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,
Even though food was rationed during the war, Camp Westerbork appears to have fared well as far as food supply is concerned. There is no evidence that inmates suffered severely as a result of hunger. Granted, a problem arose in the early stages, following the transition from Refugee camp to Transit camp, when suddenly a sharp increase happened to the population of camp Westerbork due to the arrival of the first Dutch Jews. There was a brief period of extreme shortage, simply because Westerbork was not ready for the sudden Dutch Jewish internee explosion. However, the Nazis quickly solved that problem sending large numbers of Dutch Jews quickly on to the East. Between 15 July and 7 August 1942, seven thousand seven hundred and forty-four Jews were deported on eight trains. All were sent to Auschwitz in compliance with the Endlösung - Final Solution of the Judenfrage - Jewish question, and in accordance with the directives that had come out of the Wannsee Conference of 20 January 1942.
During the war years every registered Dutch citizen, Jew and non-Jew alike, had to obtain a ration card from the local registration office for food and other products that were in short supply. Once a person went into hiding for whatever reason, these coupons could no longer be obtained. People in hiding needed to be supported by loyal and trusted friends or neighbors. Jews who were interned retained their supply cards because their domicile simply was changed from the local registration office to that of camp Westerbork.
Because of the regularity with which the deportation trains left Westerbork, the need for coupons often was at a minimum. Deported people no longer had need for food. Hence, their unused coupons were utilized by the camp authorities to purchase food for themselves and, in some instances, for those who remained behind. Since the internal authority rested with the German autocracy, it stands to reason that most of the time they had ample supplies and therefore suffered the least. But also Jews, whose deportation temporarily was delayed, sometimes fared better.
Victuals such as bread and other basic necessities of life were purchased by the camp authorities from local grocery stores in neighboring villages. Some camp inmates were assigned to the so-called Bread Detail. A collaborating Dutch constable always kept a close eye on them to prevent escape. After all, they worked outside the camp, and had a better chance to escape. Escapes were possible, and some escapes were successful. However, it was not that simple. To remain out of the reach of the Nazis was difficult. It was not easy to find a safe hide-out. The cost of hiding a slave-labor dodger, a partisan, or a Jew in particular, was very high. When discovered or betrayed, it often meant time in a concentration camp for the benefactors and that almost always meant certain death. If an individual managed to escape from Westerbork, the family members who were left behind in the camp most assuredly would find themselves placed on the next deportation train to the East.
Like other Dienstbereichen - Work Details, working in the Bread Detail meant temporary postponement of deportation. There always was the hope that work in such a detail would last until the end of the war. That hope prevented most from even trying to escape. The end result of this diabolically infused false hope, for most people, was that the feared inevitable deportation came anyhow. More than one hundred and four thousand Jews left Dutch soil never to return. In the picture above we see the owner of a Dutch grocery store called "de Spar," and his young son pose with the Bread Detail made up of camp inmates. Life had all the appearance of normality. With the exception of the collaborating Dutch constables, and the weekly feared and detested deportation trains to the East, of course.