in
monthly. Of these, many found a solution to their problems
by themselves; but over 1,000 people were dependent on the
committee, and 361 had to be supported by it.
In 1937 another
decrease in the flow of refugees made the local committee
believe that its task might soon be over. But 1938, with
its multiple disasters in Austria and Czechoslovakia,
caused the flow of refugees to increase again. Dutch
restrictions on the entry of Jews from Germany grew, and
border-crossing became very
Expenditures in Holland 1933-1939
|(End note 81: Sources:
-- 34-Germany, refugees in Holland, 1941/2;
-- Holland-report 1936.
that these figures included a part of HICEM
expenditures in Holland, because JDC
contributed to HICEM expenses. Between 1933
and 1936 the total expenditure of the Dutch
Committee came to 1,690,537 Dutch guilders, of
which JDC's direct contribution came to
334,677, or 20 %. HICEM's expenses came to
189,608, and CBF [Central British Fund for
German Jewry] contributed 57,040; the rest was
covered by money raised from Dutch Jewry).
difficult. All told, probably at least 30,000 Jewish
refugees entered Holland from Germany between 1933 and
(End note 82: 31-Refugees, 1939/42; for other figures
quoted in the text, see: Executive Committee, 11/24/36,
and sources for Table 10).