The Common Thread in Nations’ Mythologized War Stories
The Common Thread in All Nations’ Mythologized War Stories
The Netherlands is the third stop on our WWII mythology tour, after WWII east vs west and Italy. The common thread that links all the stops on our tour: narcissistic nationalism that evades uncomfortable truths that threaten victimology if the nation was defeated and occupied, or an emotionally satisfying glorious victory if it was on the winning side. The latter is the keystone of national ego in the UK, the USA, and the former USSR. Commemorating mythologized glorious victories defines a backward-looking, nostalgist sense of national identity that feeds into contemporary anti-globalization nationalist populism.
Reality denial begins with a mythologized history and has contributed to blitz and Dunkirk-fed Brexit, America First Trumpism, Putin’s revanchist nationalism and the war in eastern Ukraine. Nations, like individual psychotherapy patients, can remain stuck in the Einsteinian definition of insanity — deceiving themselves with the same story over and over again and expecting a better result. Nations, even more than individuals, remain possessed by scripted mythology that prevents looking in the mirror of their defeats shorn of mythologized victimology and their victories without the glorification that feeds populist paranoia and fantasy. Reflective, collective emotional intelligence is not part of the business model of building the scaled-up imaginary communities of unrelated strangers we call nations. The cost? Just ask any German or Japanese in bombed-out Berlin or Tokyo in 1946 whether indulging in ego-feeding stab in the back or Bushido fantasies was worth the price paid.
Each country on our WWII Mythology Tour has paid for its own mix of hubris, delusional self-deception, and evasion of uncomfortable truths, though differently. The USSR and the UK won the war and lost the peace economically and geopolitically. The Germans, Italians, and Japanese lost the war and full sovereignty but won the peace economically. Germany’s eastern European allies — Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, Croatia — lost all three. The USA won all three but confused picking low-hanging postwar geopolitical and economic fruit and cold war victory with permanent global dominance. Confronted with the cost of two forever wars, a disillusioned post-crash America revived Lindbergh’s pro-Nazi isolationist America First slogan.
Most of the stops on our WWII Mythology Tour involve nations confronting the costs of empire-building. Nazism’s Lebensraum and Italian fascism’s neo-Roman imperial fantasies involved European imperialism’s white supremacist ideology boomeranging back onto Europe, at the cost of millions of lives. This played no small part in the German occupation of the Netherlands and the Japanese occupation of its Indonesian colony.
Dutch Martyrology: Rotterdam, Arnhem, Anne Frank, Hunger Winter, Last to be Liberated
The Dutch narrative of WWII focuses on the May 1940 bombing of Rotterdam, their resistance (the Netflix movie about the executed “Resistance Banker”), the Bridge Too Far battle for Arnhem in September 1944, Anne Frank, their Hunger Winter of 1944–45 and Amsterdam as the last European capital to be liberated. These are images etched into the Netherlands’ collective memory:
The Dutch Shoah: a Western Route to an Eastern Outcome
The Dutch view their wartime behavior toward their Jewish community through the lens of this martyrology and the distorting lens of Anne Frank. She was, after all, successfully hidden for two years and her father survived. Also, the Dutch were historically Europe’s most tolerant nation toward Jews, welcoming Jews expelled from Spain and Portugal, to the point of giving the Jewish philosopher Spinoza a lavish burial in Amsterdam’s Protestant New Church in 1677 in recognition of his genius, “an astonishing gesture of acceptance.” (https://www.theguardian.com/books/2019/jan/07/the-cut-out-girl-by-bart-van-es-review). Before 1940 the 10% of Amsterdam’s population that was Jewish was so integrated into local life that in Amsterdam dialect “mishbochah”, the Hebrew and Yiddish word, was slang for family.
But Dutch tolerant acceptance of Jews was superficial, as shown in this description by the health minister, Dr. Els Borst-Eilers, aged 13 at liberation:
“This lack of interest in the fate of the Jews was a consequence of prewar antiSemitism in the Netherlands. It also existed in my nice family. I had a fully Jewish uncle who had married a non-Jew…Yet before the war, for instance at family gatherings…it was quite common to hear comments such as ‘a typical Jewish trick’ or ‘the Jews take good care of themselves.’ That was when someone had done something smart with money. I noticed this already as a small child. “None of us would have wanted to do any evil to a Jew. Yet there was a feeling of ‘they have done very well financially’ despite the fact that there were many very poor Jews in Amsterdam.” (Judging the Netherlands, Gerstenfeld, page 209)
Nevertheless, the legend of tolerant Dutch exceptionalism persisted for two generations:
“Internationally, the benign Dutch war image has held on for over fifty years. In its introduction to “The Netherlands,” the 1999 Jewish Chronicle Travel Guide still wrote: “The Germans transported 100,000 [Jews] to death camps in Poland, but the local population tended to behave sympathetically towards their Jewish neighbors, hiding many.” (Judging the Netherlands, Gerstenfeld, page 24)
In the law-loving Netherlands, superficial tolerance collided with law-abiding obedience and lost. The catastrophe began at the top:
“In five years of radio speeches from London, Queen Wilhelmina devoted only five sentences to the fate of her Jewish subjects. Nevertheless, an international myth grew about her identification with the persecuted Jews….former Dutch deputy prime minister Els Borst said: “We now know that the persecution of the Jews hardly bothered Queen Wilhelmina…Borst added: “The government’s attitude testified that its members, like many others, saw the Jewish Dutchmen as a special group who were not ‘real Dutchmen.’” (Judging the Netherlands, page 25)
The relative absence of intense, popular anti-semitism in the Netherlands begs the question: why was the survival rate for Dutch Jews — 27% — closer to that of Estonia, Latvia, Slovakia and Hungary than neighboring Belgium and France. (https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/article/jewish-losses-during-the-holocaust-by-country)? The explanation typically cited by the Dutch: geography. The Netherlands is a densely populated, flat and unforested country with no obvious places to hide. But this explanation is easily refuted by the large regional variation in survival rates within the Netherlands and how
“from mid 1943 until the end of the war between 200000 and 300000 Dutch men trying to evade forced labor in Germany found refuge underground shows that hiding opportunities were not primarily determined by the Dutch landscape.” (Holocaust and Genocide Studies, https://muse.jhu.edu/issue/11105, pages 477–78) .
Of the 25000 Dutch Jews who went into hiding, 15000, or 60%, survived. About the same number of Belgium’s 90000 Jews went into hiding — 28000 — but double the percentage — and earlier in the war with help from more active resistance, Jewish and non-Jewish (https://muse.jhu.edu/issue/11105, page 477).
