Upstairs in the Hollandsche Schouwburg is a small display. There are pictures, documents and letters from the 1940’s when the theater was used as a place to hold the Jews until they were transported out of Amsterdam. While we were visiting, there was also a school group there. From the students’ accents, I assume they were from Great Britain. The children looked to be about 14 years old.
The teacher picked out one particular display to discuss. It was a map of Amsterdam with dots all over it. Each dot represented ten Jews. She pointed out that a regular Dutch civil servant, someone who worked for the Dutch government, had meticulously put this together for the Nazi occupying forces.
It showed where every Jew in Amsterdam lived. No wonder it was so easy for the Nazis to find, deport, and murder the Jews of Holland! Later in the week I was at the Amsterdam City Archives. I was astonished by the amount of information they have. You can look up any address and find out who lived there; where they lived previously; and where they may have moved to. This was complete with birth date and place, occupation, and more. The Dutch kept such meticulous records that anyone could be found.
The teacher pointed out to her class that the Dutch tax records included religion, race and other personal factors. She herself never checks off the race or religion box on forms. Why does the government need to know? What good can come from such classification?