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,
This is the story of Sam Schrijver, a former inmate of camp Westerbork, as told to Olga Rains. Mrs. Rains, a Dutch war bride, reported her findings to Nicolas van Praet, reporter for the Montreal Gazette, who printed his story on 5 May 2000. The following is his report:
"Among the victims of the evil face of that precision (Ed.: Nazis) were the parents of Montrealer Sam Schrijver, a Dutch-born Jew who survived the Holocaust and saved 900 others from certain death. Schrijver, now 77 (Ed.: in 2000) was nearly 18 when the Germans invaded Holland. When it became clear that the Nazis aimed to exterminate the Jews, he survived by thinking fast and daring to fight back. His get-them-or-they-get-you attitude has not faded. Speaking to Schryver in his home this week was like meeting a kid eager to show and tell - but uncomfortable with what he was telling. He squeezed and pushed his boneless nose inward to show what happened when a Gestapo officer slammed his face into a wall. 'I am not scared of anything anymore,' he said. 'Why should I be?'
After the Nazis invaded (Ed.: the Netherlands), they forced most Jewish men into work camps, many far from their homes. Schrijver's father spent his days at a camp outside Amsterdam and was allowed to return home at night. Schrijver remembers waiting at the second-floor window for his father to come back one day. He never did.
He watched the Nazis drag Jewish hospital patients from their beds and onto trucks. He sneaked food to Jewish families in the night, and forged ID cards for them. He escaped several captures by the Sicherheitsdienst - secret police. When he was finally caught for good, he spent three full days without food or water in a railway boxcar with 82 other Jews. The compartment was so crowded that the people on the edges could not reach the toilet barrel in the middle. 'I have never found the words, and I don't think there are any words that exist, for the anguish, the anxiety, the fear that we felt,' he said, the syllables creeping from his mouth.
Schrijver was taken to the Westerbork camp, the anteroom where Jews were shipped before facing death at other camps. By the time he arrived at Westerbork, the war was ending. Jews were no longer being taken to the death camps because Hitler needed the trains to bring back his troops. Schrijver and the 900 others at Westerbork could hear the booming artillery coming closer to the camp. He knew the Allies were near.
Schrijver feared the Germans might open fire on the prisoners as a last act of desperation. And he did not want to wait to be killed.Under cover of night, he sneaked out of the prison (Ed.: Westerbork camp is meant) on his belly and continued worming his way across the fields toward the gunfire. He swam across a canal (Ed.: meaning the Orange canal - het Oranjekanaal). When he got to the other side, he felt a rifle barrel stabbing at his neck. But the man behind the gun spoke English. A Canadian! Schrijver was brought to Brig. Gen. Jean Victor Allard, commander of the 6th Brigade, 2nd Division, of the Canadian Army. When he told the General that 900 Jews were in Westerbork, the commander did not believe it. Allied intelligence had pegged it as a German military barracks. They were preparing to send bombers to destroy it. Six patrolmen were sent to the camp with Schrijver to verify his story. In two letters, dated August 15 and 29 October 1990, Allard, then chief of Canadian defense staff, wrote: 'Due to the intervention and action of Mr. Schrijver the total annihilation of camp Westerbork and its approximate 1,000 inmates was prevented.' Schrijver saved the Jews at the 11th hour."
A similar story was written on May 14, 1993 in the Dutch Newspaper, De Telegraaf. One day later, reporter Hens Schonewille wrote in that same paper, "The news that Canadian soldiers were preparing to bombard concentration camp Westerbork on 12 April 1945 with shell-fire has baffled and shocked a number former camp inmates. One of them is the former inmate and male nurse of camp Westerbork Abraham Mol. Also Hans Colpa, who was the Acting Director of the Westerbork Remembrance Center in 1993 questions the validity of Schrijver's story. Click on their names for their story and rebuttal. Schrijver simply did not want to get killed at the very last moment. He risked fleeing the camp to meet the Allied forces a day before liberation.