So we have to look elsewhere to explain the Netherlands’ eastern European survival rates without eastern Europe’s virulent anti-semitism, a reverse proportion of perpetrators and bystanders.
East-West Divide in Genocide
Despite Dutch Jews’ survival rate resembling eastern Europe’s, Anglo-Americans, French, Italians, Belgians, Norwegians, and Danes view Dutch wartime behavior as fundamentally western, as opposed to eastern like Poland, Hungary, Ukraine, Latvia, Lithuania, and Slovakia, where many locals enthusiastically participated in pogroms, in some case before German occupation troops arrived, or hunted Jews for the Germans. The prevailing view is that the Dutch were nothing like their counterparts in eastern Europe; no Jedwabnes (Neighbors, Jan Gross, https://www.amazon.com/Neighbors-Destruction-Jewish-Community-Jedwabne/dp/0142002402) or Arrow Cross, Budapest in Amsterdam, Utrecht or Rotterdam. It’s true that Jews were not being shot at in the train station by local anti-semites as they sought to flee before the Germans’ arrival, as occurred in Riga (personal testimony, David Kagan, Riga, 7 years old in 1941), Kaunas (Kovno) and Vilnius (Vilna, https://defendinghistory.com/).
There are several problems with the view that Dutch bystanders and perpetrators as fundamentally different from their counterparts in eastern Europe:
- It ignores the thousand small betrayals and compromises that the Nazi system deployed to envelop all occupied countries’ institutions and civilians, but with less success in France, Belgium, Italy than the Netherlands.
- It ignores how such betrayals often took place with no prompting from the Germans. On May 21, 1940, a mere one week after the Dutch surrender, AVRO, the Dutch broadcasting company, fired all nine of its Jewish employees. No German order was needed for this precautionary measure by company management. (van Liempt, Hitler’s Bounty Hunters, 2005, page 6)
- It ignores the institutionalized financial incentives employed with special effectiveness in the Netherlands vs other western European countries: the 7.50 FL bounty (kopgeld, literally “head money”) per Jew arrested paid to the Dutch volunteers of the Colonne Henneicke, which resulted in the arrests of 8000–9000 Dutch Jews in 1942 and 1943 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henneicke_Column)
- As cited above, it ignores simple results: the percentage of Dutch Jews murdered resembled Estonia, Hungary, Slovakia, Latvia, and Lithuania more than France, Italy, or Denmark.
Dutch Reckoning and Confessional
A reckoning is now underway, first with the publication of Ad van Liempt’s The Bounty Hunters in 2005, then with the Netflix movie Riphagen, about Dries Riphagen, one of the leading bounty hunters who was never tried for his crimes.
Now with the Dutch Reformed Church’s confession of guilt, 75 years after liberation, on the eve of the Kristallnacht pogrom of 1938:
“On Sunday afternoon in Amsterdam’s Obrechtsjoel, PKN leader René de Reuver swore penance for the role the church played in the rising anti-Semitism before the Second World War, and for its lack of courage during the German occupation ‘for the Jewish residents of our country.’…..He discussed the background of Kristallnacht in Germany, a pogrom on the night of 8 to 9 November 1938, and made a connection with the theological sources of Protestantism. In doing so, he mainly highlighted the anti-Semitic work of Martin Luther. Born on November 10, this 16th-century reformer “could not wish for a better present than burning shuls!” Verdoner quoted a bishop as saying. Luther had called for “all Jewish schools and synagogues to be burned down”. “The Nazis often used Martin Luther’s writings as a basis for their terrible deeds. Verdoner also recalled Henrik Colijn. This Reformed Prime Minister banned Jews who fled Germany after the Kristallnacht, because all those refugees were “foreign elements” in his opinion, detrimental to “the maintenance of the character of the Dutch volk”. The Protestant Church in the Netherlands wants to recognize without hesitation that the church has helped prepare the breeding ground in which the seeds of anti-Semitism and hatred could grow. For centuries, the rift was maintained that could later isolate the Jews in society in such a way that they could be deported and murdered. (https://www.trouw.nl/religie-filosofie/joodse-gemeenschap-omarmt-schuldbelijdenis-protestantse-kerk~b2522bf5/, https://www.dutchnews.nl/features/2020/11/protestant-churchs-declaration-of-guilt-towards-the-jews-is-a-historic-step/ )
An Orderly Western, Efficient, Financialized Pogrom
The pogrom in the Netherlands was top-down, orderly, and bureaucratic and had one motive similar to the Jedwabne, Poland case, and other eastern European counterparts: the plunder of Jewish property. What’s been ignored until recently is that the Germans could never have murdered such a high percentage of the Netherlands’ Jewish community without:
- The efficient Dutch civil service did not hesitate to turn over its meticulously kept residential records of 159806 Dutch Jews and children of mixed marriages with its IBM punch cards to the Germans. Dutch residential records included religious identity data (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Netherlands_in_World_War_II#Holocaust). This total included 25000 Jewish refugees from the German Reich. Without the collaboration of the Dutch police and civil service, the Germans could not have succeeded in deporting 107000 Dutch Jews nor segregating 15000 Jews in the Westerbork transit camp by 1942.
- Ordinance 6 of January 10, 1941, mandated all Jews, including one half or one-quarter Jews to report to and register with the Office of Public Records. The data were necessary to prepare for a planned Amsterdam ghetto, modeled on those in Poland.
“All Jews would have a large J stamped on their identity cards, making them instantly recognizable….on a modern technologically ingenious identity card in order to thwart would-be forgers. The development of such a document was another important condition for the total isolation of the Jewish population.” (van Liempt, page 8)
To build a ghetto the German commander, Arthur Seyss-Inquart, needed to know exactly which streets were inhabited by a Jewish majority. The head of the Office of Public Records, a Mr. F. Sijdzes, deployed a team of 20 civil servants for six days and
“the eagerness with which Sijdzes tackled the assignment was remarkable, particularly when one considers the jobs he had ahead of him: the introduction of identity cards and the registration of Amsterdam’s Jews….a huge amount of work for scores of civil servants…..In the end the planned ghetto was never realized. No matter how the officials drew the boundaries, there proved to be too many non-Jewish workers living in the neighborhoods in question to create a ghetto without causing tremendous social upheaval” (van Liempt, pages 8–9)
Genocide, Dutch Edition, an Information Enterprise
The Germans’ Polish style ghetto-centric model couldn’t work in Amsterdam. So they pivoted, copy-pasting the eastern Judenrat model to the Netherlands with replacing geographic with bureaucratic segregation. Genocide in the Netherlands was an information game played through the Office of Public Records. This explains the scene in the movie Riphagen in which the Dutch resistance carried out a daring raid on the State Printing Office to steal 10000 ID cards. It also explains why
“The Germans demanded the creation of an organization which they could hold responsible for the implementation of their policy…..This moment marked the start of a process of non-stop blackmail. It was primarily the city commissioner Böhmcker who pressured the Jewish Council to carry out the most degrading measures, with the standing threat that if they refused, he would do it himself, and less mercifully….and thus began a pattern, in which the Jewish Council itself had to nip protests in the bud and select the victims of each successive decree…..
