Camp of hope and despair


Willy Lindwer, AVA Productions BV


Timeframe: 1939-1945

Location: Westerbork

Number interviews: 14




Is part of: Thematische collectie: Erfgoed van de Oorlog, Het Willy Lindwer Holocaust Video Archief

The material is not yet available through DANS. However, you can contact Willy Lindwer himself, contact details can be found on his website.

Camp Westerbork in the eastern part of the Netherlands was the last station for more than 100,000 Dutch Jews to be deported to the Nazi death camps. Over 80% of Dutch Jews were deported, the highest percentage in Western Europe. The emotion and tragedy of the story is enhanced by the remarkable photographs and films of Rudolf Breslauer, camp photographer and filmmaker. This is the first documentary film ever made about this Nazi transit camp in the Netherlands, with a large series of interviews with survivors who played an important and prominent role in the camp, such as youth leaders, about the hospital, religious life, entertainment and other elements of life in the camp. Among the interviewees is the non-Jewish Dutchman Adrianus van As, head of the distribution office in Camp Westerbork.


Chanoekaviering in een barak in Westerbork, december 1943

Witnesses of Theresienstadt


Realisation project:

Radboud University Nijmegen, Faculty of Religious Studies


Timeframe: 1943-1945, postwar period
Location: Amsterdam, Theresienstadt, Westerbork

Number of interviews: 25


Restricted access




With a dozen filmed interviews, this project contributes to the knowledge and image of the Jews deported from the Netherlands and their memories of the German concentration camp Theresienstadt in the present Czech Republic. Theresienstadt was mainly a transit camp for Jews, who were mostly sent to the extermination camps. The interviewees are Jews who were deported from the Netherlands to the camp in 1943 and 1944 and stayed in the camp for short or long periods of time (or even twice) during the last two years of the Second World War. The following questions are central to the interviews: How did the eyewitnesses experience Theresienstadt and which elements played a decisive role in their survival strategies? How did the prisoners cope and what gave them their strength?


The approximately 5000 Jews from the Netherlands in Theresienstadt were a very heterogeneous group. About half of them were German-speaking and as Austrian or German emigrants or refugees they had a completely different history than the Jews born in the Netherlands. There were also several groups of privileged Jews (such as the ‘Barneveld group’ and the ‘Mussert Jews’), while other categories (such as the Jews on the ‘Puttkammer list’) had a much less protected status.


It is often said about the Dutch group that they were conspicuous in Theresienstadt for their unwillingness to work, their maladjustment and their passive resistance. These characteristics, attributed mainly to Dutch prisoners, were mentioned indirectly in the interviews with survivors, but were not automatically confirmed by the respondents.


NSB men in Westerbork



Project realisation:


Timeframe: 1940-1948
Location: Nederland
Number of interviews: 21

(restricted public use)


Thematische colectie: Erfgoed van de Oorlog


After the liberation, between 24 April 1945 and 1 December 1948 to be precise, the former German transit camp Westerbork functioned as an internment camp for NSB members, Waffen-SS members, land guards and other people in the Netherlands suspected of collaboration with the German occupier. In the summer of 1945, the health and safety of these thousands of men and women was of little concern to anyone. Poor daily living conditions, insufficient medical facilities and both mental and physical abuse were the order of the day.

Jewish children in camp Vught



Huffener, kand. M.C.C. (2003): Thematische collectie: Kindertransporten ‘Joodse kinderen in kamp Vught’ – Interviews (2003) en documentaires (2007). DANS.


Number of interviews: 8

One of the most tragic events in the history of World War II in the Netherlands. On 6 and 7 June 1943, two trains with Jewish children left camp Vught. All children under 16 had to leave, their mothers were allowed to go with them. They were told they would be going to a special children’s camp nearby. But the trains went to the Westerbork transit camp. And then to Sobibor in Poland. The almost 1,300 Jewish children were killed here almost immediately upon arrival.