AMSTERDAM — In February 1941, 9 months after the German Reich invaded and occupied the Netherlands, the primary pogroms started on Dutch soil. Native Nazi occasion members posted payments in store and cafe home windows that learn “Jews Not Wished.” Then they trolled the Jewish Quarter, breaking home windows and shouting jeers.
Younger Jewish males and boys ready to guard their neighborhood. When Dutch Nazis returned a number of days later, the Jews fought again. Avenue fights went on for days leading to many casualties, together with the loss of life of 1 Dutch Nazi, Hendrik Koot.
In retaliation, the Inexperienced Police — German Nazi officers in lengthy inexperienced coats and excessive boots — randomly grabbed about 400 Jewish males off the streets throughout a two-day sweep, finally forcing them into vehicles and driving off into the evening.
Many of the males had been by no means heard from once more. For greater than 80 years, nobody knew exactly what had occurred to them, and even what number of males had been taken away.
However a Dutch historian, Wally de Lang, made it her mission in 2017 to find the fates of every one of many males taken that day.
“It was not possible for me to understand that 400 individuals of this city simply disappeared, with out anybody understanding who they had been,” mentioned de Lang, who has spent a number of a long time writing about Jewish historical past within the Netherlands.
Her findings, revealed in a Dutch guide final yr, at the moment are being introduced as a commemorative exhibition, “The Raids of Feb. 22 and 23, 1941,” at Amsterdam’s metropolis archive, the Stadsarchief, till Might 8.
“Till now, the details of the razzias had been identified, however the destiny of the boys who had been rounded up weren’t,” mentioned Ben Braber, an professional in Dutch Jewish resistance in the course of the Holocaust, based mostly on the College of Glasgow.
The February razzias, or roundups, had been a prelude to a lot worse to come back. These males had been solely the primary of some 102,000 Jews from the Netherlands to be murdered in the course of the Holocaust, a determine that represents 75 p.c of the Dutch Jewish inhabitants.
De Lang discovered that 151 of the 400 males had been among the many early Jewish victims of Nazi gassing experiments at Hartheim Citadel, in Austria, the place Nationwide Socialist medical doctors and directors examined methods for killing individuals on a mass scale.
The British historian Mary Fulbrook, a professor of German historical past at College School London, mentioned that the methods used at Hartheim and different “euthanasia facilities” would later be employed at extermination camps like Treblinka, Sobibor and Auschwitz.
The deaths of the boys who had been seized in the course of the raids in Amsterdam, Fulbrook mentioned, got here on the “essential stage” within the Nazi genocidal program, when Nationwide Socialist leaders made the transition from “killing some Jews to killing all Jews.”
De Lang mentioned she began her analysis primarily to fill a spot within the historic report. The February razzias, she mentioned, had been the topic of surprisingly little scholarly consideration, particularly when put next with the February strike, a normal walkout by a whole lot of hundreds of Dutch staff, staged solely days later in response to the persecution of the Jews.
That occasion, acknowledged as the biggest European public protest on behalf of the Jews throughout World Battle II, has been commemorated yearly since 1946 with a ceremony in one of many squares the place the razzias occurred. The ceremonies have fun non-Jewish resistance and solidarity. The razzias current a special narrative, of Jews recognizing the burgeoning risk they confronted and performing in their very own protection.
“A lot consideration has been paid to the historical past of the February strike, however this was the precursor to that,” she mentioned.
De Lang may discover no single listing of the entire names of the boys picked up on Feb. 22 and 23, so she compiled her personal from a number of sources. She was in a position to put collectively 390 biographies, every of which has been added to a brand new database.
For essentially the most half, she discovered, the boys had been merely within the mistaken place on the mistaken time. One was coming back from a birthday celebration, whereas one other had gone out for groceries. Three brothers had gone collectively to select up their unemployment checks. Just a few had been on their manner residence from the theater.
The lads had been initially pushed to Schoorl army camp, within the dunes of the Dutch coast. At that time, 13 had been despatched residence as a result of they had been suspected of getting tuberculosis. The remaining had been deported to Buchenwald focus camp in Germany, the place 47 died within the subsequent two months. The remaining, 341 males, had been transported to Mauthausen in Austria, the place most of them had been put to work as slave laborers in a stone quarry.
Lots of the relaxation had been killed, in alphabetical order, in September 1941, she discovered, when too unwell or injured to work, they had been pushed to Schloss Hartheim, the Austrian citadel, the place the Nazis had already been poisoning disabled and mentally unwell individuals with carbon monoxide fuel.
Of the 390 males that de Lang tracked, solely two survived the conflict.
These rounded up within the Amsterdam raids had been principally males of their 30s or youthful, de Lang discovered, and the overwhelming majority had been poor and dealing class, employed as market hawkers, rag pickers, and scrap steel salesmen.
Lots of the males had not too long ago married and began households. De Lang discovered that that they had collectively left behind 24 pregnant companions. Frantic for information about their family members, these girls got scant info from the Dutch or German authorities. The few loss of life notices that trickled in recognized unlikely causes, like ulcerative colitis and normal sepsis, and even reproductive system illnesses that sometimes strike girls, not males.
Vogelina Kroonenberg, 18 years previous on the time, knew solely that her husband, Simon Groen, had been despatched to Mauthausen. Simon and Vogelina had been married for simply three weeks earlier than he was picked up within the February raids, and she or he was pregnant with their first baby, Rosette. The child was born in August.
“It’s going properly with our baby,” she wrote to him on Sept. 11. “Every single day, we exit strolling with both your mom or mine. I hope that you will note your daughter very quickly.”
The letter was returned unopened. Groen had been killed at Schloss Hartheim on Sept. 8. Finally a letter arrived with information that he had died of a number of sclerosis.
Vogelina by no means realized of his destiny. Desirous to be reunited with him, she went to Westerbork transit camp when ordered to take action, hoping she’d see him in Mauthausen. As a substitute, she was deported to Auschwitz and murdered there. Child Rosette had stayed behind together with her grandfather, who positioned her in hiding with a household in Blaricum.
The child’s location was betrayed, nonetheless, and she or he was deported to the focus camps Bergen-Belsen and Theresienstadt. She survived. After the conflict she went again to the household in Blaricum, who raised her on a quiet fruit farm. Solely her grandfather survived.
“I don’t bear in mind something about my mom, my father, my grandmother,” mentioned Rosette van Engeland-Groen, 80, in a phone interview. “I used to be introduced as a child to my foster mother and father. I used to be in focus camps, however I don’t know something about it. I feel I closed my thoughts to it.”
Rising up, she realized little or no about her household. “I couldn’t ask my grandfather, as a result of after I requested him one thing, he cried, so I didn’t ask lots,” she mentioned. “And no one else may inform me.”
She realized lots of the specifics for the primary time on the new exhibition, she mentioned, but it surely was all nonetheless very arduous to course of.
“It’s a really unusual feeling,” she mentioned. “ you belong to them however you haven’t any grip on it. You possibly can’t attain them anymore.”