Westerbork Concentration Camp

Zwiggelte, Netherlands

The Dutch government established a camp at Westerbork in October 1939 to intern Jewish refugees who had entered the Netherlands illegally. The camp continued to function after the German invasion of the Netherlands in May 1940. In 1941 it had a population of 1,100 Jewish refugees, mostly from Germany.

From 1942 to 1944 Westerbork served as a transit camp for Dutch Jews before they were deported to extermination camps in German-occupied Poland. In early 1942, the Germans enlarged the camp. In July 1942 the German Security Police, assisted by an SS company and Dutch military police, took control of Westerbork. Erich Deppner was appointed camp commandant and Westerbork's role as a transit camp for deportations to the east began, with deportation trains leaving every Tuesday. From July 1942 until September 3, 1944, the Germans deported 97,776 Jews from Westerbork: 54,930 to Auschwitz in 68 transports, 34,313 to Sobibor in 19 transports, 4,771 to the Theresienstadt ghetto in 7 transports, and 3,762 to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in 9 transports. Most of those deported to Auschwitz and Sobibor were killed upon arrival.

The Westerbork camp had a 'double life.' While most inmates stayed in the camp for only short periods of time before being deported, there was also a 'permanent' camp population of 2,000 people, mostly German Jews, Jewish council members, camp employees, and certain other categories of persons exempt from deportation. The Germans encouraged 'normal' activities by this group, including metalwork, health services work, and cultural activities. A Jewish police unit kept order and assisted with the transports. In the end, however, most of the 'permanent' inmates were also sent to the concentration camps and death camps.

In early April 1945, as Allied troops approached the camp, the Germans abandoned Westerbork. Westerbork was liberated on April 12, 1945, by Canadian forces who found 876 inmates there.

References:

    Comments

    Your name



    Details

    Founded: 1942
    Category:

    User Reviews

    Powered by Google

    Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

    Historic Site of the week

    Roman Walls of Lugo

    Roman Walls of Lugo are an exceptional architectural, archaeological and constructive legacy of Roman engineering, dating from the 3rd and 4th centuries AD. The Walls are built of internal and external stone facings of slate with some granite, with a core filling of a conglomerate of slate slabs and worked stone pieces from Roman buildings, interlocked with lime mortar.

    Their total length of 2117 m in the shape of an oblong rectangle occupies an area of 1.68 ha. Their height varies between 8 and 10 m, with a width of 4.2 m, reaching 7 m in some specific points. The walls still contain 85 external towers, 10 gates (five of which are original and five that were opened in modern times), four staircases and two ramps providing access to the walkway along the top of the walls, one of which is internal and the other external. Each tower contained access stairs leading from the intervallum to the wall walk of town wall, of which a total of 21 have been discovered to date.

    The defences of Lugo are the most complete and best preserved example of Roman military architecture in the Western Roman Empire.

    Despite the renovation work carried out, the walls conserve their original layout and the construction features associated with their defensive purpose, with walls, battlements, towers, fortifications, both modern and original gates and stairways, and a moat.

    Since they were built, the walls have defined the layout and growth of the city, which was declared a Historical-Artistic Ensemble in 1973, forming a part of it and becoming an emblematic structure that can be freely accessed to walk along. The local inhabitants and visitors alike have used them as an area for enjoyment and as a part of urban life for centuries.

    The fortifications were added to UNESCO"s World Heritage List in late 2000 and are a popular tourist attraction.