At least 71% of Dutch Jews perished in the Holocaust. The highest percentage for western Europe.
Remarkably enough, the Germans were not very involved with the rounding up of the Dutch Jews and sending them to the transport camp Westerbork. The civil service told the police where the Jews were and the police rounded them up.
The resistance did not blow up the rail tracks to stop the transports. Some did want to, but this was nixed by the Dutch government in exile. They said the money the Germans paid for the transport of Jews was needed for the economy.
Eichmann was full of praise. He was very pleased that the trains ran on time.
A few months after the end of the war, the Dutch Minister of Transport Steef van Schaik, praised the railway workers for their collaboration with the Germans. He said they were doing their “duty”.
This Dutch “duty” is one of the reasons why so many Jews perished.
In 2005, more than 60 years after the transports took place, the CEO of Dutch Railways apologized.
Nice of him.
In absolute numbers, Latvia had the most volunteers for the SS.
Second country on the list is the Netherlands, with 50,000 to 55,0000 volunteers in four legions.
The Nazis called the Dutch a “brother people” and a lot of emphasis was placed on making them collaborate.
After the war it was claimed that the Dutch volunteers had not taken part in the Holocaust. They said all they did was fight on the front.
The Dutch authorities accepted this. Those who wanted to, were integrated into the Dutch army.
Later some diaries were found that had belonged to the Dutch volunteers in the SS. They were full of proud stories about how they killed Jews.
Here are two of the many fragments:
“..we arrived at a village near Tarnopol. There were a lot of Jews there. We took some of them and made them polish our car until it shined.
We shaved the Jews. We let one half of their beard remain and cut off the other half with a scissors. Some of the beards we burnt off with petrol.
Then we had some fun. We took a sword and a piece of wood and started beating them until they were screaming with pain.
Then we took them to the commander who led them to the river where prrt, prrt, they and the other Jews were shot with a machine gun.
The next morning we went to the river. It was full of half-dead and dead Jews. What a wailing and it stank terribly.”
“I forgot to tell you how great it was to hang a chief rabbi from the tower of his synagogue and then torch the synagogue with the Jews inside.”
Nobody apologized for this.