Westerbork concentration camp was a transit camp located in the northeastern Netherlands. Its main function during the Second World War was to assemble Dutch Jews for transport to other Nazi concentration camps for extermination. Between July 1942 and September 1944, almost every Tuesday a cargo train left for the concentration camps Auschwitz-Birkenau, Sobibór, Bergen-Belsen and Theresienstadt.  From this camp, 101,000 Dutch Jews and about 30,000 German Jews were deported on 93 outgoing trains to their deaths in Poland. In addition, there were about 400 Gypsies in the camp and, at the very end of the War, some 400 women from the resistance movement. Only 5,200 of those deported from Westerbork survived, most of them in Theresienstadt or Bergen-Belsen, or were liberated at Westerbork.

On 15 December 1938, the Dutch government, as a gesture to Germany, closed its border to refugees. From then on, any refugees would not have any rights. In 1939, the Dutch government erected a refugee camp, Centraal Vluchtelingenkamp Westerbork, financed, ironically, partly by Dutch Jewry, in order to absorb fleeing Jews from Nazi Germany. The Jewish refugees were housed after they had tried in vain to escape Nazi terror in their homeland. During World War II, the Nazis took over the camp and turned it into a deportation camp. 

After her secret hiding place was discovered, and her family arrested, Anne Frank stayed in Westerbork from August until early September 1944, when she was taken to Auschwitz. She and her family were put on the first of the three final trains on 2 September 1944 for Auschwitz, arriving there three days later.


Additional Links:

Westerbork Camp Testimonial