Dutch Camp Survivors Remember Wwii Experiences

A ceremony of remembrance took place last week at the former concentration camp of Westerbork, in the northeastern Netherlands.

Dutch officials, some 500 survivors, many from abroad, and pupils from local Dutch schools were among the 2,000 participants at the April 12 commemoration, which marked the 50th anniversary of its liberation.

Speaking at the ceremony, Robert Leviusson, who escaped from Westerbork in 1943, said Dutch authorities should consult Jews, who have experience in being refugees and absorbing refugees, in connection with the large number of foreigners seeking asylum in Holland.

Another speaker was Ruth Fuychs, who was born in Westerbork only a few weeks after the liberation. Now living in Israel, Fuychs said her birth served as a sign to her parents that they could have confidence in the future again.

With its lush green meadows, Westerbork today is very different from what it was during World War II. Although the camp originally was set up by the Dutch in 1939 to shelter Jewish refugees from Germany, Westerbork served as the main transit camp for Dutch Jews arrested throughout Holland were held in Westerbork before deportation to other camps. At the end of the war, 900 Jews were liberated from the camp.

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