Netherlands 160,000- Personal Cards of Dutch Jews Made Available For Public Viewing in Future #holocaust
Jan Meisels Allen
The Netherlands branch of the Red Cross has transferred to the Jewish Cultural Quarter of Amsterdam — an umbrella of several Jewish institutions, including the National Holocaust Museum of the Netherlands — ownership of nearly 160,000 personal cards of Dutch Jews that are slated to be displayed to the public for the first time. The Museum in currently being rebuilt and will reopen in the autumn of 2022.
The entire index of the Jewish Council of Amsterdam — a body that the Nazis set up to have Jews oversee preparations for the extermination of their own minority throughout the Netherlands — is among the most comprehensive and best-kept registries of its kind anywhere in Europe. It is unusual in that it includes references to status and personal traits, reflecting how this registry, unlike most other Nazi lists, was made by for Jews by Jews.
In more than 75% of the cards, the Red Cross after World War II added the date of deportation in red ink — a rare tangible reminder of how in the Netherlands, the Nazis achieved their highest death rate anywhere in occupied Western Europe. Of about 110,000 Jews deported, only a few thousand survived.
The Red Cross has transferred its entire wartime archives to the Dutch National Archives, except for the Jewish Council’s Index Card Archive. On Monday, the Red Cross transferred ownership of the Index Card Archive to the National Holocaust Museum, which is undergoing renovations. The archive will be shown in the National Holocaust Museum from the end of 2022.
After 1945, the cards were used to determine what happened to the people named on the cards during the Holocaust. After the Second World War, the Information Office of the Netherlands Red Cross was given the task of collecting information about victims and survivors of persecution and the occupation and informing relatives and those left behind about the fate of their loved ones. The result is an archive – the War Archives – with important data about the occupation and the aftermath of the war. The Jewish Council Index Card Archive is part of that archive. The cards were digitized in 2012 and available for viewing online upon specific request for a name or other identifying details. But browsing the cards has not been possible. The National Holocaust Museum of the Netherlands is now designing the cards’ display ahead of the reopening, but they will be visible for all to see, according to Emile Schrijver, the director of the Jewish Cultural Quarter.
The National Holocaust Museum is located in Amsterdam in two historical buildings on Plantage Middenlaan. During the Second World War, the Hollandsche Schouwburg functioned as a deportation site for tens of thousands of Jews, while the Reformed Teacher Training College was used as part of a route to save Jewish children. Both buildings are closed to the public from 2020 to 2022 for rebuilding.
It is available both in English and Netherlands by clicking where it says language in the upper right side.
Jan Meisels Allen
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee