Concentration camp Vught


Within the organisation of the Endlösung (final solution) – the plan of the Nazis to exterminate European Jews – camp Vught played a minor roll when compared to Judendurchgangslager Westerbork, the Dutch transition station between the extermination camps. From camp Vught no direct deportations took place to the extermination camps. Nevertheless, about 12,000 Jews were imprisoned in Vught for a short or longer period of time. Almost all of them were subsequently deported to extermination camps in Poland via camp Westerbork.

The Jewish prisoners in Vught were divided into two groups: the Schutzhaft-Jews and the civil Jews. Schutzhaft-Jews were Jews who were punished for a particular offence. They would first be put up with other Schutzhaft-prisoners in the Schutzhaftlager. Later they were accommodated in separate barracks, called Block 15. As of 16 January 1943, the civil Jews stayed in a separate part of the camp that was arranged as Judenauffanglager (Jew shelter camp). There were two groups of civil Jews. The first group of civil Jews, mainly consisted of workers from the textile and diamond industry who enjoyed exemption from deportation on the basis of their work expertise. The second group was made up of Jews from the Dutch provinces of Friesland, Groningen, Drenthe, Overijssel, Gelderland, Limburg, North-Brabant and Zeeland. They had to report themselves in camp Vught, because these provinces had to be Judenrein as of 10 April 1943. In February 1943 the part of the camp for Jews was no longer designated as Judenauffanglager, but as Judendurchgangslager (JDL, transition station), although the Jewish prisoners were not informed of this.

Jewish self-government was allowed in the Judendurchgangslager. The Jewish prisoners had their own officials responsible for order and SS guards hardly interfered with daily camp management.

The first Jews transport to Vught took place on 15 January 1943. The Germans had brought together a couple of hundred Jews in the Dutch Theatre in Amsterdam. In the night of 15 to 16 January, 453 Jews were transported via tram to Amsterdam Central Station. From there, the Jews were transported to Vught, where they arrived in the early morning of 16 January. In the following months, many more transports would take place.

The first Jews transport from Vught to Westerbork took place on 28 January 1943. In the following years, many more transports would take place, including the infamous transports of children on 6 and 7 June 1943. In total, 1269 Jewish children, together with 1745 parents were deported to the extermination camp Sobibor, from Vught via Westerbork. After a journey of three days they would be killed in this extermination camp almost immediately upon arrival. On 5 September 1999, a special monument for the deported children was revealed. Because the transport lists of 6 and 7 June 1943 were kept, all the names and ages of the children could be listed on the monument.

The last transport from Vught departed on 2 June 1944 to Auschwitz. It concerned the group of Jewish workers of the Philips workplace. Of this group of about 500 people, 382 of them survived the war, while of the other deported Jews only a small part returned home. Non-Jewish prisoners were also deported from camp Vught. They were not deported to extermination camps, but to other camps, prisons or detention centres. The total numbers involved are unknown.


Euphemistic term for the final solution the Nazis had in store for the “Jewish problem”. Eventually the Endlösung would get the form of annihilating the entire Jewish people in extermination camps.
Middle Eastern people with own religion that lived in Palestine. They distinguished themselves by their strong monotheism and the strict observance of the Law and tradition. During World War 2 the Jewish people were ruthlessly persecuted and annihilated by the German Nazis. . An estimated 6,000,000 Jews were exterminated.

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Deportation in camp Westerbork.
(Source: Jewish Virtual Library)


Translated by:
STIWOT translator
Article by:
Kevin Prenger
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