voormalig kamp westerbork

former camp westerbork

Lange tijd had ik de wens eenmaal Kamp Westerbork, in midden-Drenthe, de gruwelplaats van waaruit in de Tweede Wereldoorlog meer dan 100.000 Joden, zigeuners en verzetsstrijders in de Tweede Wereldoorlog aan hun laatste reis begonnen, te bezoeken. Het duurde 40 jaar voordat dit gebeurde. Het werd, zoals ik verwachtte, weer een pijnlijke en dramatische confrontatie met de afschuwelijke misdaden uit het verleden die niet in woorden te vatten zijn .......

'Frozen Tears'

For a long time I wanted to visit Camp Westerbork, situated in the province of Drenthe, the horror place from where in World War II more than 100.000  Jews , gipsies and  resistance fighters started their last yourney. It took me 40 years to do so. It was, like I expected, a painful and dramatic confrontation with the horrible crimes from the past which cannot be put into words .....



The National Monument Westerbork: the railway with bent rails symbolizes the horrible destruction. At the former call-over place there are The 102.000 stones. One for every murdered father, mother, daughter, grandfather, friend, class mate ....
The Signs in Westerbork remind of the destination of the trains, the destruction camps.



het verleden ~~ the past



heden ~~ today

Direct grenzend aan het voormalige kampterrein is nu een sterrenwacht gevestigd

Directly bordered on the former camp ground there now is an astronomical observatory

the 102.000 stones symbolize the camp prisoners who stood here at the call-over and  were killed in the concentration- and  destruction camps in Eastern Europe. The lying stones  were paved in the shape of The Netherlands. Except Jews also 200 gipsies and an unknown number of  resistance fighters died.




Bij het zien van dit onwetende vogeltje dacht ik onbewust terug aan wat mijn moeder in oorlogstijd zo vaak tegen me zei:
'De vogels vliegen en zingen net alsof het geen oorlog is .....'.

  This ignorant bird  reminded me of what my mother told me over and over again during the war: 'Birds fly and sing as if there is no war at all ...'.

de barakken ~~ the barracks



Anne Frank

The penal barracks formed a camp in a camp. They were separated from the other barracks by a barbed wire fence. Jews who had withdrawn themselves from the orders of the conqueror. Particularly caught persons in hiding belonged to the penal cases as was the family Frank. From her bed in penal barrack 67  Anne Frank saw the  moat and the fence. The penal prisoners lived in seclusion. The Nazi's told them that in Poland they would get worse a treatment than the other prisoners.


Potato cellar


Het huis van de Duitse kampcommandant ~~ the house of the German camp commander

de spoorlijn ~~ the railway

het begin van het einde .......... ~~ the beginning of the end .......


Deze plek is thans een Nationaal Monument

Today this place is a National Memorial



(Rampe [Duits] = laadperron ~~ Rampe [German] = loading-platform)

The deepening indicates where once the railway was. During the period 1942 - 1944 about a thousand camp inhabitants were forced  here each Tuesday to get into the cattle-waggons.


Ons volkslied - Het Wilhelmus - dat in de oorlog verboden was.

Our national anthem - The Wilhelmus - which was forbidden in the war

Westerbork Museum


In 1941 the German conquerors decided to remove all Jews from The Netherlands. They made the refugee camp Westerbork suitable for this deportation. July 1, 1942  it was taken in use as 'Judendurchgangslager '  ( = transit camp for Jews) . From that moment on Jews had to report themselves for transportation to Westerbork. The management of the Jewish Community was forced to co-operate. It was allowed to take luggage: one suitcase or rucksack filled with clothes - fixed beforehand - and utensils. Now and then big groups were rounded up and brought to Westerbork. Ten thousands of Jews  went underground.  Not everybody let himself lead away. A part of them went into the resistance. The Jews were taken to Westerbork in trains. In the camp they were registered. Valuables and money were robbed of them.


Friday 10 May 1940 : Proclamation of Her Majesty Queen Wilhelmina in a Dutch paper
Holland was at war with Germany ...........


These signs said 'No Jews allowed'  and - mind you! - the German soldiers ('Deutsche Wehrmacht')  were allowed to pay half the entry price for the movies ...

All Jews had to wear a yellow star with the word 'Jew' on their clothes so that they could be recognized  by the Nazi's easily .....

An aunt of mine, who was married to a Jewish man, had sewn the star at the back of her husbands coat and when they went somewhere where Jews were not allowed, she simply put her hand on the star.

Meanwhile, the German soldiers were mainly interested in Dutch bicycles ....





she had an insufficient mark
for geography
that last day
but a week later
she knew exactly where Treblinka was
only for a very short time

(poem by Ida Vos)



Nanda Alstede