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The Enlargement of the Circle of Perpetrators of the Holocaust

Filed under: Anti-Semitism, World Jewry
Publication: Jewish Political Studies Review

Jewish Political Studies Review

When looking back on sixty years of Holocaust research, it is evident that the research community has broadened. The most striking result of the focus on the practical implementation of the Holocaust, as the new brilliant synthesis by Saul Friedländer also demonstrates, is the enlargement of the circle of perpetrators and accomplices. Now that this circle has come to include all Europeans with the exception of the tiny minority who rescued Jews, the vague terms which are used to describe the complicity of the occupied have largely become meaningless. There is a need for a new vocabulary for the Holocaust indicating the co-responsibility of the populations of the occupied territories. Perhaps part of this more precise vocabulary can be found in judgments handed down by international tribunals such as the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) on the genocide in Srebrenica, as is shown here through a review of recent historical research on the regular police departments in Holland and Belgium at the time of the Holocaust.


I. The Enlargement of the Research Community

The first scholars of the Holocaust identified with the victims and their perspective.[1] They interpreted the Holocaust in what Timothy Mason later described as the ‘intentionalist’ analysis.[2] They wanted to know why the Holocaust took place and focused on anti-Semitic ideology as the ideological core of National Socialism. As Christopher Browning remarked, these scholars viewed the Holocaust as a sort of Manhattan Project,[3] a secret conspiracy led by Adolf Hitler and his cronies who drew up a diabolical plan and were able to implement it without considerable effort. They viewed the Nazi state as a perfect  machinery of murder, as “a sadistic machine” that had “simply” rolled over the members of their families.[4] In their narratives the circle of perpetrators was relatively small and included the absolute leaders of the Third Reich who gave the orders and the Waffen-SS-men in the camps who executed them. The last analysis in this vein was published by Lucy S. Dawidowicz in 1975.[5]

In 1977 it became apparent to a larger public that the research community had become professionalized and internationalized. The translation into English of David Irving’s book Hitler’s War,[6] in which he blamed Heinrich Himmler for the Holocaust and maintained that Hitler had been unaware of it until 1943 drew highly negative reactions from distinguished Hitler specialists Hugh R. Trevor-Roper, Alan Bullock, Eberhard Jäckel and Martin Broszat, which were published in widely read periodicals such as The Sunday Times and The New York Review of Books.[7]

These senior historians were followed by younger German scholars such as Christian Streit, whose 1978 dissertation on the treatment of Soviet POWs by the Wehrmacht revealed the criminality of the regular German military.[8]  Hans Mommsen then coined the phrase ‘progressing cumulative radicalization’ to characterize the decision-making process of the Holocaust,[9] following Uwe Dietrich Adam who as early as 1972 had stressed the twisted path toward the Final Solution.[10]

Within this broadened research community, language barriers created a de-facto division of labor. Israeli scholars looked into Jewish reactions, German scientists researched the perpetrators but perhaps neglected Jewish sources, and historians living in the Western European states formerly occupied by the Nazis studied the local collaborators. A new generation of scholars focused on the implementation of the Holocaust, not on its origins. These ‘functionalists’ were inspired by Raul Hilberg’s 1961 classic. Hilberg was the first scholar “who wanted to know how the Jews of Europe were destroyed.” He “wanted to explore the sheer mechanism of destruction.”[11]

Hilberg convincingly argued that “the machinery of destruction” was “(…) structurally no different from organized German society as a whole; the difference was only one of function. The machinery of destruction was the organized community in one of its special roles.”[12] By carefully researching the different phases of the Holocaust – the definition, expropriation, concentration and the killings themselves -[13] those who followed in Hilberg’s footsteps discovered that across Europe, bureaucrats, other Gentiles as well as Jewish leaders and functionaries had implicated themselves in the anti-Jewish policies of the Nazis and others such as the government of Vichy, to a high degree.[14] Generally speaking, Nazi occupation policy was interpreted as “organized chaos”, with the Holocaust along with economic exploitation forming one of the few centralized aspects of the Nazi occupation policies.[15]

When the archives of Eastern Europe opened up after the fall of the Berlin Wall, these historians, mostly trained in Germany and the United States, turned out a series of books in which they reconstructed the killing operations in Eastern European regions and cities, very often from the perspective of the Nazi perpetrators.[16] In these regional studies they obviously and ambitiously tried to connect their view of the Holocaust as regional and local history with the international debate on the Holocaust decision-making process which began with Irving’s provocative contribution in 1977 and lasted until 2000-2001.[17]

What they found in the archives was overwhelming proof of the relative importance of local collaborators in the practical implementation of anti-Jewish policies, including mass killings in the open air. The most famous analysis of this type is Ordinary Men by Christopher R. Browning, and rightly so.[18] Wherever one looked, the conclusion was similar: the Holocaust could not have been implemented without the active assistance of the occupied.

II. Perpetrators and Accomplices

In his recent Pulitzer Prize-winning holistic synthesis of the Holocaust The Years of Extermination (2007), Saul Friedländer includes work done by this younger generation. His book goes beyond a synthesis of intentionalist and functionalist approaches. Friedländer brilliantly presents the story of the Shoah as seen through the eyes of Jews, Germans and European Gentiles. He has succeeded in the nearly impossible task of writing from above and from below at the same time, telling the whole story, dealing with all of Europe, giving the Jewish dead a stronger voice than usual.[19]

Friedländer’s motifs are the centrality of anti-Semitic ideology as the prime mover of Nazi policies and the social history of the Jews, the German perpetrators and their European helpers. The essential feature of Hitler’s Third Reich, according to Friedländer, lies in the idea that the self-named Aryans would find redemption by their disposal of the Jews. Only through the elimination of the Jews would they gain power over themselves and the other Europeans – which was the reason the Aryans existed in the first place.[20] Friedländer, who in this sense represents the implementation-oriented functionalist school, maintains that very large groups of Gentiles (and Jews) were co-responsible for the Holocaust:

At each step, in occupied Europe, the execution of German measures depended on the submissiveness of political authorities, the assistance of local police forces or other auxiliaries, and the passivity or support of the populations and mainly of the political and spiritual elites. It also depended on the willingness of the victims to follow orders in the hope of alleviating German strictures or gaining time and somehow escaping the inexorable tightening of the German vise.[21]

Although Friedländer does not use the exact word, it seems clear that he considers the aid and assistance given by the occupied as forms of complicity. He then pushes his argument further by stating that Hitler and the party leadership had to take vested interests into account “in the implementation” in Germany and in (the Western) part of occupied Europe. None of them cared about the Jews:

