Three-fourths of the 140,000 Jews who resided in Holland before the German occupation were departed to “unknown destinations” by the Gestapo, a correspondent of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency arriving here today established. About 80,000 of them had resided in the Netherlands for generations.
Although in great danger, Jews in Holland actively participated in hiding Allied airmen, securing false identity documents for them and helping them to cross into Belgium on route to England, the correspondent was told. Some of the airmen were sheltered in places which served as hideouts for Jews evading deportation from Holland. In this way hundreds of Allied airmen were saved from the Gestapo.
The Jews in Holland received a much rougher deal from the Nazis than even the Jews of Belgium or France. Only the fact that the Gestapo men accepted bribes saved some of them. The Germans even provided “Aryan” identity documents for Jews who were in a position to pay well for them.
The hunt for Jews in Holland was intensified last year. Twice each week cattle cars crowded with Jews left for Poland from the Westerbork camp where they were held for deportation. The Germans first took all the property of the interned Jews, including Jewelry and insurance policies. They then informed them that only those who would agree to be sterilized would be exempted from deportation. Only a few elderly men agreed.
Of the five hundred Jews who lived in Maastricht before the war, the correspondent found only six families who escaped deportation, due to the fact that they were safely hidden by non-Jewish neighbors. The 180-year-old local synagogue was used by the Germans as a warehouse. The Holy Scrolls were all saved, however, having been hidden in the vault of a local bank.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.