The operation was simplified by concentrating virtually all Jews from the province of North Holland (and some from South Holland) in Amsterdam: village by village, town by town, the Jews were instructed to leave their homes and find accommodation in the Dutch capital….At the same time, fear began to take hold of the Jewish community, as men and boys were now being forced to go to special labor camps in the region. And although the Jewish Council swore that these were normal measures aimed at combating unemployment, many sensed the danger: Jewish labor camps offered the possibility for mass arrests of Jewish men” (van Liempt, pages 10, 12)
Jewish Council employees and their families were given exemptions (Sperren) from deportation. The Council asked the Germans for 35000 Sperren. The Germans gave it 17500, but these were issued only temporarily, “bis auf weiteres” — until further notice. The Sperren system gave Amsterdam Jews, which was home to 57% of Dutch Jews and who held 93.1% of them, a reason not to hide. However, other evidence shows that a docile Jewish Council and Sperren-seeking Jews did not impede Jews from going underground:
“From September 1942 onward about half of the Jews ordered to report for transport to Westerbork refused to show up even though they knew they could….be sent to Mauthausen, a concentration known to mean certain death.” (https://muse.jhu.edu/issue/11105, page 487)
Also, as children from orphanages, the elderly in nursing homes, and the sick were deported, the explanation of forced labor in the east lost credibility and panic mounted.
The efficiency of this information came through the Office of Public Records and the disinformation game played through the Jewish Council explains why, Adolf Eichmann, the Shoah’s grand vizier was confident enough to manage the process remotely:
“Adolf Eichmann visited the Netherlands only once, to check on the progress of the preparations. That was in April 1942. To meet his quotas, the Netherlands had to ship 15,000 Jews to Poland during the 1942 calendar year…The day after Eichmann’s visit, the Zentralstelle demanded a list of the names and addresses of all Jews of foreign origin in Amsterdam. The mayor passed the order on to the Municipal Office of Public Records, which ensured its prompt execution…. Eichmann kept the tempo of deportations from the Netherlands high; thanks to the well-functioning municipal administration, the whole process went relatively smoothly there, more smoothly, at any rate, than in Belgium and France.” (van Liempt, “Hitler’s Bounty Hunters”, 2005, pages 13, 17)
The final link in the supply chain was the special rail line laid by the Dutch Railway company to the Westerbork transit camp from the village of Hooghalen (van Liempt, page 12).
Who Resists, Who Complies
Contrast the behavior of the Dutch police and civil service with the general strike by Dutch workers on February 25, 1941, to protest the arrest and deportation of several hundred young Dutch Jews to Buchenwald and Mauthausen (https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/article/the-netherlands). The Germans arrested and executed the leaders of the strike, which was the only anti-pogrom strike of WWII.
This showed that parts of Dutch civil society were ready to defend the Netherlands’ Jewish community, had the Dutch elite, from the exiled royal family on down, done so, as the Danish royal family and elite did. Dutch movies like Netflix’s The Resistance Banker, show the Dutch elite as paragons of anti-Nazi resistance. With respect to defending the Netherlands’ Jewish community against genocide, this simply did not happen.
- Only 27% of the Netherlands’ Jewish community of 140000 survived, much lower than the 60% of neighboring Belgium’s Jews and France’s 75%. The Netherlands had the highest percentage of Jews killed in all of Western Europe.
- Why the much lower survival percentage in the Netherlands? Citing the Netherlands’ geography — flat, densely populated, unforested land compared with Belgium and France — as the culprit conveniently absolves human perpetrators and bystanders. The real reason is hiding in plain sight — money and the ferocious hunt for Jews it generated:
- “Try not to think about it too much, because it only makes you miserable. At the moment, a human life does not count for much, especially if it is a Jewish life.” — Dutch shopkeeper, diary entry, September 1942 (http://somewereneighbors.ushmm.org/#/exhibitions/workers/un104/description)
The Bounty System
- When the number of Dutch Jews caught decreased in the spring of 1943, the Germans instituted an incentive system to meet quotas.
- “The civilian Jew hunt was undoubtedly the blackest page in Dutch history. It is striking how few Germans appear in Van Liempt’s book: the arrest of Jews was carried out exclusively by the Dutch. A Price on Their Heads sketches a depressing world: motivated by a thirst for power and wealth, ordinary Dutchmen, socially unsuccessful, were prepared to turn their Jewish countrymen over to the Germans.”
- “Marnix Croes and Peter Tammes have examined these hypotheses by looking at the variations in survival between the different regions of the Netherlands. They conclude that most of these hypotheses do not explain the data. They suggest that a more likely explanation was the varying “ferocity” with which the Germans and their Dutch collaborators hunted Jews in hiding in the different regions.
- In 2002, Ad Van Liempt published Kopgeld: Nederlandse premiejagers op zoek naar joden, 1943 (Bounty: Dutch bounty hunters in search of Jews, 1943). It was published in English as Hitler’s Bounty Hunters: The Betrayal of the Jews (2005). He had found in newly declassified records that the Germans paid a bounty to police and other collaborators, as in the Colonnie Henneicke group, for tracking down Jews.”
- “Drawing upon administrative documents and post-war trial records, Ad van Liempt reconstructs the membership and activities of the so-called Colonne Henneicke group within the Zentralstelle fur Judische Auswanderung (Dutch Central Bureau for Jewish Emigration). Originally engaged in tracking down Jewish goods, this group of just over fifty civilians started tracking down Jews in hiding in the spring and summer of 1943. Although not authorised to arrest individuals, they ignored such legal niceties and handed over an estimated 8,500 Dutch Jews. Despite post-war claims to the contrary, van Liempt points to the payment of seven guilders fifty per Jew as a critical incentive to these activities. This money came from the proceeds of Jewish property sales, and was thus another example of self-financing genocide seen elsewhere in Holocaust Europe. Financial gain was, van Liempt suggests, ‘the most important motivating factor’ (p. 210) for the group of ‘middle-aged…” (https://academic.oup.com/ehr/article-abstract/CXXI/494/1562/389360?redirectedFrom=fulltext)
- “Van Liempt describes some particularly shocking cases. The most gripping are the arrests of young children. Two bounty hunters travelled hundreds of kilometres across the country to get their hands on a two year old girl who was living in a safe house; a month later she was gassed at Sobibor. The father of three other young children had all his teeth knocked out; in this way the Henneicke Column were able to learn the addresses where the children were being put up.” (http://www.letterenfonds.nl/en/book/76/a-price-on-their-heads)
- In court the bounty hunters said they weren’t paid for finding hidden Jews. Van Liempt’s research proves they were lying: “Family members of the perpetrators give detailed accounts of how much was earned from their activities and where all the money went.”
