Deportation train from Westerbork camp

Written by Mark deMeza

December 21, 2023

This image shows Jews being loaded onto a deportation train from Westerbork camp to Auschwitz. To the right are the windows of  the carriages reserved for the camp prominents and accompanying Nazi officials. To the left, we can see the infamous cattle trucks used to carry the majority of the camp inmates, crammed inside and locked in for days.

Amongst the 100,000 who took this route from the Netherlands was Anne Frank on 3 September 1944. The tragic irony for Anne was that hers was the very last transport to leave Westerbork. Although many did not know for sure what lay ahead for them in the camps in Eastern Europe, Anne certainly had an inkling, when she wrote “ Our many Jewish friends and acquaintances are being taken away in droves.  The Gestapo are treating them very roughly and transporting them in cattle cars to Westerbork, the big camp in Drenthe where they’re sending all the Jews.’ She added: ‘If it’s this bad in Holland, what must it be like in those faraway and uncivilized places where the Germans are sending them? We assume that most of them are being murdered. The English radio says they’re being gassed. Perhaps that’s the quickest way to die.’ However, the testimony of other survivors is clear that they did not in fact believe they were approaching an extermination camp, but had been duped into expecting a hard labour camp.


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