Jews have been living in the Netherlands since the 16th century, mainly in Amsterdam.

The history of the Dutch capital is so intertwined with Jews that it used to be known as “Jerusalem of the West”.

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Much of the slang of Amsterdam is made up of Yiddish loanwords. Mokum (מקום), the Yiddish word for "place" or "safe haven" is an often used other name for Amsterdam.


There was little vitriolic antisemitism in the Netherlands.

An example: when the Dutch National Socialist party (NSB) was established in 1931, it left out all mention of Jew-hatred in it's manifest.

How does one then explain that some 75% of Dutch Jews were killed during the Holocaust, the highest percentage of all occupied Western Europe?

One of the major reasons was the collaboration of the local authorities. There were very brave individual acts of resistance, but general speaking all of Dutch society collaborated with the German occupier.

“On the whole, the Dutch reacted to the German occupation, including the persecution of the Jews, with a high degree of cooperation, following their reputed tradition of deference to authority.

This did not change when the deportations started, and it lasted until the beginning of 1943, when Germany’s prospects for winning the war appeared to be fading after the Battle of Stalingrad.” Yad Vashem.

The Germans had relatively few troops and police in the Netherlands to enforce the occupation. A strong presence was not necessary, the place was so peaceful for them. Off-duty soldiers walked about unarmed.

They had to rely on the local authorities for the persecution of the Jews.

The Netherlands was a victim of occupation by Germany but a partner in the Holocaust of Dutch Jews.

Dutch police rounded them up and the Dutch railways transported them to a transit camp and later to the German border.

There was not one case of sabotage. Eichmann praised the Dutch effusively for the efficiency of the operation.

The Germans paid the Dutch for the deportation of the Jews. They paid a lot. If they did not pay on time the Dutch authorities sent them a reminder.

After the end of the war, on 17 September 1945, the new Dutch Minister of Transport, Steef van Schaik, addressed a group of railway workers in Utrecht.

He praised them for their collaboration in the deportation of the Jews. He said the income from the deportations was necessary for the economy and more important than the lives of the Jews.

"The unfortunate victims were taken to the concentration camps in your trains. There was rebellion in your hearts. Yet you did not do that, and that is honorable.

It was an obligation that the Dutch government demanded of you, because the railway is also one of the pillars on which the economic life of the Dutch people is based..."

The Holocaust in the Netherlands was a business model.




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