Anne Frank and After: Dutch Holocaust Literature in Historical Perspective

By Dick Van Galen Last; Rolf Wolfswinkel | Go to book overview

II
From Aryan Declaration to Yellow Star

The Antechamber of Death

I feel certain that further troubles will not bring any Jew back to the paths of righteousness; on the contrary, I think that upon experiencing such great anguish they will think that there is no God at all in the universe, because had there been a God He would not have let such things happen to His people. ( Moshe Flinker, November 26, 1942)

...it was in the first instance the Jewish race which only received my prophecies with laughter when I said that (...) I would then among other things settle the Jewish problem. Their laughter was uproarious, but I think that for some time now they have been laughing on the other side of their face. ( Hitler, speech of January 30, 1939)

After a blitzkrieg of just five days, which began in the early hours of 10 May 1940, German troops occupied Holland. The country had long maintained a policy of strict neutrality and was neither mentally nor materially prepared for war. The bombardment of Rotterdam, which killed nearly 1000 people, and the German warning that more cities would follow, was sufficient reason for the Dutch Government to capitulate. Queen Wilhelmina and her government went into exile in London to continue the struggle from there and to protect their colonial interests in the Dutch East and West Indies. Their departure created a moral vacuum which was to cause a great deal of confusion among Dutch civil servants. An illustration of this can be found in novelist W. F. Hermans' scathing attack on Dutch officialdom, Herinneringen van een engelbewaarder (Memories of a Guardian Angel). In this book the main character, a public prosecutor, and his circle of colleagues do their utmost to find excuses for not doing anything. They all continue as if nothing has happened, hoping a solution will present itself. They consider it their duty to prevent chaos, because:

chaos is what we have to avoid at all cost, under all circumstances. Where would we be if the whole underworld was given the chance to make a killing as well? ( Hermans, 1971: 289, own translation)

-33-

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Anne Frank and After: Dutch Holocaust Literature in Historical Perspective
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 3
  • Table of Contents 5
  • Acknowledgments 7
  • Introduction 'Statistics Don't Bleed' 9
  • I Dutch Jewry Before 10 May 1940 15
  • II From Aryan Declaration to Yellow Star - The Antechamber of Death 33
  • III Deportation or into Hiding 53
  • IV The Transit Camps 75
  • V The Railroad of No Return 91
  • VI The Paradox of Silence: Survivors and Losers 121
  • VII The Epilogue 147
  • Notes 155
  • Chronology 165
  • Short Biographies 167
  • Bibliography 173
  • Sources 179
  • Index 181
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