Not one social group, not one religious community, not one scholarly institution or professional organization in Germany and throughout Europe declared its solidarity with the Jews (…); to the contrary, many social constituencies, many power groups were directly involved in the expropriation of the Jews and eager, be it out of greed, for their wholesale disappearance. Thus, Nazi and related anti-Jewish policies could unfold to their most extreme levels without the interference of any major countervailing interests.[22]

Evidently, in Friedländer’s view this lack of solidarity was a form of aid and assistance to the Nazis. When he mentions the “most extreme levels” of anti-Jewish policies, it is difficult not to think of the death camps. In order to underscore his criticism, Friedländer writes that while in Western Europe everybody remained silent, many Eastern Europeans knew what was being done to the Jews:

(…) There can be little doubt that by the end of 1942 or early 1943 at the latest, it became amply clear to vast numbers of Germans, Poles, Belorussians, Ukrainians and Balts that the Jews were destined for complete extermination.[23]

In the course of his book Friedländer proves these points. From a historical point of view, therefore, there can be no doubt that collaboration was as rampant as passivity was general. It is nevertheless useful to compare Friedländer’s approach – and that of the many other scholars whose work he includes in his book – with the much more cautious approach taken by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in its February 2007 ruling in the case of Bosnia vs. Serbia. This was the first verdict by this respected international court on genocide. In it the ICJ, while interpreting the UN Genocide Convention (1948), largely upheld previous rulings by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY).

Although the ICJ verdict greatly disappointed the rather clumsy Bosnian law team and its many friends in the non-legal research community, the Court ruled that the killings in and around Srebrenica were an act of genocide committed by a state and condemned Serbia for not intervening after that killing had started, and for not handing over General Radko Mladic to the ICTY. The Court, however, clearly taking the Holocaust into consideration, pointedly stressed the fundamental difference between genocide on the one hand and ethnic cleansing – which is not about killing but about forced emigration – on the other.[24]

According to the Court, complicity is about positive action, practical aid and assistance. An accomplice to genocide, i.e. a person providing aid or assistance to perpetrators of genocide, is a person who acts knowingly. In other words, the accomplice must be aware of the specific genocidal intent of the perpetrator. “If that condition is not fulfilled, that is sufficient to exclude categorization as complicity.”  Only if it can be established that the aid was given to the perpetrators “in full awareness that the aid supplied would be used to commit genocide”, can there be complicity. Essentially because the condition of full awareness of genocidal intent was not met in this case, the Court refrained from discussing other conditions that would entail complicity.[25] If one follows this more restricted interpretation of complicity, it would be incorrect to interpret the aid and assistance of say the regular Amsterdam and Rotterdam police forces during their street raids on Jews in 1942-1943 as complicity to genocide, because these men – who obviously solved a very real Nazi manpower problem – lacked actual knowledge of the death camps and thus were not fully aware of the genocidal intent of the Nazis.[26] I will return to these police departments later.

The legal and historical spheres have different perspectives and different criteria. In the legal sphere choices have to be made. Clear answers are called for: a defendant is guilty, or he is not; a person commits genocide, or he does not. Historians and social scientists, however, are not obliged to express themselves in these rigid terms. But then, why do they? My point is simply that in the course of the last decades the enlarged research community has not only unearthed many new sources on the implementation of the Holocaust, but its representatives have broadened their definition of complicity by defining it as any form of action that furthers the goals of the perpetrator.

In fact, this rather vague legal definition of punishable acts was used by public prosecutors in many European states during the immediate post War years to deal with collaborators of many different kinds.[27] During this post-Liberation exercise of political justice, or rather the use of justice for political ends,[28] these collaborators – to quote a half-hearted apology by one the most important Dutch organizers of this political justice – were punished primarily for the fact that they had publicly displayed their lack of loyalty to their national political communities in their greatest hour of need.[29]

Some scholars have argued for the “basic needs of humanity”,[30] similar to the way post-war public prosecutors handled their cases by defining any act of value to the perpetrator as collaboration. Some of these writers are more radical than these post-World War II public prosecutors in that they view passivity as a form of criminal action. A typical example of this type of analysis can be found in a recent study by Fred Grünfeld and Anke Meijboom on the genocide in Rwanda. Grünfeld and Meijboom conclude their book with the following statement:

The bystanders at the state level and at the international level did not act in solidarity with the victims. They did not attempt to rescue the victims by preventing or halting the genocide. Evaluating afterwards, we may conclude that these bystanders turned into collaborators who facilitated the genocidaires by not acting against continuing atrocities.[31]

In this book, characterized by the noted legal expert M. Charif Bassiouni as reminiscent of Zola’s J’Accuse,[32] collaboration is simply defined by whether an action – or rather lack of action – is of use to the perpetrators. Friedländer takes a more extreme point of view than Grünfeld, in that he does not limit his criticism of passivity to states, occupied or otherwise, but extends it to very different social organizations that generally have less power and do not have the same responsibilities for the actions of their members as states have for the actions of their civil servants as their subordinate agents. Civil servants, after all, derive their authority from the state they represent, whereas social organizations derive their authority from the fact that they represent relatively large groups of individuals who share a common interest or cause.

In maintaining that due to lack of solidarity the most extreme anti-Jewish policies could ‘unfold’ – another rather vague term – Friedländer seems to enlarge the circle of perpetrators and their accomplices, regardless of form, to all individual Europeans who did not declare their solidarity with the Jews publicly. In this way, Friedländer and many other contemporary scholars sit in judgment of all but those who helped Jews in one way or another.

In a largely neglected contribution, Raul Hilberg calculated that the number of Jews who went into hiding in European cities did not account for more than 1 percent of the Gentile population – with the exception of Paris, where this reached 3 percent.[33] The logical conclusion would seem to be that the overwhelming majority of Europeans facilitated the Holocaust by remaining passive.

III. The Terminology of the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

Because the terms perpetrator and accomplice currently seem inadequately defined, it may be useful to develop a new collaboration vocabulary.[34] In making some suggestions on this topic, it seems reasonable to draw on recent experiences in the realm of international criminal law, since the UN Tribunals on Rwanda (ICTR) and the former Yugoslavia are not only important producers of documents on international, i.e. non-domestic crimes such as genocide and war crimes,[35] but they see the assessment of individual criminal responsibility as their most important task.

In general, they also are much better equipped than domestic courts to deal with crimes such as these. Their purpose is to establish the historical truth – which they are exceptionally good at – and to ‘produce’ convictions.[36] The issue at stake during these cases thus is which mode of liability best “encapsulates” the criminality of the conduct of the individual defendant.[37] This, however, does not mean that these institutions fail to take the collective dimension of these crimes into account. Rather, they participate in the heated debate as to how, through the deliberate use of certain terms and concepts, analyses of the collective dimension – what activities the other (co-)perpetrators, or perhaps the other members of the “joint criminal enterprise” (JCE) were involved in – can be helpful in assessing the responsibility of the individual.

