Jewish Self-Help and Rescue in the Netherlands during the Holocaust in Comparative Perspective | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online
Volume 124, Issue 4
  • ISSN: 0040-7518
  • E-ISSN: 2352-1163


The differences between rescue in the Netherlands when compared with Belgium and France are primarily in the structures of the organisations involved. In both France and Belgium the extent of Jewish self-help generated from migrant political and welfare groups at an early stage in the occupation helps to explain the speed of reaction when the deportations began. The degree of integration with wider non-Jewish welfare and resistance movements that had emerged before and during the ‘phoney war’ also reduced some of the practical problems in helping those in hiding at an early stage of the occupation. Jews under threat had the prospect of a source of assistance beyond the German-coordinated ‘official’ Jewish AJB or UGIF. This is in stark contrast to the Netherlands, where there was no such alternative, and where Jewish self help could not develop in the same way. While all countries produced individual rescuers and rescues, organisation took much longer to develop in the Netherlands. It is also worth noting that in the case of rescuing children – who were considered a special case in every country – there was a greater proliferation of organisations in the Netherlands because these were instigated by non-Jewish networks rather than by existing Jewish groups. A further contrast can be seen in the attitudes of leading churchmen. At first glance, their public statements were not particularly different, but it seems to have been their private advice and guidance to their subordinates that harnessed the power of the churches in specific areas to help Jews in hiding.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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