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  • View of Rotterdam after German bombing

    Photo

    Aerial view of the city of Rotterdam after it was bombed by the Luftwaffe (the German Air Force). Rotterdam, the Netherlands, May–June 1940.

    View of Rotterdam after German bombing
  • Bomb damage in Rotterdam

    Photo

    View of Rotterdam after German bombing in May 1940. Rotterdam, the Netherlands, 1940.

    Bomb damage in Rotterdam
  • War damage in Rotterdam

    Photo

    View of Rotterdam after German bombing during the Western Campaign in May 1940. Rotterdam, the Netherlands, May 1940.

    War damage in Rotterdam
  • View of Rotterdam after German bombing in May 1940

    Photo

    View of Rotterdam after bombing by the German Luftwaffe in May 1940. Rotterdam, the Netherlands, 1940.

    View of Rotterdam after German bombing in May 1940
  • View of Rotterdam after German bombing in May 1940

    Photo

    View of Rotterdam after bombing by the German Luftwaffe in May 1940. Rotterdam, the Netherlands, 1940.

    View of Rotterdam after German bombing in May 1940
  • Smoke rises from Rotterdam during the German assault

    Photo

    German forces during the military assault on Rotterdam during the Western Campaign. Rotterdam, the Netherlands, May 1940.

    Smoke rises from Rotterdam during the German assault
  • Fall of Rotterdam

    Film

    Germany invaded the Netherlands on May 10, 1940. Four days later, German planes bombed Rotterdam. The Germans tried to halt the raid on the city because Dutch authorities had agreed to negotiate the surrender of their country. However, a communications failure delayed the order halting the attack. The bombing destroyed much of the city center, leaving almost 80,000 people homeless. The Netherlands surrendered just a few hours later. On May 15, in retaliation for the bombing of Rotterdam, the British air…

    Fall of Rotterdam
  • German paratroopers land near Rotterdam

    Film

    Germany launched its western offensive on May 10, 1940. German paratroopers landed in the Netherlands on the first day of the German attack on that country. They seized key bridges and fortifications, compromising Dutch defensive positions. This footage shows the German air force (Luftwaffe) dropping paratroopers near Rotterdam. Within days, the Netherlands was defeated. The country surrendered to Germany on May 14. The Dutch government and Queen Wilhelmina fled to exile in Great Britain.

    German paratroopers land near Rotterdam
  • Westerbork

    Article

    The Westerbork transit camp, located in the German-occupied Netherlands, served as a temporary collection point for Jews in the Netherlands before deportation.

    Westerbork
  • Helga Leeser

    ID Card

    The older of two sisters, Helga was raised by prosperous, non-religious Jewish parents in the small Catholic town of Duelmen in western Germany. Her family owned a linen factory. Before marrying Helga's much older father in 1927, her mother had been a Dutch citizen. As a child, Helga looked forward to vacations in the Netherlands with its comparatively relaxed atmosphere. 1933-39: At age 6 Helga began attending a Catholic elementary school. Antisemitism wasn't a problem until the night of November 9, 1938…

    Helga Leeser
  • Return to Europe of the St. Louis

    Article

    In May 1939, the St. Louis set sail from Germany to Cuba. Most of the passengers, fleeing Nazi Germany, were denied entry. Learn more about their fates.

    Return to Europe of the St. Louis
  • Willem Arondeus

    ID Card

    One of six children, Willem grew up in Amsterdam where his parents were theater costume designers. When Willem was 17, he fought with his parents about his homosexuality. He left home and severed contact with his family. He began writing and painting, and in the 1920s was commissioned to do a mural for the Rotterdam town hall. In 1932 he moved to the countryside near Apeldoorn. 1933-39: When he was 38, Willem met Jan Tijssen, the son of a greengrocer, and they lived together for the next seven years.…

    Tags: resistance
    Willem Arondeus
  • Susanne Ledermann

    ID Card

    Susanne was the younger of two daughters born to Jewish parents in the German capital of Berlin. Her father was a successful lawyer. Known affectionately as Sanne, Susanne liked to play with her sister on the veranda of her home and enjoyed visiting the Berlin Zoo and park with her family. 1933-39: After the Nazis came to power in January 1933, it became illegal for Jewish lawyers to have non-Jewish clients. When Susanne was 4, her father's law practice closed down and the Ledermanns moved to the…

    Tags: Auschwitz
    Susanne Ledermann
  • Herzogenbusch Subcamps

    Article

    Learn about the subcamps of the SS-established Herzogenbusch concentration camp in the Netherlands, including Amersfoort, Arnheim, Eindhoven, and others.

  • Ezra BenGershom

    ID Card

    Ezra was born to a Jewish family in the Bavarian city of Wurzburg. In the summer of 1929, his father, a third-generation rabbi, accepted a position as a district rabbi, guiding 12 congregations in Upper Silesia. In primary school, Ezra, who showed a keen interest in chemistry, was often harassed by his schoolmates for being Jewish. 1933-39: Because of his "Nordic" features, Ezra was able to frequent places where Jews couldn't go. In 1938, one year after he entered a Jewish secondary school in Berlin, the…

    Ezra BenGershom
  • Marthijn Wijnberg

    ID Card

    When Marthijn was 10, his religious Jewish family moved from Groningen to the town of Zwolle. There, his parents ran the only kosher hotel in the region. The Wijnbergs had two other sons and a daughter. All of the children attended Dutch public schools, and four afternoons a week they also went to religious school to study Jewish history, Hebrew and the Bible. 1933-39: Marthijn could play almost any instrument, including piano, saxophone and accordion. Sometimes each of his brothers would pick up an…

    Marthijn Wijnberg

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