New study finds that Camp Amersfoort played a key role in the Holocaust

New study finds that Camp Amersfoort played a key role in the Holocaust

A new study has found that Camp Amersfoort played a more significant role in the persecution and extermination of Jews during the Second World War than originally thought. The camp was previously understood to have been a transit camp for forced labourers and detention facility for resistance fighters, but researchers now believe that the camp was also used for torture and murder of Jews. 

Researchers from Maastricht University uncover new crimes at Camp Amersfoort

The researchers who made the discovery are a team from Maastricht University, according to reporting from Trouw. The team, headed up by expert Amanda Kluveld, found that the camp was a collection camp for Jews for 10 months before the opening of Camp Westerbork, which held almost 100.000 people in detention before transporting them for torture and execution at death camps in Germany and occupied Poland. 

The team of researchers have found that 82 Jews were murdered at Camp Amersfoort, including one baby. At least two trains departed to transport Jews to Auschwitz from Camp Amersfoort, and almost 400 Jews were transported to Mauthausen penal camp from Amersfoort’s detention facility, where they were then murdered.

New findings to be published in book

The new findings are set to be published in a book. Het vergeten verhaal van de Joodse gevangenen van Kamp Amersfoort (The Forgotten Story of the Jewish Prisoners of Camp Amersfoort), is based on six years of researching the history of the camp and uses autobiographical documents, as well as statements from prisoners in post-war trials against Nazis. 

“What happened to the Jews in Camp Amersfoort does not fit in with the relatively clean image that exists of the persecution of Jews in the Netherlands,” Kluveld said. “Pencils were stuck in their eyes, beards were set on fire, Jews were thrown into cesspools and beaten to death. These are practices of which we might think: that happened elsewhere. But it did happen here. And it also had a purpose.”

Kluveld only included accusations and re-tellings of events she found multiple accounts for. “These examples say enough,” she said, explaining why she didn’t include every piece of evidence and documentation she has read. “What we learn from this research is that Camp Amersfoort was the beginning of the end for many Jewish prisoners.”

Thumb image credit: Maurizio Fabbroni /



Emily Proctor

Former Editor at IamExpat Media.

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