Van Liempt found out about the premiums collected by Dutch police for catching Jews only when presented with a receipt for one by the Dutch historian Loe de Jong in 1989. But he had to wait 11 years to get access to the court records when they were transferred to the national archives in 2000.
Van Liempt explains why this episode has remained unknown for so long:
“The fact that it has taken so long for the true nature of the hunt for Jews to be revealed is remarkable to say the least. One obvious explanation for this would be that it is typical of the Dutch character to turn a blind eye to the very blackest pages of our nation’s history. But the reason might also be far simpler: this in-depth study of the perpetrators was based largely on information revealed in the course of their trials, and such records remain classified for a long time in the Netherlands. Even serious researchers have always had difficulty obtaining access to them, and this is probably the reason so little is known about this episode.”
“At this point, the leaders of the Zentralstelle (Central Office for Jewish Emigration) decided to refine the system of deportations somewhat….a new police unit, the Amsterdam Police Battalion, was sent into action. The members of the battalion had been trained by the Nazis, so the Germans had no cause to fear sabotage or opposition from them: they could always be deployed in mass round-ups. The ordinary Amsterdam policeman was an unstable factor in such operations. That notwithstanding, within the municipal police force a Bureau of Jewish Affairs was established, consisting mainly of NSB (Netherlands Nazi Party) men and led by the fanatical Nazi R. Dahmen von Buchholz. It would be an important factor in the gigantic operation awaiting Amsterdam: the deportation of about ten percent of the population.” (van Liempt, page 15)
The Plunder Bonus Revealed: After Half a Century
Why did it take more than half a century to reveal the bounty system? At the special court’s postwar trials of collaborators proving the existence of the bonus system was not a requirement for a conviction for deporting Jews. Therefore prosecutors didn’t challenge defendants’ denials. But the defendants had a very good reason to deny receiving bonuses for arresting Jews. Three friends on trial in March 1946 who had worked together in the card catalog of the Zentralstelle fur Judische Auswanderung (Central Office for Jewish Emigration, where deportation records were kept:
“In the summer of 1943….found themselves with a lot of free time on their hands, and so they asked the heads of the Zentralstelle for permission to go out and arrest Jews as overtime work, just like their colleagues in the Colonne Henneicke. They also asked their superiors if there was any chance of receiving compensation for such work. Eventually they were given the green light: they could look forward to a bonus of fl.5 per Jew (now about $32)…
Over the course of the trial, it became clear they had brought between 200 and 300 Jews to the Dutch Theater. For the prosecution it was an open and shut case. The three men were not only in the courtroom as defendants but also as sworn witnesses for the state. Their statements were thus legal evidence. For that reason judge-advocate Gelinck demanded the death penalty at the close of the session. On appeal, the youngest of the three, a former barber who was known to have helped some Jews, had his sentence commuted to life imprisonment. The other two were executed in March 1947 (Van Liempt, page 59).
After this trial that ended with two death sentences, every suspect denied the existence of the bonus system. Even when some receipts showing bonus payments turned up in the records of the Hausraterfassung (Household Inventory Agency) turned up in Amsterdam’s main synagogue in Tulpstraat in 1947, prosecutors ignored them.
“A few of them have survived. There is, for example, one for the sum of fl.37.50, five times fl.7.50.10 On March 17, the date on the receipt, five Jews were brought in. It is not easy to decipher the florid handwriting on the form, which was evidently filled in with great care, in German, but the five people in question were members of the Roos family: father (47), mother (45) and three children (17, 14 and 11). SS-Hauptsturmführer Ferdinand Aus der Fünten put his initials under the words “richtig übernommen” — indicating that the five were “duly received.” (van Liempt, page 60)
The Plunder System and the Bonus Supply Chain
Plundering Jewish property for shipment to the Reich required a sophisticated Dutch supply chain and logistics operated through the Hausraterfassung:
“Even before the deportations began in earnest, a comprehensive inventory system had been set up. There was a central card catalogue, in which each object was individually registered. Every Jew received one or more cards, sorted on the basis of Hausraterfassungsnummer, or HR number. There were separate departments (and warehouses) for carpets; paintings; antiques; furniture and bronze; gold, silver and jewels; and bric-a-brac….the card catalogue survives, full of thousands of index cards on which the goods were recorded.6 Such a rigid system demanded a rigid hierarchy. The Hausraterfassung had four subdivisions, known as “Colonnes,” which were named after their leaders…” (van Liempt, page 21)
The NSB, the Dutch Nazi Party provided most of the recruits to the HR, many hired from the unemployed referred by the city job center, a recipe for social envy and anti-semitism motivated plunder:
“It was not trained detectives who did this work; the Hausraterfassung got its people wherever it could, mainly from the files of the unemployed at the municipal job centre. As the deportation of Jews and the accompanying administrative machinery required more and more manpower, the prerequisites for new workers were soon relaxed. Membership of the NSB was a plus in this sort of work: virtually all new employees of the Hausraterfassung were in the NSB.” (van Liempt, page 21)
The German head of the Zentralstelle, Willi Lages, understood how the system was a thieves’ dream and
“Following a theft Lages called upon all of us to obey the rules and conduct ourselves in a professional and courteous manner. He promised us that there would be severe penalties for anyone who broke the law. He threatened us, ‘If you so much as take the dust from underneath the Jews’ fingernails, you’ll be arrested.’” (van Liempt, page 22)
As we’ll see below, the bonus system was set up to bring order to plunder by sharing it with Dutch functionaries.
But it was the scale, speed and efficiency of the operation and how it was enmeshed with Dutch business that was striking:
“Historian Gerard Aalders speaks of it as a well-oiled looting machine, which finished the job in a year and two months…the contents of 29000 houses were hauled away…In the autumn of 1943 no fewer than 666 canal boats and 100 train cars travelled to the Ruhr Valley, filled with Jewish property….Transporting the goods to the harbor was the work of a moving company that would win eternal infamy for its role during the occupation: the firm of A. Puls cleared out vacant Jewish homes and brought the contents to the harbor. During that time a new verb, pulsen, came into vogue; the word was more or less synonymous with roven (“to rob”).” (van Liempt, page 20)
- The Germans and their Dutch collaborators ingeniously used a Jewish-owned bank, Lippmann, Rosenthal & Co, to rob Dutch Jews. Jews were told their funds and valuables were merely being put on deposit at the bank and its warehouse and given receipts for all assets turned over.