The term ‘Joint Criminal Enterprise’ is vague. It is not the group that is liable but the individual.[38] If one is convicted as a member of a Joint Criminal Enterprise- as in the case against General Radislav Krstic -one may be convicted for a crime one did not personally commit. Recently a colleague specializing in international criminal law, Prof. Harmen van der Wilt jokingly remarked that in the eyes of some JCE was not an abbreviation for Joint Criminal Enterprise but for ‘Just Convict Everybody.’ The other new concept is ‘Command Responsibility’,[39] which deals with the responsibility of a commander for the crimes of his men, and his ‘duty to know’ what his men are doing.[40] These two new notions referring to the circle of perpetrators make it clear that its extension has not only been the work of historians and social scientists. The legal experts of the ICTY are doing exactly the same.

There is a general consensus that the most important single judgment concerning a (co-)perpetrator of genocide was the judgment by the Appeals Chamber of the ICTY regarding General Krstiç, the commander of the Drina Corps, in April 2004. The Trial Chamber of the ICTY had previously held that, as of the evening of 13 July 1995, Krstiç intentionally participated in a joint criminal enterprise to execute the Bosnian Muslim men of Srebrenica.[41] The Appeals Chamber, however, found that Krstic did not share this genocidal intent, but that he had knowledge of the genocidal intent of others. More specifically, Krstic was aware that the executions were taking place[42] and he knew that personnel and resources under his command were assisting in these executions.[43] Krstic thus knew that he was making a substantial contribution to the executions.[44] According to the Appeals Chamber the Trial Chamber failed to supply adequate proof that Krstic possessed genocidal intent. Thus Krstic, who did not order any of these murders and did not directly participate in them,[45] was found not guilty of genocide as a principal (co-) perpetrator.[46] The Appeals Chamber then decided that Krstic’s responsibility was adequately assessed as aiding and abetting genocide.[47]

The terms used by the ICTY are: (1) principal perpetrator (the person who commits or plans a crime with genocidal intent), (2) (principal) (co)-perpetrator (with genocidal intent but not the principal perpetrator, such as Krstic according to the Trial Chamber), (3) accomplice (making a more or less substantial contribution[48] to a crime by in one way or another facilitating it with knowledge of the criminal intent of the perpetrator(s)) and (4) aider and abettor (being aware that one is aiding, in a less substantial way, the perpetrator of a crime while aware of his intent, such as Krstic according to the Appeals Chamber).

Even in the limited case-law of one single Tribunal, the ICTY, the term accomplice “has different meanings depending on the context and may refer to a co-perpetrator or an aider and abettor.”[49] This is undoubtedly using the term in a highly diffuse way. In some national jurisdictions such as the Dutch where the term co-perpetrator has been re-interpreted extensively in recent years, an accomplice cannot be a co-perpetrator, because the contribution of an accomplice who does not take part in the crime is seen as more marginal.[50]

The Appeals Chamber furthermore noted that: “There is evidence that the drafters of the Genocide Convention intended the charge of complicity to require a showing of genocidal intent” (…), because in 1948 “there existed some legal systems in which complicity required [sharing] the intent [of the perpetrator], and others where it did not.” [51] Essentially, this situation has not changed. For instance, “while the majority of federal and state jurisdictions in the United States require a showing that an aider and abettor shared the principal perpetrator’s intent, some states find knowledge to be sufficient.”[52]

Passive complicity, i.e., doing absolutely nothing, exists as a legal term in some domestic jurisdictions. This is the case if a defendant intentionally does not make an effort to prevent a crime although he or she is under strict legal obligation (rechtsplicht) to do so,[53] for instance if a mother of a three-year old child does not prevent the father from killing their child.[54] The knowledge of the perpetrator’s intent in itself does not prove that such a strict legal obligation existed at the time of the crime. This legal obligation is thus not self-evident; its existence must be proven.[55]

In the same vein, in another case the Dutch Supreme Court found that a defendant had created this legal obligation by actively contributing to a situation in which the victim, with whom he shared a house, became incontinent and was unable to move; i.e., was totally helpless. Here too, the essence was whether the defendant knew what was done to the victim and whether he could intervene.[56] By pondering on these two judgments, it is obvious that it is not the passivity but the intent to make it easier for the perpetrator of the crime that is punished.

It is beyond the scope of this article to discuss how more than one hundred domestic jurisdictions precisely define complicity, aiding and abetting, or passive complicity. However all three concepts require at least (a) the will or the intent to facilitate the crime (b) in a direct combination with some form of knowledge (or awareness) of the intent of the perpetrator. It is the combination of willing and knowing that is crucial.

IV. The Regular Police Departments in the Netherlands and Belgium

It is useful to interpret the Holocaust in these terms. The Holocaust as such, i.e. the actual killings, took place in Eastern Europe, not in the West. One might agree with Omer Bartov who in a recent lecture on the Holocaust in East Galicia stated that there were “no bystanders” in that part of the Nazi universe, where so many Gentile bystanders witnessed or/and aided open air executions or other killings of entire relatively large Jewish communities. In his view, these bystanders were, without a single exception, accomplices or perpetrators.[57]

What Bartov essentially says is that everyone who did not participate in these numerous and heinous crimes “must have known” or “could not have failed to know.” This may be acceptable from a historical standpoint. As an assessment of the responsibility of an individual or a particular group wordings such as these (“no bystanders”) are as sweeping as they are vague and, perhaps, to quote from the Appeals Chamber judgment again Krstic once again, can even be seen as a “regrettable choice of phraseology.”[58]

However the picture of the Holocaust in Western Europe is very different. The most important single cause of Jewish death here was suicide. Murder or manslaughter of Jews was highly infrequent. Open air executions did not take place. In the West there were no ghettos. Jews were turned into paupers, but they did not die in the streets of illness or starvation. The actual use of firearms was forbidden by the Nazi authorities, and so was physical violence against Jews outside the concentration camps.[59] Numerous government agencies in the West, occupying agencies as well as the agencies of the occupied, German as well as national and local that were active in implementing anti-Jewish policies, did not know in quite the same way that mass murder of the Jews was taking place as perhaps many of those living in some parts of Eastern Europe.

