A Reassessment of the Dutch Record during the Holocaust

  • Suzanne D. Rutland


The story of an organized Jewish community in the Netherlands spans three and a half centuries. From their arrival, Jews in the Netherlands enjoyed tolerance and security and the community flourished, attracting further Jewish immigration. As with other parts of Europe, the Dutch Jewish community was virtually decimated by the Holocaust. At the outbreak of World War II there were 140,000 Jews in Holland of whom only approximately 30,000 survived. Today the Dutch Jewish community numbers about 30,000. This paper will seek to reassess the record of the Dutch people during the Holocaust, analysing why such a high proportion died during the Holocaust and why, despite having the worst record of any Western country, Holland has for such a long period of time maintained such a positive image. It will do so by investigating six central questions: What were the origins of Dutch Jewry? How were the Jews marginalized in Dutch society from 1940 to 1941 ? How was the destruction process implemented? What percentage of Jews survived compared with other Western countries? Why did such a high proportion die and why is the Dutch record in regard to the saving of Jews seen in such a positive light?


Jewish Community Jewish Population Dutch Society Jewish Child Dutch People 
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    I would like to acknowledge the assistance of Dr. Jozeph Michman, consultant on Dutch Jewry for Yad Vaskem, the Memorial to Holocaust survivors in Jerusalem, who kindly read my manuscript for my Preface for Opposite the Lion’s Den, relating to Dutch Jewry during the Nazi era and Professor Yehuda Bauer, Avraham Harman Institute of Contemporary Jewry. See Daniel Johannes Huygens, Opposite the Lion’s Den: a story of hiding Dutch Jews (Sydney: Brandi and Schlesinger, 1996). I would also like to thank Professor Konrad Kwiet, an expert on Dutch Jewry during the Holocaust, for his comments and assistance with the most recent literature on the topic published in English.Google Scholar
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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 2001

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  • Suzanne D. Rutland

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