The underlying principle of all anti-Jewish measures: extermination would be financed entirely with Jewish assets:
“For this purpose the Germans chose the venerable Jewish bank Lippmann, Rosenthal & Co., which had to undergo a special reorganization. The bank was split into two. The office on Nieuwe Spiegelstraat remained a bank, albeit under German management. But the office at 47–55 Sarphatistraat, which had previously been a branch of the Bank of Amsterdam, became the roofbank. In reality it was more like a storage depot/sales office for stolen Jewish property than a regular bank.14 It became an executive agency under direct supervision of SeyssInquart’s Reich Commissariat; its primary task was selling off Jewish possessions as they came in.” (van Liempt, page 11)
Who Plundered, How and Why
When Colonne Henneicke member Gerritt Mijnsma went to work for the National Labor Front in late 1943 after working in the Colonne Henneicke, his salary dropped 40% to 140 FL/month. “For men like bankrupt taxi driver Nico Evertsen, living off the welfare of 13 FL/week, and Jacob Gist, whose girlfriend’s mother refused to let him in the house, “the Colonne Henneicke was a goldmine. Their lifestyle changed overnight.” (van Liempte, page 59).
The plunderers and the plundered came together at the Dutch Theater, the transit stop on the way to the Dutch concentration camp in Westerbork. Employees of the Jewish Council, the Dutch version of the eastern Judenrat, the Germans created to force the Jewish community to choose deportees, would often hear the Colonne Henneicke police talking business. The Dutch Theater was both a deportation and plunder hub, as well as the final opportunity for Dutch Jews to bribe their captors.
Jewish Council employees noticed the growing prosperity of the Colonne’s members:
“Maurits Allegro was able to observe a couple of Jew hunters from close by. ‘Every day I saw them smoking expensive cigarettes”, he told detectives Prasing and Verduin after the war, ‘and everything about their lifestyle suggested they were rolling in money.’” (van Liempt, page 59)
“Jacob Brand: Among the personnel of the Jewish Council it was common knowledge that the staff of the Colonne Henneicke received a premium for every Jewish person they took into custody….higher premiums were paid for sick and handicapped Jewish refugees….Salomon van Thijn: “I also heard them say that when there were fewer Jewish people coming in the bonuses were higher….the premiums varied from fl. 5 to 15.….
Machiel Gobets, an accountant who worked for the Jewish Council…They would create these penal cases themselves, going through the garbage of Jewish people they had arrested, to see if they could find fruit peels. Jews were forbidden to eat fruit….
Mozes Jacobs…once overheard four members of the Colonne talking about the fl. 60 they had earned that night, fl 15 per man….so they could spare five cents for a cup of coffee….
Jacques van der Kar, who also worked for the Jewish Council, happened to catch a glimpse of the payroll, which showed that some members of the Colonne were paid as much as fl. 200 a week. (van Liempt, page 61)
Police officer Karel Weeling was present several times when Henneicke paid his personnel at the end of the month: “I also saw Henneicke paying out sums varying from fl. 300 to fl. 450 per person…sums much higher than their salaries.” (van Liempt, page 63)
This only partially explains why the Colonne Henneicke’s officers were such efficient Jew hunters. But 85% of the Colonne were NSB (Dutch Nazi Party) members. Founded in 1931, the NSB had obtained 8% of the vote in 1935 and sent two members to the Dutch Senate. Tolerant, law-abiding Holland was not completely immune from the fascist virus. An acquaintance of one Colonne officer named Joop Bouman (*pseudonym) had told her “we’ve got to get rid of that Jewish scum. I’ll give you fl. 5 for every Jew you can bring me.” Bouman’s ex-wife testified:
“when I got married to him he wasn’t earning enough to provide for us. He then got a job with the Hausraterfassung (Assets Custodial Agency), where he earned fl. 60 a week instead of fl. 19….At a certain point he started arresting Jews, and all of a sudden he went from making fl. 60 a week to making fl. 150. I told him to stop doing that work, but couldn’t talk him out of it….” (van Liempt, page 63)
Deportees Meet Their Deporters: Westerbork Transit Camp, May 1945
The Netherlands’ Canadian liberators began filling the transit camp of Westerbork in April 1945 with suspected collaborators even before Amsterdam’s liberation and Amsterdam Jews stuck in the transit camp with nowhere to go had left. Thus, the deported met their deporters and helped get them prosecuted. One example was testimony at the trial of Martin Hintink on September 24, 1948:
“One of the witnesses for the prosecution was Mozes Jacobs, a businessman who worked for the Jewish Council as a doorkeeper at the Dutch Theater in 1942–3. Jacobs ultimately ended up in Westerbork, but he was never deported….Jacobs told the court about how he had run into Martin Hintink at Camp Westerbork; in the chaos of 1945 perpetrators and victims wound up behind the same barbed wire. The meeting took place on May 7, Jacobs remembered. “I saw that he was standing apart from the others, and I saw and heard four Jews yelling and gesticulating at the defendant. I then called out to the defendant, ‘You got seven guilders fifty in bonus money for every Jew you brought in.’” Hintink, Jacobs recalled, admitted it.” (van Liempt, page 64)
And there was another witness: Jacob Barend, a businessman. Hintink arrested his mother-in-law, even though she had just been discharged from the hospital and was recovering from an operation. “She had to go along, despite my appeals and my wife’s pleas,” Barend wrote in his deposition. “We saw and recognized each other here at Westerbork.”
“The businessman L. Benninga was also present for the confrontation at Westerbork. Benninga wrote an official statement in English for the benefit of the Canadian authorities, who were in charge of tracking down war criminals. The letter is in Hintink’s dossier. Benninga wrote: “It was here (Westerbork) I recognized Hintink and when he told me that for every Jew he did arrest and deliver to the Jewish Theater he collected seven guilders and a half from the Zentralstelle fur Judische Auswanderung.” There was thus evidence on the table as early as May 7, 1945. (van Liempt, page 65)
Here is Hintink’s own confession, along with his wife’s“I participated in the arrest of Jews, for which a bonus was paid of seven guilders fifty per Jew. It was only later I discovered that I was doing work for the Sicherheitsdienst….Jannetje Hintink-Rudolfs said quite openly to the detectives questioning her: “In the time he was with Lippmann-Rosenthal, he would be called up for work in the evening and sent out to arrest Jews. In addition to his salary of 230 guilders a month, he received a bonus of seven guilders fifty for every Jew he brought in. He was responsible for checking [the papers of] Jews during the day as well.”” (van Liempt, page 67)
A minor pre-war criminal, Tonny Kroon, who “hunted down Jewish property with grim determination” was:
“perhaps the shrewdest Jew hunter of them all. His sister-in-law Anna Kroon said the following about him: “Tonny was earning a lot of money then. He received ten percent of the capital and jewelry of the Jews he had arrested. In addition he received five or ten guilders in bonuses for every Jew he had picked up. I am quite sure about this, as he told me about it himself on a number of occasions.” (van Liempt, page 68)
Kroon’s colleague, Sjef Sweeger, also testified that they got 10% of the value of the Jewish property they seized. (van Liempt, page 69)
Retiring on Taxable Plunder
Thus, the Colonne Henneicke became a club of nouveaux riches, with wives decked out in jewels and one of its members declaring the astronomical figure of fl. 6000 on his income tax return, a paradox of plunder coupled with law-abiding obedience to the Dutch revenue service.