There was only one single group of men who was fully aware of this, who had seen this with their own eyes, and who thus qualify as full-fledged accomplices of the Holocaust proper. These were the men of the German Order Police who guarded the deportation transports from the transit camp of Westerbork and other such camps to the camps in Poland in small groups of roughly one or two dozen men per train.[60]

Contrary to what the term Order Police might suggest, these “Ordinary men” (Christopher R. Browning) were not police professionals, but normal middle-aged German draftees who were too old for the German Wehrmacht.[61] In a slight lapse of his otherwise excellent judgment Browning seems to suggest that the men involved in this type of guarding activity were Holocaust perpetrators,[62] presumably because the fate of the Jews was sealed the moment these trains left the transit camp for their destination of Auschwitz or one of the death camps.

There is, however, no proof whatsoever that these men murdered any Jews others than those who tried to escape from the train,[63] and therefore the use of the term accomplice seems to be more apt, for they were fully aware of the genocidal purpose of these camps, even if they routinely denied this after the war had ended.[64] An SS-guard at Auschwitz, Joachim Perthes, who was transferred from Auschwitz to the camp of Vught in the Netherlands also knew exactly what was happening.[65]

It is also legitimate to inquire whether the Western European volunteers in the Waffen-SS may not have been witness to parts of the Holocaust. Highly mobile units, such as the motorized Nationalsozialistisches Kraftfahrkorps (NSKK), probably witnessed more than the volunteers in the Waffen-SS, who were part of this elite army.[66] But these groups totaled at most tens of thousands, not more. All of them lived isolated lives, confined to the Order Police or SS-barracks most of the time, separated from the families and the communities in which they had been raised, and communicating primarily with other members of their own organizations.[67]

Perthes, the guard transferred from Auschwitz to the camp of Vught as well as two prisoners who had been in Auschwitz, Leo Laptos and Ernst Bandholz, seem to have been by far the most talkative, and thanks to them the well-read Dutch illegal paper Het Parool whose circulation reached 40, 000 copies was the first to report in the Netherlands on gas chambers in its edition of September 1943. At that moment in time most Jews had already been deported from the occupied Dutch territories.[68]

The three phases depicted by Hilberg as preceding the deportations; namely, the definition of Jews, their exclusion, and expropriation were organized in the West by the Nazi rulers but by no means implemented by them. For their implementation they depended on domestic bureaucrats, Gentile individuals and Jewish organizations in this order. In the Dutch case the lower-ranking bureaucrats followed the example of their superiors, the Secretaries-General of the central government in The Hague who in June 1940 accepted not only the power but also the right of the Nazi rulers to hire and fire them. They willingly and knowingly derived their authority from the Nazi rulers.

From then on, the Dutch bureaucracy was formally on the Nazi payroll, [69] even if, at the end of the day, the bill was picked up by the Dutch taxpayers. After the rulers had defined who was a Jew, the Dutch civil service took care of their registration and the suspension – including the Jewish president of the Supreme Court – and later the firing of their Jewish colleagues.[70] They also took care of the implementation of policies of segregation, the establishment of separate Jewish schools for instance, and the organization of labor camps exclusively for Jews.[71]

The Aryanization of the economy, and the exclusion of Jews from social life, by contrast, was left to Gentile individuals, because the Dutch civil servants wanted no part in the expropriation,[72] and the Nazi rulers merely decided which companies were to be shut down and made sure that most of the proceeds remained under their direct control.[73] Not all of these Gentiles were Nazis, but many were. Not all of them were thieves. There were also cases in which Jewish shopkeepers got good prices for their goods.[74]

There were Gentiles who hid valuables at the request of Jews. Not all of them returned the goods, explaining to the few Jews who returned after the Liberation that they had sold the valuables; others regarded themselves as fences, who felt entitled to a reward in exchange for the risks they had taken. Some Jews regarded these individuals as thieves, which was problematic because these Gentiles had not taken the valuables without their consent.[75] My educated guess based upon conversations with survivors is that well-connected Jews were more successful in recuperating their assets than Jews from the lower classes.

The most humiliating tasks were left to and performed by the Amsterdam Jewish Council: the distribution or rather the sale of the obligatory yellow Star of David and the informal proclamation of the Nuremberg Laws in its Jewish Weekly.[76] After the Liberation some Jews and Gentiles regarded this as typical of the collaboration of the Council, which was foolish because it was by no means plausible that Jews, third-rate citizens under constraint, intended to facilitate the work of their enemies.[77] In Belgium the star was distributed by the local government,[78] and a very recent and very detailed publication points to many activities of the civil servants regarding the plunder of the Jews as well.[79]

The government agencies that were most directly implicated in the control of anti-Jewish policies and in the forcible deportations were the police forces. Highly belated and precise historical research by Van der Boom,[80] Meershoek,[81] and more recently by Fijnaut,[82] Van Doorslaer and others,[83] and Van Riet[84] has now revealed that even in the two relatively small Nazi-controlled territories of the Netherlands and Belgium the degree of implication of the non-German regular police departments in their most visible display of collaboration, in the actual arrests of Jews and their displacement to transit camps, differed to a high degree.

In Western Europe more than 200,000 Jews were arrested and forcibly displaced to the camps in the East.[85] These were arrests of innocent citizens of both sexes, of all age groups, irrespective of their medical condition, and under threat of firearms with the sole purpose of handing these citizens over to Nazi authorities as prisoners with full awareness that these prisoners were to be deported to the East as forced laborers in unknown but presumably dire circumstances. These arrests were barely legal, even by Nazi standards, in the sense that they were not enshrined in law. They lacked a legal basis.

The primary perpetrators of this crime of forcible displacement, in other words, those who devised it, were high-ranking figures in the German police who in the case of the occupied Dutch territories gave direct orders to Dutch police commanders. Whether these high-ranking Germans knew what was happening in the camps is not entirely clear. Two of them, Dr. Wilhelm Harster, the commander of the Security Police and Security Service in The Hague, and Willy Zöpf, his assistant for Jewish Affairs, later admitted that they had known or rather had understood the true nature of the deportations at that moment in time. During their trial in Munich, they benefitted from their admission of guilt because it made a good impression on the judges. There were rumors of plea bargaining.[86]

From the moment they grasped this genocidal intent, they subscribed to genocidal intent by organizing transports of Dutch Jews.[87] There is, however, no document whatsoever that proves that they ever shared this information with either prominent collaborators or with the Dutch police commanders they controlled. Thus for these leading Nazi police personalities the forcible displacement of Dutch Jews was a “means of advancing the genocidal plan,”[88] whereas for the Dutch police commanders this displacement was a means of advancing the forced labor of Dutch Jews in the East under dire circumstances.    These Dutch co-perpetrators, by accepting these orders, often circumvented their pre-occupation superiors, the mayors. This was the case for instance on 2 October 1942, with preparations for a mass arrest of thousands of Dutch male Jews who had been sent to labor camps together with their families who had stayed behind in their homes, and their subsequent transport to the transit camp.[89]

To cite another example, Edward J. Voute, the mayor of Amsterdam, where the majority of Dutch Jewry lived, was not consulted by the police commander, Sybren Tulp.[90] Police commanders such as Tulp behaved like civil servants employed by the Nazi government, which in fact they were. Belgian police commanders, however, were not on the Nazi payroll. They left it to their mayors to decide whether they would implicate their police forces in these arrests, and these mayors’ superior was the Belgian secretary-general for the Interior, a Belgian Nazi. The mayor of Brussels refused, whereas the mayor of Antwerp agreed in very much the same way as his Amsterdam colleague, although he was not on the Nazi payroll.[91] Thus the mayor of Brussels falls into one category, and the mayor of Antwerp into the other.

