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Monday, July 31, 2017

In Holland, the Nazis built a luxury camp to lull the Jews before murdering them


Dutch Chief Rabbi Binyomin Jacobs’ parents survived the Holocaust in hiding, and he often speaks about the genocide at Westerbork to schoolchildren. (Cnaan Lipshiz)
WESTERBORK, Netherlands (JTA) — Nothing about the footage that Rudolf Breslauer filmed here on May 30, 1944, suggests that it was taken inside one of Europe’s largest Nazi concentration camps.
In the film by Breslauer, a German-Jewish inmate of the Westerbork camp in Holland’s northeast, prisoners are seen playing soccer enthusiastically in team uniforms, complete with a referee in a special outfit.
A middle-aged man wearing a suit and a boy who may have been his grandson stroll cheerfully in the sun past spectators. In other segments, inmates are seen putting on theater performances, working in modern factories and even going to church – an activity undertaken by many German Jews before the Holocaust, including some who had converted to Christianity just before or during the Holocaust in a vain effort to escape persecution by the Nazis.
The film is one of only two cinematic works known to have been produced inside a functioning concentration camp for Jews — the other was in Theresienstadt.
Commissioned by Westerbork’s commanders for propaganda purposes, Breslauer’s film is a rare documentation of the sophisticated facade employed by the Nazis at the camp, where 75 years ago they began carrying out the systematic murder of three quarters of Dutch Jewry – the highest death rate in Nazi-occupied Western Europe. Westerbork served as a so-called transit camp from which 100,000 Dutch Jews were shipped to Nazi death camps in Poland.
The subterfuge maintained the illusion that the camp’s inmates were sent to work camps, giving them hope and an incentive to comply with orders that helped ensure Westerbork’s deadly efficiency, according to Johannes Houwink ten Cate of the University of Amsterdam, who is among the world’s foremost experts on the Holocaust in the Netherlands.
According to ten Cate, the deceit extended far beyond the possibly staged scenes that Breslauer captured with his camera (Breslauer was sent to Auschwitz with his wife and three children in 1944. Only their daughter Chanita survived the war).
The size of Camp Westerbork’s hospital, which was one of the best and largest hospitals of its kind, symbolizes the Nazi lie that Jews were going to be put to work” further east, ten Cate told JTA in an interview last week ahead of the 75th anniversary of the first death transport out of the camp, which took place on July 15, 1942.
“It was one of a great many German efforts focused at making sure that Jews did not understand what the Nazis were up to,” he added.
These efforts paid off, according to Henny Dormits, 87, a Holocaust survivor who lived in the camp with her family for two years before they were sent to Theresienstadt.
While Jews in many other parts of Europe were subjected to violence, torture, abuse and murder in camps, in Westerbork, “people were not abused, they were treated correctly,” she said during an interview for Dutch television in 2011. She spoke at the former living quarters of Albert Gemmeker, the Nazi commander of Westerbork, which is the only part of the camp that still exists today.
The Germans “did everything possible to keep people calm here so no one was afraid,” Dormits recalled. And so when people were shipped off in cattle carts, “everyone assumed we’d be going to another work camp.”
Westerbork included many amenities that Jewish concentration camp inmates elsewhere could only dream of, including permits to leave camp without supervision — given exclusively to people with family still inside the camp, so they would not escape – and cabaret productions with musical instruments.
But it was the quality of medical treatment in Westerbork that clinched the illusion, according to Dormits.
“People were operated on here by the best doctors, they would be hospitalized for entire weeks as they healed, and when they were all better they were put on a transport,” she recalled in the documentary. “This was the make-believe world in which we lived.”
This form of deception was extremely effective, according to Dirk Mulder, the director of the Camp Westerbork Memorial Center, a nongovernmental organization with state funding that is responsible for commemoration and educational work in the former camp.
The message of the hospital was, “We Germans have the best intentions for you, get better in this large hospital so we can put you to work elsewhere,” Mulder said in the Dutch documentary.
Still, not everyone was duped. Gemmeker, who had a friendly relationship with the Jewish filmmaker Breslauer, once told the cameraman something that made Breslauer realize the transports were a one-way ticket, according to Chanita Moses, Breslauer’s daughter. Her father did not say exactly what Gemmeker told him, she told the Dutch television film crew....
Those gosh darn Nazis, they even built a "luxury camp" with the "BEST DOCTORS" and performed surgery and hospitalized people for weeks only to transport them off to be gassed!
So in less than three years, while fighting 58 countries in the worst war in human history, those gosh darn Nazi's were able to build luxury camps with the "BEST DOCTORS", fill the camps with theater and music equipment, not to mention soccer fields and swimming pools (that's right, Auschwitz even had an Olympic size swimming pool complete with diving boards),  just to trick Jews into thinking they would not be killed and then kill them anyhow?  They even managed to herd up over 6 million people and kill them all and dispose of their bodies to the point that they still cannot be found to this day!
They would of course never use their "BEST doctors" to treat the millions of their own people who were wounded by the constant bombings of Germany's cities by the Soviet Union and her allies the US AND UK.
Just to put this in perspective, there are 5.77 million people in Wisconsin.  Think about what would be involved in herding up every single man, woman, and child in the entire state of Wisconsin into a handful of camps and then being able to kill every one of them, burn them, or in many cases bury them, dig them up, and then burn them on open air fire pits and somehow manage to hide 99% of their remains?  Really think about the logistics of such an undertaking.  Next time one drives through a city like Milwaukee, Green Bay, Waukesha, etc... look at how many cars full of people you see, how many homes, hospitals, schools and really think about the possibility of this being able to be done while fighting the most brutal war in human history for the very survival of your nation against 58 other countries!  Then think about the fact that the vast majority of it was supposedly done in about a year and a half!

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