Denunciation and Rescue

Dutch Society and the Holocaust

By Pinchas Bar-Efrat

Format: Hardcover

Pages: 328

ISBN: 978-965-308-526-8


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The Jew […] is so brazen as to walk on the street in the evening and even during the day, without wearing a Jewish star in order to enjoy more freedom. I hope that society will soon be relieved of this menace. (from a letter of denunciation(. Denunciation and Rescue examines the attitude of the Dutch authorities toward the Jews during the Nazi occupation, and particularly that of the directors of the various government ministries, as well as of the ministers of the government-in-exile in London, and of Dutch society in general. Pinchas Bar-Efrat probed thousands of files of postwar trials of war criminals in the Netherlands and found that the punishments imposed on those who denounced and betrayed Jews were often relatively lenient given the severity of their crimes and the tragic results. The author discusses the modus operandi of these war criminals and their motives for denouncing Jews—primarily greed, but also envy and strained relations between the families concealing the Jews and the Jews in hiding, among others. The book thoroughly examines the role and activities of the Dutch police, which played a central part in the arrest and deportation of the Dutch Jews to the death camps. It also highlights, in contrast, the important actions of the Dutch resistance and the Dutch individuals who concealed Jews, assisted them in obtaining false papers, or provided them with ration cards and money. In spite of the scarcity of information on the subject, the author manages to identify the motives of the rescuers, who endangered their lives and the lives of their families to hide and rescue the persecuted Jews. This important study demonstrates that most of the Dutch population was silent in the face of the persecution of the Jews, and even actively collaborated with the Germans. Consequently, denunciation and betrayal sealed the fate of many Jews in the Netherlands. Pinchas Bar-Efrat experienced the Holocaust in Holland firsthand. He and his family were hidden by Dutch rescuers who risked their lives to assist them. At the same time, he witnessed the local population’s apathy and collaboration with the Nazis that led to the deaths of many members of his extended family, friends, and acquaintances.