The cases of The Hague and Rotterdam were more akin to Antwerp. In The Hague and in Rotterdam the regular police forces consisting of approximately 2000 men each[92] — thus very large forces by current standards — carried out the arrests of most of the roughly 10,000 (Rotterdam) and 13,500 (The Hague) Jews living in these cities,[93] albeit in different ways. In Rotterdam the entire force was used in mass actions on a limited number of days, whereas in The Hague these arrests in a Jewish community of roughly the same size were made by a much smaller part of the regular police force on a semi-permanent or permanent basis.[94]

In Amsterdam with its large Jewish community of 60,000, a combination of both methods was used. Here arrests took place on a permanent basis, often of 200-300 Jews per day. These were usually – with the exception of the month of September 1942 – carried out by different types of police organizations none of which were part of the regular police force.[95] When he considered it a necessity, however, the local German police commander Willi Lages used most of his manpower. On four different occasions, in October 1942 and in May, June and September 1943, practically all of the available Amsterdam manpower, German as well as Dutch, were involved in huge street raids, in which entire quarters were sealed off and searched for Jews.[96]

The regular The Hague police force, moreover, took part in some of these mass raids on Jews in Amsterdam,[97] while the Rotterdam regular force did not. These presumably more specialized The Hague policemen behaved in a way that was not unlike that of the non-regular, more or less Dutch Nazi Amsterdam police forces which were responsible for the overwhelming majority of the semi-permanent arrests in their city.[98] They also were involved in this affair for longer periods of time. There are strong indications that they, the specialist regulars, from The Hague were as much involved in the theft of property belonging to Jews as their Amsterdam counterparts who were not part of the regular force.[99]

Hence from this perspective of the relative degree of responsibility for the actual arrests, the track record of the regular police was at its worst in The Hague. It was somewhat better in Rotterdam, and the Amsterdam regular force was the least implicated of the three, because in Amsterdam manpower was abundant. In all these three cases, however, apart from the commanders as co-perpetrators of illegal arrests and forcible displacements to the transit camps, one special rank merits attention, namely the rank of inspector.

If one views the regular policeman, the cop on the beat, as a fairly poorly educated, low-paid civil servant, inspectors should be seen in an altogether different light. They were much better educated, relatively speaking, and independent crime-fighters, with prominent positions within the force, who were ordered by their superiors to decide whether they would participate in the simple and humiliating work of arresting innocent citizens or not.

In Amsterdam all the inspectors with one exception – Jan van den Oever – agreed to cooperate. He was fired on the spot.[100] In Rotterdam two inspectors, Juch and De Jong, protested and were suspended.[101] Although the overwhelming majority of these inspectors were not involved in the planning of the arrests, these men could be considered as co-perpetrators in particular in those cases in which they took the lead in arrests, ordering lower-ranking others to do the same or setting a conscious example for the underpaid regular police muscle controlling the streets, as was the case in Amsterdam in September, 1942 and in Rotterdam in early October 1942.[102]

Two other groups deserve special mention. These were the men working for special departments within regular police forces in charge of searching for Jews who had gone into hiding, such as the infamous Group X of the regular Rotterdam police force. They became specialists who in many cases resorted to physical violence while exerting pressure on Jews to give information on other Jews.[103] In their day-to-day behavior it is not easy to distinguish them from the Gentile volunteers who took Jews as prisoners posing as Nazi policemen and sold their prisoners to the Nazi authorities for a premium.[104] They too, however, were not fully aware of what was happening in the camps in the East.

Thus complicity in the Holocaust based upon first-hand knowledge hardly existed in the West. Perhaps unlike some regions in Eastern Europe, the majority was composed of bystanders, lacking knowledge of the Holocaust, lacking the motivation to help Germans or Jews and lacking the power to intervene. Sheltering Jews was, furthermore, a crime; in the Dutch case the standard punishment from August 1943 onward was a six-month detention in the very disagreeable but not lethal concentration camp of Vught.[105]

In the West there was, obviously, co-perpetration in the planning and the implementation of the arrest and displacement of innocent Jews to transit camps on a huge scale, in which Belgian mayors such as the mayor of Antwerp and Dutch police commanders and inspectors implicated themselves much more than they cared to recall after the occupation. In the immediate post-war years police commanders were typically sent to prison for short periods. The inspectors remained in their posts. By contrast, the Gentile volunteers who had taken Jews prisoner for a premium were punished severely.[106]

This marked discrepancy between the punishment of the volunteers and the police professionals helps explain why it took so long for the truth to come out, because these same regular police forces kept a solid lid on their archives for some fifty years. Despite the marvelous contributions of authors such as Meershoek, Fijnaut, Van Riet and Van Doorslaer, the topic has remained a delicate one. Rumor has it that within the Dutch force as recently as last year a debate took place as to whether it would be timely to apologize to the Jewish community for its war-time actions. The top brass decided not to do this out of respect for the ordinary policemen still amongst the living, who as young cops had implemented their orders to arrest and displace Jews in 1942 and 1943.

V. Conclusion

Dealing on a sweeping scale with the very real problem of Gentile co-responsibility for the Holocaust is simply opting for the easy way out. I do not suggest that historians and social scientists should change places with the legal experts, but merely that they should pay more attention to their terminology, and try to develop a more differentiated vocabulary on the co-responsibility of the occupied in the Holocaust. In developing this type of lexicon, it may be helpful to read recent legal texts produced by international tribunals such as the ICTY, which also extends the circle of perpetrators, and to consider their terminology in the light of historical research, such as studies on the regular police forces in the Netherlands and Belgium.

A conscious and precise historical terminology could be constructed in which different types and degrees of criminal responsibility and guilt are assessed. This implies that questions such as the intent of the (co-)perpetrator, the accomplice and the aider and abettor will need to be addressed. Thus, the issues of their possible constraint, their assessment of the nature of their aid and assistance, their awareness of the intent of the perpetrator, and the question of their position in the agencies that implemented the orders of the occupier and the occupied must be taken into account.

