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The Star of David - Symbol of the persecution of the Jews

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Step by step the Jews were separated from the rest of the population. Signs increasingly appeared in public stating that Jews in certain areas were "not wanted." Later these signs became much more explicit: Forbidden for Jews. Anti-Jewish policy became more and more strict. Jews were banned in more and more places. Zoos, cinemas and markets became off limits to Jews.

The Star of David - Symbol of the persecution of the Jews

From the beginning of May 1942, Jews in the occupied Netherlands were obliged to wear a Star of David when they appeared in public. The hexagonal yellow star, containing the word in quasi-Hebrew letters Jew, one had to sew visibly at chest height of the jacket. Not long after the introduction of the Star of David a start was made with the deportations.

 

Razzia in Amsterdam (cc - National Archives)
Razzia in Amsterdam (cc - National Archives)

When the Germans occupied our country in May 1940, it soon became clear that Jews in particular would suffer very hard. Step by step the Jews were separated from the rest of the population. Signs increasingly appeared in public stating that Jews in certain areas were "not wanted." Later these signs became much more explicit: Forbidden for Jews. Anti-Jewish policy became more and more strict. Jews were banned in more and more places. Zoos, cinemas and markets became off limits to Jews.

 

The Nazis regarded Jews as a great danger, not only to NaziGermany, but for the whole world. In his infamous book Mein Kampf described Adolf Hitler expanded on why he wanted to deal with them. According to the dictator, the Jews were after world domination and lived as a kind of parasites among the different peoples. Hitler wanted to prevent Aryan blood from being mixed with the blood of other peoples. The Jews therefore had to be separated.

At the beginning of 1941, the occupier stipulated that all Jews had to register. A month later, a Jewish Council was established by order of the Nazis. This organization was to ensure that orders from the occupying forces to the Jewish community were carried out in a swift and orderly manner. It was clear that the council mainly had to implement anti-Jewish measures. The Jewish Council finally existed until September 1943. The leadership was then itself deported to a concentration camp Westerbork.

Introduction of the Star of David -

 

Woman with Star of David (cc - Bundesarchiv)
Woman with Star of David (cc - Bundesarchiv)

On April 29, 1942, the leaders of the Jewish Council were informed that the Star of David would be made mandatory five days later. The council was supposed to distribute the Star of David, which took the shape of the famous Star of David. The council was informed of the decision very late, so that there was actually no time for the representatives to really deliberate and possibly make a decision on the matter. On the German side, people had not been fully reassured that the leaders of the Jewish Council would carry out the order. The council still indicated that it was a “terrible day” for the Jews in the Netherlands, but it was decided to carry out the order anyway.

 

An emergency meeting was called on April 30, 1942. At the time, some members of the council indicated that they still had serious objections to the decision to implement the measure. The Jewish social worker Gertrude van Tijn angrily walked into this meeting to "on behalf of many"

"... to protest against the fact that it was the Jewish Council that would distribute and sell this symbol intended as a humiliation: had the Germans had to do that, it would have taken them, she argued, 'weeks and weeks'." Loe de JongPart 5b 1087

Especially the fact that the Jewish Council had worked so hard to speed up the distribution of the 569.355 Jewish stars, was widely criticized. The leaders were supposed to stretch things out as much as possible to gain time.

Shame

 

Advice from the Jewish Council regarding the Star of David (Resistance Museum)
Advice from the Jewish Council regarding the Star of David (Resistance Museum)

Jews were not given the Star of David for free. Per star one not only had to hand in the so-called textile seal, but also pay 4 cents to the Jewish Council. The council needed this money because it in turn had to pay for the fabrication of the thousands of stars. The bill for the persecution of the Jews was thus deposited with the Jews themselves.

 

There was a divided reaction in the Jewish community to the new anti-Jewish measure. A member of the Jewish Council wrote about this:

“The response was divided among the elderly. Many people cared little about it, others, often people from whom this would not have been expected in the least, were ashamed of the star and darkened him as much as possible. Some no longer dared to visit their non-Jewish friends! Some went even further and hid completely, rather than strolling along the Lord's ways with a star. ” Loe de Jong, volume 5b 1087

Initially there were still Jews who refused to wear the Star of David, but it soon became clear that this was life-threatening. Those who were caught were arrested, usually never to return home. And people quickly fell through the hand during inspections. It was mandatory for all Dutch people to have an identity card with them and that of Jews contained a large one J.

Clothing from Auschwitz with a Star of David on it - cc
Clothes off Auschwitz with a Star of David on it - cc

The Dutch Jewish stars came from a factory in Enschede, according to research by the Jewish Historical Museum in 1997. Until then it was often thought that the stars were made in a concentration camp in Poland.

Radio Orange

When the government in exile heard about the new anti-Jewish measure, a message was quickly sent out via Radio Oranje. Among other things, the following was said:

'We trust that you see this hateful measure as a new German attempt to build dividing walls between the Jewish and the other Dutch ... When the occupying forces in Belgium announced this same measure at the time, the Belgen... answered her by all adorning themselves with the said sign. We leave it to you in good faith to jointly, without exception and without delay, devise and carry out all the measures that would in this case be required to demonstrate the unbreakable unity of our people against the occupying forces. ”

 

Woman with Star of David (cc - Bundesarchiv)
Woman with Star of David (cc - Bundesarchiv)

In reality, the Star of David became in Belgium and France only introduced in June 1942. In the early days, some Dutch people did indeed show solidarity with their Jewish fellow man. Some decided to bow to Jews when they saw them walking by with their star. Others also sewed a Star of David on their coats in protest, even though they were actually not Jewish at all. In The Telegraph, an outspoken pro-German newspaper at the time, was soon warned against this small backlash. Telegraaf editor Janke-Dreves-Marinus gave the readers of the newspaper the following for their reflection:

 

“Without the Jew, this war of destruction would have happened Europe everything is at stake, are not ignited ... Dutch people who cannot decide to stop their friendship with Jews or who defy the occupying forces through provocative actions run the risk of being treated as Jews themselves ... They are doing well, now, now it is not too late to consider in all sobriety. ”

Exactly how many people supported the Jews is not known. It is clear that the resistance was soon nipped in the bud. As early as May 1, 1942, the police were instructed to arrest demonstrators and hand them over to the Sicherheitspolizei. Anyone who was arrested, that much was clear, had a good chance of being taken to a concentration camp.

Resistance newspaper Het Parool called the Star of David “a blow in the face of the entire Dutch people”.

 

Source: History

 

 

 

 


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