Westerbork was a transit camp (Durchganglager) for Dutch Jews gathered by the Gestapo at various razzias around Holland. The camp was set up by the Dutch authorities in October 1939 to house Jewish refugees who had immigrated illegally to Holland. Until the end of 1941 there were no more than about 1000 prisoners in the camp, but when the Nazis decided that Westerbork would be used as a transit camp, thousands of Jews arrived, but also a small number of gypsies. Between July 1942 and September 1944, 93 trains departed from Westerbork, usually on Tuesdays, with just over 1,000 people bound for Auschwitz or Sobibor. More than 80 percent of the Dutch Jewish population was murdered in one of these camps. A total of 105,000 Jews were deported from Westerbork.

While waiting for deportation, some of the prisoners had to work within the part of the camp that produced war material. The camp was built as a concentration camp with barracks for prisoners, SS personnel, labor barracks, penal barracks, etc. The conditions in the camp were acceptable compared to other camps because the Nazis wanted to hide the true meaning of the camp. In cases where prisoners were guilty of some form of crime and were to be punished, they were sent to another camp. Westerbork was liberated on April 12, 1945, when only about 850 people remained in the camp.

Current status: Demolished with museum (2000).

Address: Hemeloor, 9433 Zwiggelte.

Get there: Car.

My comment:

Anne Frank and her family were imprisoned in Westerbork for about a month before being deported to Auschwitz. The transport departed on 3 September 1944 and was the last transport leaving Westerbork with destination Auschwitz.

Follow up in books: Gilbert, Martin: The Holocaust: A History of the Jews of Europe During the Second World War (1987).