One Jewish furrier offered to auction off his inventory to avoid deportation. Colonne members Van den Borch and den Ouden got fl. 20000 each from the auction, the equivalent of $139,500 in 2005 money. The two men confirmed to detectives in 1948 that they were in no hurry to return to work. (van Liempt, page 73)
Nor did they have to worry about the victims returning for their assets.
In studying the survival rates in 47 of the Dutch municipalities with at least 100 Jews in 1939, Croes and Tammes have found these factors uncorrelated to lower local survival rates:
- Obedience to authority is measured by correlation of religious affiliation to voting totals in the Netherlands’ confessional party and “pillars” system (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pillarisation).
- A pro-German burgomaster
- An early starting date to deportations, giving the Colonne more time to find Jews.
Factors that correlated with higher survival rates:
- Higher Catholic population.
- Presence of more Jewish converts to Christianity as a bridge to Dutch gentile social networks
- Non-NSB Dutch police instead of Sicherheitspolizei (the “Colonne”) in charge of hunting Jews, as occurred in Utrecht.
- Less polarization between Catholic and Protestant confessional political parties ((https://muse.jhu.edu/issue/11105, page 484–86).
Low-Level Accountability Only + Coverup
- The Dutch punished many Dutch Nazis and collaborators after the war, but none of those were high level Dutch civil servants and railway company managers who formed the key part of the machinery of genocide. No police chiefs were ever punished. In addition, the coverup began right after liberation:
- “After the liberation, the new Dutch government…decided that it did not want any incriminating material in the archives. Therefore the original archival material pertaining to the registration of the Jews, including the registration forms the municipalities had sent to the RvB, was destroyed. The central authorities then instructed the municipalities at the end of April 1946 to send for destruction the population registration cards that were marked with a “J” for “jew”. (https://muse.jhu.edu/issue/11105, page 480)
Sampling Error in the Family
Stories the Dutch tell themselves were typical: The maternal side of my sister-in-law’s family from Maastricht hid a Polish Jewish family in their attic for 22 months until Maastricht was liberated in October 1944.
- But fortunately, the Rijnbout family had eight very noisy children and pro-Nazi neighbors on either side. Her parents, Jacobus and Eelkje Rijnbout, parents of eight children, have a tree at the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial, an honor granted to them by Israel’s ambassador in April 2004 at a televised posthumous ceremony in Maastricht on the edge of that field. Families like the Rijnbouts are commemorated precisely because of how rare they were.
One Dutch Jew wrote:
“In a full hall he heard his boss say to him: “The good Jews are dead, the bad ones have returned.” Presser added that this boss was a “greatly respected personality with a doctor’s degree.” Such experiences were neither universal nor rare.” (Judging the Netherlands, page 30)
“The Dutch prime minister said that they could not expect him, as a socialist, to help restore money to Jewish capitalists….Joop Voet, later Dutch honorary consul in Tel Aviv, who had worked at the Netherlands Property Administration Institute (NBI). Voet was often told that “full legal restitution to the Jews would be in conflict with the postwar economic reconstruction of the Netherlands.”” (Judging the Netherlands, page 32)
The kind of story in my Dutch family and the salience of the Anne Frank story have enabled the Dutch to organize their historical memory in the service of forgetting the most unpleasant parts of their history. Stories like Anne Frank and the Rijnbout family should be remembered precisely because of how exceptional they were:
“In 2010 the chief rabbi of the Dutch Provincial Rabbinate, Binyomin Jacobs, said that he had never been in the Anne Frank House…“because this one case is an exception. The Anne Frank House encourages the belief in the myth that the Dutch were hiding the Jews from the Nazis.” (Judging the Netherlands, page 26)
The Rijnbout and Frank cases hide in plain sight the larger truth of elite indifference to and active bureaucratic connivance in genocide that empowered the greed and hate-driven uniformed gangsters of the Sicherheitspolizei Colonne.
This airbrushed history has had official sanction:
“In an interview with an Israeli government radio station in 2000, then Dutch PM Wim Kok said: “The Dutch have never been responsible for the misconduct of the Germans in the Netherlands during the war.” (https://besacenter.org/perspectives-papers/netherlands-hypocrisy-jews/)
A logical view if you’re worried about the cost of survivors’ and survivor descendants’ restitution claims:
“Then finance minister Piet Lieftinck led to changing the law to favor members of the Amsterdam Stock Exchange to the detriment of Jewish holders of securities. Lieftinck also wanted to retroactively change insurance laws to favor the Dutch insurers at the expense of the heirs of Dutch Holocaust victims.” (Judging the Netherlands, Gerstenfeld, page 13)
Clearly, little distinguishes the motives of the Colonne Henneicke police and the government minister.
The Netherlands’ airbrushed holocaust history has also served national populist purposes two generations later. Geert Wilders’ PVV (Freedom Party) needs the Netherlands’ WWII history airbrushed of guilt to demonize Muslim immigrants for their anti-semitism:
“In the Netherlands Mein Kampf is outlawed. When it was outlawed, the politically correct leftist and liberal parties applauded it. My point was that for the same reasons and (legal) arguments that Mein Kampf was outlawed in the Netherlands, the Koran could and should be outlawed since both books are full of incitement to violence. Geert Wilders, email interview with Human Rights Service, Jan. 2010.” (Who’s the Fascist? Uses of the Nazi Past at the Geert Wilders Trial, Working Paper (2012) Robert A. Kahn)
Wilders’ xenophobic PVV needs the Manichaean opposition of good, democratic, tolerant Holland to intolerant, anti-semitic, Islam to ignore that
“a large minority of Dutch (31%) think Jews talk too much about the Holocaust, and a majority (53%) would find a Jewish prime minister unacceptable (even though (the Jewish former Amsterdam mayor) Job Cohen was the Labor Party candidate for prime minister in 2003) (ibid).
