holocaust, jewish, extermination, concentration camp, shoah, auschwitz, belzec, treblinka, monowitz, birkenau, night of the long knives,
deportations, judenrat, majdanek, westerbork, chelmno, vught, wannsee, theresienstadt, roma, sinti, night of the broken glass, extermination camps, nazi´s,
hitler, jews, diaspora, jewish council, judenrat, transportation, birkenau, ghetto, hans vanderwerff, sion soeters, aktion reinhard, terezin, himmler, david irving
holocaust denial, holocaust lest we forget, jews, synagogue, oswald pohl, odilo globocnik, deportations, judenrat, majdanek, westerbork, chelmno, vught,
wannsee, theresienstadt, roma, sinti, night of the broken glass, extermination camps, nazi´s, hitler, jews, diaspora, jewish council, judenrat, transportation,
birkenau, ghetto, hans vanderwerff, sion soeters, aktion reinhard, terezin, himmler, david irving, holocaust denial, holocaust lest we forget, jews, synagogue,
oswald pohl, siegfried seidl, protectorate, bohemia, moravia, murmelstein, karl rahm, anton burger, karl hermann frank,
When the Nazis took the control of camp Westerbork over from the Dutch, they changed its status from Refugee camp to Durchgangslager - Transit Camp. Over twelve hundred German Jewish refugees were incarcerated. They were referred to as the alte Lagerinsassen - Senior Camp Inmates. Some of these men became the aristocracy of Westerbork. Dutch commandant Schol had offered to a few of these German Jews, even before the outbreak of the war, the option to set up an internal government of kind, so creating a system by which a minority of the German Jews cooperated with Schol in maintaining order. Their reward, as became clear after 1942, would be the much sought after postponement of deportation. And sometimes that of family members and even friends as well. A job with the Ordnungsdienst - Camp Police, OD for short, was for many a coveted position. Arthur Pisk became Head of the OD. Not everyone was a volunteer for this service. Some were forced into serving, especially the younger teens who were made runners or messenger boys and - girls for Pisk and Schlesinger.
That many OD employees were hated by their fellow inmates, especially the Dutch, can be learned from the name that was bestowed upon some of them by their fellow inmates. They were referred to as the Jewish SS. The most mistrusted OD member was its leader, Arthur Pisk. He and his one hundred and eighty-two subordinates were feared by the rest of the prisoners. Pisk survived the war and camp Westerbork, but it is unclear what became of him following the conflict. One thing is certain, he managed to leave the Netherlands and must have settled somewhere else in the free world. Australia is mentioned. Incognito of course, because no trace was to be found of him. Until 2004 when, during a visit to Australia, I had occasion to meet with Aad van As, who now resides in Australia. From him I learned that Pisk indeed migrated to Australia where he died and was buried.
German Jews, because they were the first to arrive as refugees, made up the bulk of the OD. They were held responsible for maintaining order and security in the penal barrack. They were also responsible for providing strict and orderly escort for the people who had been selected for the weekly transports nach dem Osten - to the East. The OD loaded the trains and sealed the doors. Dressed in green coveralls they were noticeable throughout the camp. Some carried out their task with great zeal and efficiency, much to the satisfaction of Gemmeker, Pisk, and Schlesinger, and of course Adolf Eichmann in Berlin. Attempts to escape were few and far in between because of the threat that family members would be deported instead. Yet some were successful. However, collaborating Dutch constabulary, members of the Marechaussee, and OD members kept them at a minimum.
Fred Kuraner, who was assigned to do work in the radio workshop, was one of the very few lucky ones who managed to escape from Westerbork. After his mother, Regina Kuraner-Simke who came from Kottbus in Germany, had been deported to Sobibor on 21 August 1943, Fred crawled underneath the barbed wire fence to freedom. This happened one Monday night after the names of the deportees who were to be deported the next day had been called off. He drove away on a bicycle which was placed for him against the wall of the crematorium, a small building located just outside the camp fence. After the war Fred left for the United States where he married, raised a family and made a life for himself. Fred passed away in 1991. This information was passed on to me by his daughter, who contacted me by email