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Liberators and Survivors: The First Moments

Third, studying individual survival chances might expand on what we know about the demographic consequences of conflict and violence for mortality, or in this case socio-demographic differences in Holocaust survival rates. Some studies into demographic consequences of conflict such as the killings in Srebrenica Brunborg et al. This study on survival among Amsterdam Jews will follow up on those studies by using an individual-level approach to victimisation.

Following Brunborg et al. To answer this question, the original registration list of Amsterdam Jews is linked to lists of Holocaust victims and survivors. Following up on Ellis and Rawicki as to whether Jews survived just by luck or whether survival was selective, the second research question is: Who had higher chances of surviving the Holocaust? To answer this question, this study focuses on some key socio-demographic characteristics such as age, gender, nationality, civil status, social class and religious affiliation.

Differences in survival are examined by using multivariable logistic and Cox regression models.

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The American Jewish Yearbook — published estimated losses suffered by Jews in 14 occupied countries Shapiro and Sapir The proportion of losses for the Netherlands was highest among Western European countries and equalled that of some Eastern European countries. In later studies such as that of Benz , victimisation numbers and rates were more precisely calculated; Hirschfeld estimated the Dutch victimisation rate at Since the persecution of Jews in Eastern Europe differed much in timing and method, the Dutch victimisation rate was especially compared with those of Belgium and France e.

Though differences and similarities between the Netherlands, Belgium and France in occupation regime, level of anti-Semitism, anti-Jewish regulations and other factors have been studied e. Griffioen and Zeller , differences in socio-demographic composition of Jewish communities in those countries are of more interest to this study.

To compare socio-demographic compositions, the focus is on three cities whose victimisation rate impacted the national rates: Amsterdam in the Netherlands Croes and Tammes : 39—42 , Antwerp in Belgium Saerens : , and Paris in France Adler : 14, Compared to Amsterdam, the Jewish communities of Antwerp and Paris had a higher proportion of immigrants. In both those cities, Polish Jews formed the biggest immigrant group, whereas in Amsterdam these were German Jews Adler : 10; Saerens : 20, ; Veffer : 22— Since most Eastern European Jews were more traditional, assimilation tendencies such as secularisation and out-marriage might have been stronger in Amsterdam, while Yiddish was widely used in Antwerp and Paris Adler : 4; Saerens : In all three cities, a large majority was working in trading or commerce, though in different branches Adler : 18—19; Saerens : 12; Tammes b.

In Antwerp most Jews lived in a district adjacent to the central train station Saerens : 23 , while in both Amsterdam and Paris Jews lived more widespread throughout the city; Jewish immigrants were more concentrated Tammes ; Adler : 5, 10— In both Antwerp and Paris, Jewish immigrants were overrepresented among the deported Jews Saerens : ; Wetzel : , , suggesting lower survival rates than native Jews.

Differences in survival rates related to other socio-demographic characteristics are unknown, and the impact of socio-demographic characteristics on survival chances is not examined simultaneously. Van de Vosse used deportation lists, death registers and a list of survivors to estimate survivor numbers. About 16, of the survivors were never deported because they were exempted from deportation or were in hiding. About deported Jews returned and registered in the Netherlands. Studying the list of returnees, Van de Vosse concluded that relatively more women had returned, and that nearly all Jews younger than 16 and older than 50 had perished see also Presser , part 2: The lists of registered returnees, however, are incomplete and the demographic profile of those survivors who were never deported was not investigated.

A more complete and complex reconstruction of the number of Jewish Holocaust survivors in the Netherlands, by age and sex, is given by Van Imhoff et al. They used two estimation procedures, a forward projection — and a backward projection — The starting point in the forward projection is a statistical overview of Jews registered in van de Bevolkingsregisters In the backward projection, their starting point were the findings from a demographic study conducted in combined with the Dutch national age- and sex-specific mortality rates of the s and early s to construct the enumerated Halachically according to Jewish law Jewish population in This backward reconstruction is used as a second estimate by age and gender of the number of survivors living in the Netherlands in The presented population pyramid of Jewish Holocaust survivors by Van Imhoff et al.

Houwink ten Cate aimed to construct a demographic profile of survivors by investigating about Jews caught in hiding in Amsterdam in and His underlying assumption was that if some demographic characteristics were overrepresented among arrested Jews in hiding, these characteristics are also likely to be overrepresented among Jews who survived in hiding.

