Closely interwoven with the history of the persecution of the Jews during World War II in the Netherlands is transit camp Westerbork. During the war it was officially referred to by the Germans as Polizeiliches Judendurchgangslager Westerbork. More than 101,000 Dutch Jews were deported via this camp to the concentration and extermination camps of the Third Reich. Only a small part of them survived the Holocaust and returned to the Netherlands after the war.
Thereís a history to be told about the period that the camp functioned as a transit camp, because camp Westerbork was not set up by the German occupiers, it already existed before the war. The camp was built in 1939 by the Dutch government as a refugee camp for Jewish refugees from Germany and Austria.
In this article we will discuss both the history of the Central Refugee Camp Westerbork (1939-1942), as well as the history of the transit camp (Polizeiliches Judendurchgangslager) Westerbork (1942-1945). The history of the persecution of the Jews in the German-occupied Netherlands is the thread of this article. Besides this, attention will be given to the allocation given to the Westerbork camp site after the war.