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Project on Jewish prisoners in Amersfoort

Dutch researcher Maarten Jan Vos spent two days at the International Tracing Service (ITS) in mid-March working on a project for the Amersfoort memorial. He focused mainly on the fate of Jewish prisoners in the former detention camp. “The number of Jews imprisoned was low, and not a lot is known about them,” reported Vos. The historian intends to change this.

Preceding his visit, the director of the memorial, Maurits Nibbering, came to the ITS in January 2009, where he and several colleagues were able to get an overview of the camp´s documentation. At the same time, Nibbering announced his plans to expand the cooperation between the memorial and the ITS, and that in the future Bad Arolsen could count on some visits of staff members from the Netherlands.

Vos was the first to do research at the ITS on behalf of the memorial. “I have already checked the first 30 names of Jewish prisoners, and I´ve been able to confirm a lot of information from other archives at the ITS,” according to the historian. “I´ve also found additional information on victims, such as death dates.” The detention camp in Amersfoort was controlled by the German police. 35,000 people were temporarily imprisoned there from 1941 to 1945.

Political and religious prisoners were mainly transported to the concentration camps Neuengamme, Buchenwald and Sachsenhausen; Jewish prisoners were taken to Westerbork. For a short time the detention camp was considered an outlying command of the Herzogenbusch concentration camp. Because a majority of files had been destroyed before the camp´s liberation, there is no exact information on the total number of prisoners or deaths.

However, Vos considers his research at the ITS productive. “My results will be in a publication which will probably be released by the Amersfoort memorial in May, 2009.” A conference on Jewish prisoners in Amersfoort is also being planned.