Future discussions on the role of the bystander and the notion of passive complicity in my view should take the following features into consideration: degrees of knowledge or awareness of the mass murders taking place in Eastern Europe, degrees of power, the risk of punishment, and the possible existence of legal or moral obligations to help Jews.

*     *     *



* This article is a completely redrafted and updated version of a lecture given at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs and the Institute for Research on Dutch Jewry in December, 2006. I benefitted greatly from the comments made on that occasion by Prof. Yehuda Bauer and Prof. Israël Charny and from comments on my first draft by Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld.

[1] Léon Poliakov, Bréviaire de la haine. Le IIIe Reich et les juifs (Paris: Calmann-Lévy, 1951) [French]; Gerald Reitlinger, The Final Solution – The Attempt to Exterminate the Jews of Europe 1939-1945 (London: Vallentine- Mitchell, 1953).

[2] Timothy Mason, “Intention and Explanation. A current Controversy about the Interpretation of National Socialism,” in The “Führer State”. Myth and Reality. Studies in the Structure and Politics of the Third Reich, eds. Gerhard Hirschfeld and Lothar Kettenacker (Stuttgart: Klett-Cotta, 1981), 23-42.

[3] Christopher R. Browning, The Path to Genocide: Essays on Launching the Final Solution (Cambridge, NJ: Cambridge University Press, 1995); Christopher R. Browning, The Origins of the Final Solution: the Evolution of Nazi Jewish Policy, September 1939-March 1942 (Lincoln, Ne: Nebraska Press, 2004).

[4] This quote is from the diary of Victor Klemperer [9 December 1939], as quoted by Saul Friedländer, Nazi Germany and the Jews, vol. II, The Years of Extermination (New York: HarperCollins, 2007), 1.

[5] Lucy S. Dawidowicz, The War against the Jews 1933-1945 (London: Weidenfeld & Nicholson, 1975).

[6] David Irving, Hitler’s War (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1977).  This is a translation of the German version published as Hitler und seine Feldherren (Frankfurt am Main: Ullstein, 1975).

[7] The Sunday Times, 12 June 1977; The New York Review of Books, 7 July 1977; Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 25 August 1977 and 22 June 1978. Martin Broszat, “Hitler und die Genesis der ‘Endlösung’. Aus Anlass der Thesen von David Irving”, in Vierteljahreshefte für Zeitgeschichte, vol. 25 (1977), 739-775. [German]

[8] Christian Streit, Keine Kameraden: die Wehrmacht und die sowjetischen Kriegsgefangenen 1941-1945 (Stuttgart: Deutsche Verlagsanstalt, 1978). [German]

[9] “Dass die Endlösung ins Werk gesetzt wurde, ist keineswegs allein auf Hitler zurückzuführen, sondern auf die komplexe Struktur des Entscheidungsprozesses im Dritten Reich, die zu einer fortschreitenden kumulativen Radikalisierung führte,” Hans Mommsen, “Nationalsozialismus oder Hitlerismus?”, in Persönlichkeit und Struktur in der Geschichte. Historische Bestandsaufnahme und didaktischen Implikationen, ed. Michael Bosch (Düsseldorf: Europäische Verlagsanstalt, 1977), 66. [German] See also Peter Longerich, Politik der Vernichtung. Eine Gesamtdarstellung der nationalsozialistischen Judenverfolgung (München: Piper Verlag, 1998). [German]

[10] Uwe Dietrich Adam, Judenpolitik im Dritten Reich (Düsseldorf: Droste, 1972). [German]

[11] Raul Hilberg, The Destruction of the European Jews, revised and definitive edition (New York/London: Holmes & Meier, 1985), ix.

[12] Ibid., 994.

[13] Ibid., 53.

[14] For Vichy, see the classic by Michael R. Marrus and Robert.O. Paxton, Vichy France and the Jews (New York: Schocken Books, 1983).

[15] Nazi occupation policy was the object of a fairly large international research project financed by the European Science Foundation. The results of this project were published in nine volumes of proceedings in the years 1996-1999 by Metropol Verlag in Berlin. The phrase “organized chaos” is a quote from a senior Nazi official in the Reich Chancellery, the ‘notary public’ of the Third Reich.

[16] See, amongst others: Dieter Pohl, Nationalsozialistische Judenverfolgung in Ostgalizien 1941-1944. Organisation und Durchführung eines staatlichen Massenverbrechens (München: Oldenbourg, 1996) [German]; Christian Gerlach, Kalkulierte Morde. Die deutsche Wirtschafts- und Vernichtungspolitik in Weissrussland 1941 bis 1944 (Hamburg: Hamburger Edition, 1999) [German]; Thomas Sandkühler, “Endlösung” in Galizien. Der Judenmord in Ostpolen und die Rettungsinitiativen von Berthold Beitz 1941-1944 (Bonn: Dietz, 1996) [German]; Martin Dean, Collaboration in the Holocaust: Crimes of the local police in Belorussia and Ukraine (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2000).

[17] Christopher R. Browning, Nazi Policy, Jewish Workers, German Killers (Cambridge, NJ: Cambridge University Press, 2000), 26-57.

[18] Christopher R. Browning, Ordinary Men. Reserve Police Batallion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland (2nd edition, London: Penguin Books, 2001).

[19] Friedländer, The Years of Extermination, xxv-xxvi.

[20] Ibid., xviii-xx.

[21] Ibid., xv.

[22] Ibid., xxi.

[23] Ibid.,The Years of Extermination, xxii.

[24] For a brilliant analysis of this ruling, see: William Schabbas, “Whither genocide? The International Court of Justice finally pronounces,” Journal of Genocide Research, Vol. 9, No. 2 (June 2007): 183-192. Schabbas noted that the Court obviously was looking for proof of genocidal intent in the form of a plan or a policy (ibid., 189). This could point to the fact that the Court consciously compared the atrocities committed by the Bosnian Serbs with the Holocaust, while not stating this directly. Given that the Court proceeded in this way, one wonders whether the members of the Court were not thinking of the Holocaust in “intentionalist” terms.

[25] International Court of Justice, Case Concerning the Application of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (Bosnia and Herzegovina v Serbia and Montenegro), 26 February 2007, 151-152.

