Why the Dutch Failed to Save Their Jews During World War II

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Synopsis A single telegram ended the peace. This small piece of paper meant the death of thousands of people. It was the Nazis declaration of war on the Netherlands. One of the most anti-Semitic regimes in recent history now occupied a country who had housed Jews for the last few centuries. Critics have blamed the large amounts of Jewish deaths on the lack of Dutch resistance to the Nazis. However, it was not the lack of moral responsibility amongst the non-Jews, but the insufficient finances and food supplies that caused the decimation of horrific amounts of Dutch Jews during World War II. The gentiles attempted to save the Jews, but the cost of hiding them was too extreme, leaving no choice other than letting the Jews be deported. Introduction The Netherlands is famous for being one of the most resistant countries during World War II. Yad Vashem has honored more “religious gentiles” from the Netherlands than any other country. However, of the approximately 140,000 Jews in the Netherlands, 107,000 were deported. Only 5,000 of those Jews returned, and of the Jews in hiding, only 30,000 survive. This meant that 75% of the Dutch Jewish population was eradicated, the second largest amount after Poland. Many question why so few Jews survived while so many people tried to save them. My hypothesis is that the limited amount of food and money made hiding the Jews to difficult and expensive for the non-Jews, giving them virtually no choice but to let the Jews be deported. The Buildup Initially the Netherlands attempted to stay neutral during World War II, as it had been in the First World War, however, the Nazis still attacked. The final Nazi-free moments for the Dutch were those on May 10, 1940, the day Hitler invaded the Netherlands... ... middle of paper ... ...they managed to save almost all of their Jews. This is a stark contrast to the Netherlands who only managed to save a quarter of its Jewish population, although both had a very strong resistance. I mention this comparison throughout the paper in multiple footnotes. Woolf, Linda M., Ph.D. "Survival and Resistance: The Netherlands Under Nazi Occupation." Lecture. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington D.C. 6 Apr. 1999. Webster University. Webster University, 6 Apr. 1999. Web. 31 Oct. 2013. This source is one of the main ones that I used to write this paper. It is full of useful, statistical facts about the Jews in the Netherlands during World War II. It gives many examples of how they were resistant and how they helped the Jews. It is a reliable source since a Ph. D. professor wrote it. I use information from this source frequently throughout the paper.

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