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Yehuda Bauer: My Brother's Keeper

A History of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee 1929-1939

[Holocaust preparations in Europe and resistance without solution of the situation]

The Jewish Publication Society of America, Philadelphia 1974

Transcription with subtitles by Michael Palomino (2007)



Chapter 6. The Beginning of the End
[H. Reactions abroad to the Reichskristallnacht and to the split of CSSR]

[6.22. Holland's police deports Jews without visas to the Reich]

A similar influx of refugees came into Holland. At the end of 1938 Mrs. van Tijn's Committee for Jewish Refugees [CJR] counted 7,000 refugees in Holland, including about 1,800 who had arrived at the end of the year after the November pogrom. Officially, no more people were supposed to come in after November 11, but a 1 million guilder guarantee by CJR prolonged the time limit to December 23.

(End note 117: For Holland, see:
-- Executive Committee, 4/19/39 [19 April 1939];
-- R46, January 1939 report;
-- 34-Germany, refugees 1935-41, 1938 report.

These are also the sources for the next paragraph in the text. Mrs. van Tijn reports (R52, 3/23/39 [23 March 1939] meeting of refugee committees) that the date of the closure of the Dutch border was December 17. I have not been able to clear up the discrepancy).

After that date the Dutch police became very strict and did not hesitate to deport entrants who were without visas. Nevertheless, the number of Jewish refugees in Holland in early 1939 grew by about 7,000 because quite a number of German Jews had obtained legal entry permits by showing that they had relatives who were already living in the country.

[Three camps for Jewish refugees - Westerbork - JDC help - vocational training]

Refugees continued to pour in through 1939. In order to care both for illegals who had been allowed to stay and for legal entrants who had no means of support, the government set up three camps for 600 persons. One of these camps was at Westerbork, the future deportation center, from which most of Dutch Jews went to their deaths in 1942-44.

JDC supported Mrs. van Tijn's committee as it had done in previous years, especially its Wieringen project, where 270 youngsters were receiving agricultural training in 1939, and the other Hechalutz training centers, where another 330 were preparing for Palestine. Most of these young people never saw the country of their destination - many were sent to their deaths in Nazi camps; other were to form the nucleus for one of the Jewish resistance groups in France during the war.