Based on frequency of characteristics of arrested Jews, gender was not unbalanced, and non-Dutch and wealthy Jews were not overrepresented. Only the 21—40 age group was overrepresented. Houwink ten Cate thus concluded that survival chances differed according to age.

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For the Dutch city of Groningen and the Dutch provinces of Utrecht and Limburg, individual-based studies show some socio-demographic differences in Holocaust survival. A multivariable logistic regression on Jews living in Utrecht showed that being a woman, being young or being in the highest social class increased chances of survival Croes A similar analysis on Jews living in Groningen Croes and Tammes : 43—63 showed that intermarried Jews and Jews in the two highest social classes had higher survival chances.

Van Rens : — presented t test statistics on socio-demographic differences in survival among Jews living in Limburg. For age, especially Jewish children aged 0—10 showed the highest proportion of survivors, and for nationality Polish Jews showed the highest proportion of survivors and German Jews the lowest.

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In their study on differences in local survival rates, in a multilevel analysis, Croes and Tammes used data from about retrieved original municipal lists of Jewish inhabitants. While their focus lay on associating local characteristics with local variation in Jewish survival rates, they included two individual socio-demographic characteristics: age and nationality.

They found that being older increased the chances of survival though this increase was nonlinear, and in bigger cities German and other non-Dutch Jews had higher survival chances than Dutch Jews. In a follow-up study on Jewish immigrants in the Netherlands during the Nazi occupation using multivariable logistic analyses, Tammes a found that Dutch native Jews had lower survival chances than immigrants, especially among men and children, and those in Amsterdam.

In another study focusing on the importance of social capital using a sample of Jews living in Amsterdam, Tammes b showed the importance of non-Jewish connections for surviving the Holocaust. These findings might thus not represent socio-demographic differences in survival in Amsterdam or in the Netherlands. In the next section, therefore, key hypotheses are formulated on socio-demographic differences in survival that will be tested later on in this study using individual-level data on Amsterdam Jews. In this section key hypotheses are formulated on survival chances for different socio-demographic groups based on their opportunities and motives.

Deported men were more likely to be selected by the Nazis to work in concentration and extermination camps than women e. Presser , part 2: , The gender hypothesis is that men had higher survival chances than women. Finding a hiding place for Jewish babies or children under age 6 might have been easier because they did not need to wear a yellow Star of David. Babies could also be hidden in something portable and carried unnoticed Flim : 51, The age hypothesis is that children aged 0—14 had higher survival chances than older Jews.

During the occupation this Committee, which became part of the Jewish Council, had the power to exempt Jews temporarily from deportation to concentration and extermination camps. German Jews and their relatives received more of these exemptions Sperre Moore : — , possibly allowing them more time to find a place to hide or flee.

German Jews also held advantageous positions in Westerbork to avoid or postpone deportation for themselves and their relatives Mechanicus The nationality hypothesis predicts that especially German Jews had higher survival chances. Non-Jewish relations were essential to hide and escape persecution De Jong part 6: 45, Jews who had left Judaism might have had more non-Jewish connections.

The religion hypothesis is that Jews who had abandoned Judaism had higher survival chances than Jews who belonged to an Israelite congregation. In September intermarried Jews had to register again to get exemption from deportation, although intermarried men without children were excluded. Intermarried Jews who had not re-registered ran the risk of being deported; their Gentile partners would then have to act promptly and fill out forms mentioning that their Jewish partner had been sent to Westerbork Tammes These non-Jewish family members could also provide other support, such as hiding places, to avoid deportation.

The mixed - marriage hypothesis is that intermarried Jews had higher survival chances. Social class might have impacted survival chances due to income and networks. Persons in higher social classes generally have more financial resources and a more diverse network. These financial and social resources might have resulted in better escape opportunities. The social class hypothesis is that the highest social classes had better survival chances. The number of Jewish immigrants in the Netherlands grew especially after van de Bevolkingsregisters , and with it the proportion of non-Dutch-born Jews.

The immigrant hypothesis is that immigrants had higher survival chances than Dutch-born Jews. For families it was harder to find a hiding place without splitting up, and some might have preferred being transported to Westerbork as a complete family rather than hide separately Presser , part 2: The family hypothesis is that married adult Jews and unmarried non-adult Jews had lower survival chances than widowed, divorced and unmarried adult Jews. In January , the Nazis ordered all persons living in the Netherlands who had one or more Jewish grandparents to be registered.