War Crimes, Plunder and Reluctant Restitution a Half Century Late
The other side of Dutch WWII mythology and martyrology lies on the other side of the world: Indonesia. It’s a key link in the chain of Dutch self-deception and coverup. The two linked up after the war when the repatriated Dutch victims of the Japanese complained about the larger restitution claims of surviving Jews, as recounted by the Dutch Minister of Public Health, Dr. Els Borst-Eilers, whose ministry was charged with administering both sets of claims:
“The laws of previous governments regarding war victims and the special pensions and social benefits due to them were under our management. I had to execute or supervise these laws. They brought me into contact with the problems of postwar restitution. The renewed restitution discussions at the turn of the century gave me a sense of great shame. Previous governments had done nothing or very little….
Borst was also responsible for negotiating the restitution of the assets lost by the Dutch in the East Indies, who experienced far fewer deaths than the 107000 murdered Dutch Jews, but nevertheless expressed “jealousy toward the Jews”:
“Nobody there had even a scrap of paper to show that he had had any possessions that had been looted by the Japanese….when I talked with them there were often annoying conversations in the style of “Why do they get more per person than we do?” It was a relief to deal with the Jewish representatives, not only because they brought proof, but because they also had — besides the emotions involved — a rather businesslike and realistic attitude.” (Judging the Netherlands, Gerstenfeld, page 208).
Gerrit Zalm, the finance minister in Wim Kok’s government during restitution negotiations with both communities, confirmed Borst’s view:
“I consider that a very different case. The emotions were equally great, but the two issues were not comparable. The Dutch state did not possess assets that had belonged to these Dutchmen. These people had also suffered damage, but the government had not enriched itself from this….The Dutchmen who had lived in the former Dutch East Indies wanted to be treated like the Jews….(Judging the Netherlands, page 204)
Zalm knew the details of how the plunder of Jewish assets had not ended with liberation:
“On a TV program that year (1997) it was revealed that part of the Lippman Rosenthal (LIRO Bank) archive had been found. That was the looting bank where….the Jews had to deposit their possessions. The archive had been abandoned in an Amsterdam building that was inhabited by students. This was very negligent, to put it mildly. It later became known that what remained of the LIRO assets had been raffled off at a low taxation value of many years earlier to the personnel of the agency that, after the war, handled the remaining possessions. I founded that shocking. It was a discovery that deeply shamed me.” (Judging the Netherlands, page 202)
The best conclusion to this story of murder, plunder, coverup and self-deception is William Faulkner’s: “the past isn’t dead, it isn’t even past.”
Now that we’ve seen the common thread in the East Indies and Dutch homeland asset restitution process, let’s travel to the other side of the world.
Indonesian Support for Japanese Invaders and Postwar Dutch Recolonization
The Dutch East Indies, now Indonesia, already had an incipient nationalist independence movement when the Japanese invaded in January 1942. The Japanese government envisioned this Dutch colony as one of the linchpins of its Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere, supplying labor, oil and raw materials to industrial Japan.
One of its leaders who greeted the Japanese as liberators was the future president Sukarno. Famed Indonesian writer Pramoedya Ananta Toer noted: “with the arrival of the Japanese just about everyone was full of hope, except for those who had worked in the service of the Dutch.”
“The Japanese occupation was initially greeted with optimistic enthusiasm by Indonesians who came to meet the Japanese army waving flags and shouting support such as “Japan is our older brother” and “banzai Dai Nippon”. As the Japanese advanced, rebellious Indonesians in virtually every part of the archipelago killed groups of Europeans (particularly the Dutch) and informed the Japanese reliably on the whereabouts of larger groups.” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_occupation_of_the_Dutch_East_Indies ).
One of the Japanese officers interviewed in Japan At War, by the Japanese-American couple Haruko Taya and Theodore Cook, confirmed this. Nogi Harumichi told them:
“We travelled through the southern part of the Celebes by car. All seemed to be functioning well, and we Japanese were being treated as liberators who had expelled the Dutch for the Indonesians. The haughty Dutch who had lorded it over the Indies found themselves prisoners overnight. When I got to areas where Japanese forces had never been, village chiefs welcome me. They waved the sun flag and the Indonesian flag too….To me they looked as if they favored us. This lasted through the end of 1942. (Japan at War, 1989, page 107)
Many Indonesians didn’t mind when the Japanese interned tens of thousands of Dutch colonizers and other local Europeans and Chinese in concentration camps. The local Indonesians who replaced them in professional and technical jobs were happy to be promoted. The Indonesian political and economic elite that had cooperated with the Dutch collaborated with newly arrived Japanese companies that supplied the Japanese military’s war effort. They at first believed the Japanese slogan, “Asia for the Asians”. Some are pictured here:
The Japanese, the “Light of Asia” according to their propaganda, paved the way for Indonesian independence by:
- Dismantling the Dutch colonial state apparatus.
- Lifting the ban on the nationalist name of Indonesia for the Dutch East Indies and encouraging
- Conscripting and training tens of thousands of Indonesians from many different islands, which enabled them to defeat the Dutch recolonization effort from 1945–49.
- Disrupting the rigidly hierarchical racial and caste social order that had prevailed before the war: “the Japanese had opened training schools for government officials, normal schools, agricultural and forestry schools, commercial schools, engineering colleges, medical colleges, merchant marine school, for provide higher education to Indonesians, and made “Indonesian” the official language instead of English or Dutch. The Japanese banned the use of Dutch and English language.” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_occupation_of_the_Dutch_East_Indies#End_of_the_occupation)
But the reality did not match the Japanese propaganda. Asia was for Japanese Asians. Our war criminal witness, Lieutenant Harumichi, shows how:
“Japan recreated exactly the same structure the Dutch had used. If we’d removed that we couldn’t have administered the country. This was true even at the lowest levels. Each local district had its own head, with its own system of self-government. It was almost completely feudalistic and practically universal….The Japanese military authorities followed the same pattern. We used the feudalistic system as it was.” (Japan at War, page 107)
After the end of 1942 the locals understood they had exchanged one colonizer for another:
“Then the military demanded an allotment of the rice harvest from the depths of the Celebes. There was a stirring of tension among the locals and the troops had to be mobilized to control it. Allied bombing started in 1943…Just before each air raid, it seemed a flare would be sent up showing our location….At first, the pedicabs had stopped the instant I called out to them. Now they kept going as if they didn’t hear.” (Japan at War, pages 107–08)
Lt. Harumichi was put in charge of a naval facility that trained local Indonesian ferry boatmen on the island of Ambon, near the New Guinea front. Part of his job was explaining to the trainees that if Japan lost the war they would remain a colony. But “I didn’t truly believe thoses arguments any longer, but I used them anyway.” (Japan at War, page 109).
