On 10 May 1940 the German army invaded Holland. The surprise attack was called “Fall Gelb”. The Dutch were not prepared for a war and after a resistance of five days and the bombardment of Rotterdam they had to surrender. The Royal family fled to England.

At first the occupiers tried a policy of fraternisation � an attempt to turn the Dutch people into Nazis. When this was not successful, their initial proper conduct changed.

Oppressing measures were started. Textiles and food were rationed; the press was muzzled and even taken over by the N.S.B. or the SS. (The Telegraaf , see “Press” -> “Miscellaneous”). Men were recruited for the “Arbeitseinsatz” (forced labour) in Germany. Any resistance was punished by shooting hostages and deportation (Putten). The word “razzia” (police raid) made its advent into the vocabulary of the Dutch.

In the concentration camps the resistance fighters were maltreated and tortured. The Jews were isolated and so theatres, restaurants, beaches, parks, the zoo, swimming pools etc. were made “Judenfrei”.(free of Jews). They were excluded from employment, stripped bare, humiliated, sent to the Westerbork camp and afterwards deported to concentration camps in Poland.

Some could find a hiding place in the house of the good people who risked their lives by doing so. Others were given the choice by the Nazis: sterilisation or deportation.

On 5 May 1945, the Allied forces freed the Netherlands.

Of the 110.000 Jews deported during the war, only 6.000 survived.

Click here to view the album The Netherlands