Amsterdam residents had to pick up their registration form in alphabetical order by last name between 10 and 18 February at special appointed locations, and return the completed questionnaire between 10 March and 7 April Stuldreher 80—81 ; questions were included about the personal religious denomination of individuals, their spouses and their grandparents. Presser , part 1: Dutch historians generally believe that practically all Jews complied with the order to register De Jong — part 4: —; Herzberg : 50; Presser , part 1: 62— Most Jews were known in their social network as being Jewish or of Jewish origin.

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After the liberation the marked Jewish registry cards were replaced by unmarked cards Croes and Tammes : 34 , and in the post-war corrected registry one cannot trace assimilated Jews, i. Croes and Tammes recovered an undated registration list of Amsterdam Jews that mentions a total of 77, persons. As the youngest person on the list was born on May 7, it might be assumed that this list was being finished in the second week of May e. Tammes Although this retrieved list is missing Jews when compared to the statistical overview of the Van de Bevolkingsregisters , it is the only source on the Dutch capital containing information on tens of thousands of individual Jews.

The question is whether these persons are a specific group that might be underrepresented on the retrieved registration list. Among those missing persons could be the group of about young adult men who were caught in a roundup on February 22, as a response to Jewish resistance, in a harassment by the uniformed commando group of the Dutch National-Socialist Party NSB and German patrol groups that resulted in the death of a NSB member.

All men were deported to Buchenwald at the end of February, and those who were still alive in May were transferred to Mauthausen Presser , part 1: 86— These Jews, however, are registered on the retrieved Amsterdam list as we will see later on when deceased are split up by place of death and year of death.


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They probably had already picked up their registration form the week before they were caught, and this form might have been returned by a household or family member. To identify possible missing or underrepresented groups, the retrieved Amsterdam list 3 is compared with the overview of the van de Bevolkingsregisters and a statistical overview of Jews in Amsterdam given by Veffer on the following four characteristics: gender, age, nationality and religious affiliation. According to the van de Bevolkingsregisters : 22—23 , Based on the maiden name of married women and the first name, Females are slightly underrepresented on the retrieved Amsterdam list.

The age distribution based on the retrieved Amsterdam list hardly differs from the overview given by Veffer ; the biggest difference is 0. Based on the nationality given on the retrieved Amsterdam list, The list also counts 8. Although all persons on the retrieved Amsterdam list had three or four Jewish grandparents, they themselves might have not longer belonged to an Israelite congregation. Based on the religious denomination given on the retrieved Amsterdam list, The retrieved list counts 7. Although the retrieved Amsterdam list is missing Jews compared to the overviews of the van de Bevolkingsregisters , it is not biased with respect to gender, age, nationality or religious denomination.

This retrieved Amsterdam list is therefore an excellent source for answering the research questions. A listing of all Jews who were deported from the Netherlands and perished without a grave is published in the book In memoriam - Lezecher IM as a means of honouring the memory of those who did not have a proper burial. This memoir contains the names, date and place of birth, and date and place of death of over , Jews.

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The adjustments published in two addenda in and in are included in the digitised version of IM used in this study. Jews who died in the Dutch concentration and transit camps Westerbork and Vught, and those who perished outside a Nazi camp or who had a grave are not mentioned in IM. Since its launch in this website is continuously updated. The DMJ database contains information such as first, last and maiden name, date of birth, and last official place of residence on more than , Jews, including those who died in Westerbork and Vught and other Dutch locations, as well as recent corrections to IM.

The victims mentioned in those databases overlap significantly. Amsterdam Jews not matched to the lists of victims or reported as missing on the victim lists were further investigated by matching them to other post-war information e. Brunborg et al. Ideally, these Jews would be checked against the names on the Dutch post-war population registry to determine whether they were alive after the liberation. However, this registry is not computerised and is not easy accessible due to privacy legislation.

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In addition, not all survivors returned to their place of residence or to the Netherlands. Instead of the registry, this study uses a database of Jewish Holocaust survivors who had lived in the Netherlands during the Nazi occupation. Lists of returnees and camp survivors had been put in a database, counting 22, Jewish survivors. In addition to surname, last name and date of birth, this database contains information on place of birth and former or last place of residence, although it is unclear what that means exactly.