[26] For the history of the Dutch police forces: see Guus Meershoek, Dienaren van het Gezag, De Amsterdamse Politie tijdens de Bezetting (Amsterdam: Van Gennep, 1999) [Dutch]; Cyrille Fijnaut, De geschiedenis van de Nederlandse Politie. Een staatsinstelling in de maalstroom van de geschiedenis (Amsterdam: Uitgeverij Boom 2007)[ Dutch]; Frank van Riet, Handhaven onder de Nieuwe Orde. De politieke geschiedenis van de Rotterdamse politie tijdens de Tweede Wereldoorlog (Rotterdam: Uitgeverij Aprilis, 2008). [Dutch]

[27] See for example concerning the Dutch case: A.D. Belinfante, In plaats van Bijltjesdag. De geschiedenis van de Bijzondere Rechtspleging na de Tweede Wereldoorlog (Assen: Van Gorcum, 1978) [Dutch] and Joggli Meihuizen, Noodzakelijk Kwaad. De bestraffing van economische collaboratie in Nederland na de Tweede Wereldoorlog (Amsterdam: Uitgeverij Boom 2003). [Dutch] For a comparative European perspective, see Politische Säuberung in Europa: die Abrechnung mit Faschismus und Kollaboration nach dem Zweiten Weltkrieg, ed. Klaus-Dieter Henke (München: Deutsche Taschenbuch Verlag, 1991). [German].

[28] Otto Kirchheimer, Politische Justiz. Verwendung juristischer Verfahrensmöglichkeiten zu politischen Zwecken (Frankfurt am Main: Europäische Verlagsanstalt, 1981), German translation of: Political Justice. The Use of Legal Procedures for Political Ends (Princeton NJ: Princeton University Press, 1961).

[29] G.E. Langemeijer, “Terugblik op de Bijzondere Rechtspleging,” in De Nieuwe Stem, Maandblad voor Cultuur en Politiek, Vol. 7 (1952), 129-143. [Dutch]

[30] See M. Charif Bassiouni, Foreword to Fred Grünfeld and Anke Meijboom, The Failure to Prevent Genocide in Rwanda: The Role of Bystanders (Leiden/Boston: Martinus Nijhoff, 2007), xi.

[31] Grünfeld/Meijboom, The Failure to Prevent Genocide, 261.

[32] Charif Bassiouni, Foreword to The Failure to Prevent Genocide,  xi.

[33] Raul Hilberg, “The Fate of the Jews in the Cities,” reprinted in What kind of God? Essays in honor of Richard L. Rubinstein, ed. B.R. Rubinstein (Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 1995).

[34] Recently Christopher Browning suggested exactly the same thing while discussing Jewish resistance; see Christopher Browning (University of North Carolina), “The Holocaust as Local History: Survivor Memories of the Starachowice Factory Slave Labor Camps”, presented at the Conference Holocaust as Local History. Past & Present of a Complex Relation, 5 June 2008, University of Macedonia, Thessaloniki, Greece.

[35] Genocide is “(…) the intentional destruction of an entire human group(s), and the part targeted must be significant enough to have an impact on the group as a whole.”; United Nations, ICTY, Case IT-98-33-A, Appeals Chamber, Judgement, 19 April 2004, par. 8.

[36] A comparison of the well-known report by the Dutch Institute for War Documentation on Srebrenica (Nederlands Instituut voor Oorlogsdocumentatie, Srebrenica. Een ‘veilig’ gebied. Reconstructie, achtergronden, gevolgen en analyses van de val van een Safe Area (Amsterdam: Boom, 2002)) [Dutch] and the case law of the ICTY makes it abundantly clear that the ICTY unsurprisingly had access to the better sources. As a consequence of the establishment of the International Criminal Court in The Hague and the subsequent increased introduction in national jurisdictions of laws outlawing genocide, war crimes and other international crimes, an increase in the number of domestic courts that deal with these international crimes seems inevitable. It is not difficult to foresee that the domestic courts will find this extremely difficult, because it is a formidable task to establish the facts concerning crimes that took place (many) years ago, thousands of miles away, and to hand down rulings on defendants implicated in these crimes in the probable absence of the most important perpetrators. In doing their work the domestic courts will tend to draw heavily on previous rulings by international tribunals while unable not to compare international and national criminal law. For an example, see LJN: BA6734, Court of Appeal, The Hague, 2200050906-2, 9 May 2007, 11 (Re B), 24 (par. 12.4).

[37] ICTY, Case IT-98-33-A, Appeals Chamber, par. 143, footnote 250.

[38] J. de Hullu, Materieel Strafrecht. Over algemene leerstukken van strafrechtelijke aansprakelijkheid naar Nederlands recht (Deventer: Kluwer, 2003, 2nd edition), 59. [Dutch].

[39] Harmen G. van der Wilt, “The duty to know”, in Rede en Recht. Liber Amicorum Nico Keijzer eds. G.J.M. Corstens a.o. (Deventer: Kluwer, 2000), 123-135. [Dutch]

[40] De Hullu, Materieel Strafrecht, 60. [Dutch]

[41] ICTY, Case IT-98-33-A, Appeals Chamber, par. 42.

[42] ICTY, Case IT-98-33-A, Appeals Chamber, par. 104.

[43] ICTY, Case IT-98-33-A, Appeals Chamber, par. 129.

[44] ICTY, Case IT-98-33-A, Appeals Chamber, par. 137.

[45] ICTY, Case IT-98-33-A, Appeals Chamber, par. 144.

[46] ICTY, Case IT-98-33-A, Appeals Chamber, par. 134, 144.

[47] ICTY, Case IT-98-33-A, Appeals Chamber, par. 138. For an “ample discussion of the issue of aiding and abetting versus complicity during the Appeals hearing, in response to questions posed by the bench”, see T 431-437.

[48] Naturally it is debatable what exactly constitutes a substantial contribution. This is usually dependent on the crime and on the way the perpetrator commits it. If a murderer plans to dump a corpse in a river and does so, showing him a map of the river does not constitute a substantial contribution, nor does the cleaning of the car in which the corpse was transported; LJN: AV3454, Rechtbank Den Bosch, 20-008923-06, 6 March 2006. [Dutch] Obviously, a judgment such as this raises the question of whether the clearance of ghettos or the burial of corpses should be regarded as a substantial contribution to an open air execution.

[49] ICTY, Case IT-98-33-A, Appeals Chamber, par. 139, footnote 233.

[50] De Hullu, Materieel Strafrecht, 478, 484. [Dutch]

[51] ICTY, Case IT-98-33-A, Appeals Chamber, par. 142.

[52] ICTY, Case IT-98-33-A, Appeals Chamber, par. 141, footnote 244.

[53] De Hullu, Materieel Strafrecht, 480. [Dutch]

[54] De Hullu, Materieel Strafrecht, 80, 481. [Dutch]

[55] De Hullu, Materieel Strafrecht, 480-481.[Dutch]

[56] De Hullu, Materieel Strafrecht, 481.[Dutch]

[57] Omer Bartov, “Testimonies as Historical Documents: The Holocaust as Communal Genocide, East Galicia, 1941-1944”, presented at the Conference Holocaust as Local History. Past & Present of a Complex Relation, 5 June 2008, University of Macedonia, Thessaloniki, Greece.