By 1944 Lt. Harumichi knew that
“our military occupation would be powerless if the locals began guerrilla activities against us….the local Kempei unit had been…cooking up false cases, just to get points for doing something. They dragging in village heads one after the other. Calling them spies and then executing them.”
The Japanese conscripted at least 4 million Indonesians as forced laborers while 4 million died in the famine that resulted from the Japanese looting of the local economy and infrastructure. The would-be liberators’ plunder triggered rebellion, aided by the British, Australians and Dutch. Essentially, the war proved to be a school for national revolution, teaching masses of Indonesians by example that violence could be effective in pursuit of political and social revolution. During the occupation the Japanese had beheaded entire families of many local sultans who had joined the resistance. Acehnese (Sumatran) clerics and their followers who rebelled against the Dutch in February 1942, rebelled against the Japanese in November of the same year.
According to Lt. Harumichi, the returning Dutch colonial officials had no issue with Japanese atrocities committed against Indonesians:
“the Dutch did not charge those who had followed official military legal procedures carried out by the Japanese army and navy. They did not question them even if there were horrible things in the trials. And so, although the Dutch came to investigate these martial law sentences, they never filed complaints against me.” (Japan at War, page 112)
This shows that the coverup of Japanese war crimes in Indonesia was a Dutch-Japanese joint venture. Lt. Harumichi, who personally beheaded Indonesian village headmen and downed allied pilots, explains:
“Today, Japan’s government justifies what the military did during those war years. I’m saying this because I’m receiving a pension today. The time I spent in Sugamo prison as a war criminal is included in my service. This is the Japanese state saying, “Thank you very much for your efforts.” You acted for the sake of Japan.” Although I was given 30 years by America for a crime I committed, it’s treated as just a foreign sentence, unimportant.” (Japan at War, page 113).
Covering for Japanese war criminals in Indonesia facilitated forgetting the Dutch mass murderers who succeeded them:
“Consider, for example, the case of Dutch officer Raymond Westerling, who was in charge of “pacifying” parts of the island of Sulawesi during the Indonesian war. An interview with him in which he admitted to war crimes was filmed in 1969. Not a single Dutch TV station agreed to broadcast it. It was finally shown in 2012. In 1971, Westerling told a journalist over a glass of diluted whisky that he had court-martialed 350 captives and personally executed them. Again, no action was taken by justice authorities.(https://besacenter.org/perspectives-papers/netherlands-hypocrisy-jews/)
Coverup Hiding in Plain Sight
The brief Indonesian part of the Dutch WWII story seems added on almost as an afterthought. This illustrates how the Pacific part of a worldwide conflict was, in relative terms, a mostly American run sideshow, sensibilities of China, Korea, Burma and Indonesia nothwithstanding. Though Germany’s defeat doomed the Japanese empire, Japan’s defeat would not have necessarily led to Germany’s defeat. To defeat Germany the world’s largest empire (the UK), the world’s greatest industrial power (the USA) and the world’s largest country (the USSR) had to form an awkward alliance of convenience. No two of them alone without the third could have defeated Germany and its eastern European satellites. Also, Japan, unlike Germany, had no nuclear weapons development potential. So the fate of the Netherlands and the rest of Nazi-occupied Europe depended on this odd alliance of British imperialism, American liberalism and Soviet communism.
As in Italy, self-deceiving martyrology produced a coverup hiding in plain sight. Through Japanese war crimes and cruelty, the German bombing of Rotterdam and occupation of the Netherlands and the hunger winter of 1944–45, the Dutch could look good as helpless victims by comparison. This hid and prevented accountability for the Netherlands’ civil society, civil service and police taking a different, less overtly violent, route to the same genocidal destination as most of eastern Europe. With the bar set so low, they could forget that their government threw in the towel in their war against Indonesian independence only when the US threatened to withdraw Marshall Plan aid. They could also forget that after Japan’s surrender thousands of British troops beat back Indonesian nationalists in Java using recently surrendered Japanese troops, as the French did in Indochina. The Netherlands could not have launched a war of recolonization in Indonesia without the help of their erstwhile enemies. Imagine the impact on the Dutch self-image if recently surrendered German troops been available and used for the same purpose to suppress a resistance rebellion in the Netherlands itself that brought elite collaborators to justice. Though a seemingly absurd speculation, the moral dimensions of national memory are sometimes best served by the shock therapy of counterfactuals and speculation.
The Holocaust in the Netherlands and the Rate of Jewish Survival, Marnix Croes, Research and Documentation Center of the Netherlands Ministry of Justice, Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Volume 20, Number 3, Winter 2006, Holocaust and Genocide Studies, https://muse.jhu.edu/issue/11105
Hitler’s Bounty Hunters: The Betrayal of the Jews, Ad van Liempt, 2005
Judging the Netherlands: The Renewed Holocaust Restitution Process, 1997–2000, Manfred Gerstenfeld, 2011, Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
The Netherlands Profound Hypocrisy on the Jews, Manfred Gerstenfeld, 2019, BESA Center Perspectives Paper 1,068, The Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies, January 20, 2019
Anti-Antisemitic Enthusiasm & Selective Philosemitism: Geert Wilders, the PVV and the Jews, Evelien Gans, Proceedings / International conference “Antisemitism in Europe Today: the Phenomena, the Conflicts” 8–9 November 2013, Organized by the Jewish Museum Berlin, the Foundation “Remembrance, Responsibility and Future” and the Center for Research on Antisemitism Berlin
WHO’S THE FASCIST? USES OF THE NAZI PAST AT THE GEERT WILDERS TRIAL Working Paper (2012) Robert A. Kahn Associate Professor of Law University of St. Thomas School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper №12–10
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Some were neighbors: http://somewereneighbors.ushmm.org/#/exhibitions/workers/un104/description
USHMM, Jewish Losses by Country: https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/article/jewish-losses-during-the-holocaust-by-country
The Henneicke Column: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henneicke_Column
The Netherlands in World War Two (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Netherlands_in_World_War_II#Holocaust)
Dutch Foundation for Literature, http://www.letterenfonds.nl/en/book/76/a-price-on-their-heads
The Guardian, January 7, 2019, The Cut-out Girl by Bart van Es review. (https://www.theguardian.com/books/2019/jan/07/the-cut-out-girl-by-bart-van-es-review)
Japanese Occupation in the Dutch East Indies (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_occupation_of_the_Dutch_East_Indies)
Japan At War: An Oral History, 1989, Haruko Taya Cook and Theodore Cook.