[58] ICTY, Case IT-98-33-A, Appeals Chamber, par. 81.

[59] In the Dutch concentration camps of Amersfoort and Ommen and in the Belgian transit camps Jewish prisoners were treated badly on a regular basis.

[60] Louis de Jong, Het Koninkrijk der Nederlanden in de Tweede Wereldoorlog, volume 7 (Den Haag: Martinus Nijhoff, 1976, scientific edition), 334. [Dutch]

[61] Browning, Ordinary Men, 5-6.

[62] Browning, ibid., 36-37.

[63] Browning, ibid., 32-35.

[64] Routinely the men denied having entered the camp, thus handing over responsibility for the train outside the camp. See also Browning, Ordinary Men, 30; De Jong, Koninkrijk, volume 7, 334.[Dutch]

[65] De Jong, Koninkrijk, volume 7, 347.[Dutch]

[66] De Jong, ibid., 340-341.[Dutch]

[67] De Jong, ibid.,, 343.[Dutch]

[68] Het Parool, 58, 27 September 1943, 5; De Jong, Koninkrijk, volume 7, 347.[Dutch]

[69] Hans M. Hirschfeld, Herinneringen uit de Bezettingstijd (Amsterdam: Elsevier, 1960), 56-57. [Dutch]

[70]  Bob Moore, Victims and Survivors. The Nazi Persecution of the Jews in the Netherlands (London: Arnold, 1997), 68.

[71] The series of books by De Jong (footnote 60) contain a monograph of the persecution of the Jews in the Netherlands; the only recent book available in English is the one by Moore (footnote 70).

[72] Gerard Aalders, Nazi Looting: The Plunder of Dutch Jewry during the Second World War (Oxford: Berg Publishers, 2004).

[73] Moore, Victims and Survivors, 241-242.

[74] In my personal experience the survival rate of Dutch Jewish shopkeepers outside the major cities was exceptionally high. This could point to their relative wealth as a consequence of the rise in prices of consumer goods.

[75] Moore notes that the reports about these guardians of valuables were “mixed”; Moore, Victims and Survivors, 240.

[76] For the policies of the Jewish Council, see Moore, Victims and Survivors.

[77] Nanno K.C.A. In ‘t Veld, De Joodse Ereraad (Den Haag: SDU, 1989), 9-15.[Dutch]

[78] Rudi Van Doorslaer, Gewillig België. Overheid en Jodenvervolging tijdens de Tweede Wereldoorlog, ed. (Antwerpen/Amsterdam: Meulenhoff/Manteau and Soma, 2007), 1103.[Dutch]

[79] Van Doorslaer, Gewillig België, 403-462.[Dutch]

[80] Bart Van der Boom, Den Haag in de Tweede Wereldoorlog (Den Haag: Sea Press, 1995). [Dutch]

[81] See footnote 26.

[82] See footnote 26.

[83] Van Doorslaer, Gewillig België. [Dutch]

[84] See footnote 26.

[85] Hilberg, The Destruction of the European Jews, 1220.

[86] Johannes Houwink ten Cate, De naam van de misdaad en de persoon van de schrijftafelmoordenaar (Amsterdam: Vossius Pers, 2003). [Dutch]

[87] ICTY, Case IT-98-33-A, Appeals Chamber, par. 106.

[88] ICTY, Case IT-98-33-A, Appeals Chamber, par. 133.

[89] For an excellent local study of this national phenomenon, see T.J. Rinsema, Joden in Meppel 1940-1945 (Zutphen: Walburg Pers, 2004), 209-247.[Dutch] Rinsema carefully describes the decision-making in this small city, in which the mayor was duly consulted, but the local representative of the Jewish Council was blamed.

[90] Meershoek does not describe a conversation between Tulp and Voute on 2 September 1942; Meershoek, Dienaren, 241. [Dutch]

[91] Van Doorslaer, Gewillig België, 1102.[Dutch]

[92] Van der Boom, Den Haag, 72; Van Riet, Handhaven, 669. [Dutch]

[93] Van der Boom, Den Haag, 169; Van Riet, Handhaven, 393. [Dutch]

[94] Van der Boom, Den Haag, 72, 91; Van Riet, Handhaven, 378-426. [Dutch]

[95] Meershoek, Dienaren, 231-291.  We can only guess why Lages in Amsterdam did not use the regular force more often. My personal supposition is that his reasoning was the following: from the point of view of manpower it was not necessary to use the regular police forces, for there were plenty of other sources of manpower, the use of which did not disrupt day-to-day life and which was more trustworthy as well. In any case, the average Amsterdam regular policeman was in control of about 370 citizens (Van der Boom, Den Haag, 72). 37 of them were – again on average – Jews. In some quarters and in some streets, however, the majority of the inhabitants were of Jewish descent. In contrast to their colleagues in The Hague and Rotterdam, personal contacts with Jews must have been much more frequent for regular Amsterdam policemen.

[96] Meershoek, Dienaren, 289-291. [Dutch]

[97] Van der Boom, Den Haag, 92. [Dutch]

[98] Meershoek, Dienaren, 269-291. [Dutch]

[99] Van der Boom, Den Haag, 93; [Dutch] Jan-Jaap Kelder, De Schalkhaarders, Nederlandse politiemannen naar nationaal-socialistische snit (Utrecht/Antwerpen: Veen Uitgevers, 1990), 94-95. [Dutch]

[100] Meershoek, Dienaren, 246. [Dutch]

[101] Van Riet, Handhaven, 384-387.[Dutch]

[102] Meershoek, Dienaren, 241-247; [Dutch] Van Riet, Handhaven, 382-387.  [Dutch]

[103] Van Riet, Handhaven, 404-413. [Dutch]

[104] Ad Van Liempt, Kopgeld. Nederlandse premiejagers op zoek naar joden 1943 (Amsterdam: Uitgeverij Balans, 2002). [Dutch]

[105] The pattern of punishment is so clear that in all likelihood there had to have been a central directive from the Berlin Reich Security Main Office to this effect; if so, the document has been lost.

[106] Belinfante, In plaats van Bijltjesdag, 386-387. [Dutch]

*     *     *

Prof. Johannes Houwink ten Cate studied contemporary and socio-economic history at the University of Utrecht, The Netherlands. From 1985 to 2002 he worked as a researcher at the Netherlands Institute for War Documentation. Since 1989 his primary topic of interest has been the Nazi persecution of the Jews in the occupied Dutch territories. Since 2002 he has been Professor for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at the University of Amsterdam