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"A Price on Their Heads"

Discussion in 'WWII Books & Publications' started by Deep Web Diver, Nov 24, 2002.

  1. Deep Web Diver

    Deep Web Diver Member

    Oct 8, 2002
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    Book says Nazis paid Dutch to turn in Jews

    Anthony Deutsch

    Published 11/24/2002

    AMSTERDAM — Dutch bounty hunters paid by the Nazis captured thousands of Dutch men, women and children during World War II and sent them to their deaths in concentration camps, a new book says.

    "A Price on Their Heads," by Dutch author Ad van Liempt, highlights a dark page in Dutch history — a band of 54 middle-aged men who scoured the land in search of Jews in hiding.

    Mr. van Liempt asserts that 8,000 to 9,000 people — three times more than earlier estimates — were turned in for cash.

    The findings could help explain why the 108,000 Dutch Jews forced from their homes totaled far more per capita than in Belgium or France, said David Barnouw of the Netherlands Institute for War Documentation.

    "What his work reveals is that, contrary to earlier beliefs, it was largely the Dutch themselves and not the Germans who turned in the Jews," Mr. Barnouw said.

    Mr. van Liempt said in an interview that he was shocked by the extent of this "painful chapter of human betrayal" in his country, famous for being the place where Anne Frank hid for two years.

    Mr. van Liempt takes a close look at the bounty hunters, describing them as family types, often unemployed or in low-end jobs, who volunteered for the work out of greed and hatred of Jews and knew their victims probably would be killed.

    "The Dutch Department," as the Nazis called it, was also known as the "Colonne Henneicke," after its leader, Wim Henneicke. He had been trafficking in stolen Jewish property until the Nazis began offering cash for Jewish prisoners.

    Workers were paid about 15 guilders a week, or $75 at today's exchange rate, plus 7.50 guilders or $37.50 per captured Jew, Mr. van Liempt writes.

    He says that to make a man named David Sanders reveal where his children were, they knocked out his teeth, and that they traveled for days to capture a 3-year-old girl, Floortje Citroen, who was later gassed at a camp in Sobibor, Poland.

    The hunters would pose as friends or relatives to trick people into revealing hiding places and would use papers taken from captives to find new victims.

    Mr. van Liempt says he pored over 450,000 prosecution files on Nazi sympathizers, many of them kept secret until recently. A few perpetrators received the death penalty after the war, but many more fled to Germany and elsewhere.

    Other than Henneicke and his partner, Willem Briede, the names of the bounty hunters have been changed to protect the privacy of their children.

    "After the war, the Dutch children of collaborators were unfairly punished for the deeds of their parents," Mr. Van Liempt said. "Some of them are still traumatized today. I didn't want to contribute to that."

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    Saturday, November 30, 2002

    Dirty Little Secrets: The Dutch reexamine shameful aspects of their WWII experience


    Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2002
    The Dutch have a proud history of resisting the Nazi persecution of the Jews, encapsulated in the Anne Frank story — that of a little Jewish girl hidden from the Nazis by a Dutch family for almost two years. After World War II, "the Dutch saw themselves as heroes," says Ronny Nafthaniel of the Center for Information and Documentation for Israel in the Hague. But a series of books and articles over the past two years has begun to revise that view. With a new strain of anti-Semitism and racism on the rise in the Netherlands, some in the Dutch intelligentsia are beginning to take a closer look at the value system of what has been considered the most tolerant country in Europe.

    An early blow was struck by an article published by Dutch historian Jan Herman Brinks in 2000, reminding the Dutch that crown prince Bernhard used to be seen often with Hitler and the Nazi leadership before the war. Brinks pointed out that a large part of the Dutch élite saw the Nazis as the best defense against Russian Communism, and welcomed the occupation — a small Dutch concentration camp was being prepared for Jews even before the Nazis occupied the country.

    Another reality check was offered by the author Evelien Gans, in his book Those Little Differences , which profiled the persecution before and after the occupation of Jewish Socialists. The book won the Dutch Literary Society award last May.

    But the book that has caused the greatest stir is Price on Their Heads, ("Kopgeld" in Dutch), by the Amsterdam historian and journalist Ad van Liempt. It tells the story of how a squad of Dutch bounty hunters searched out Dutch Jews in hiding and sent them to the Nazi concentration camps. Van Liempt describes a band of 54 middle-aged men who made their living by selling Jews to the Nazis. About 8,000 to 9,000 people — three times more than previous estimates — were turned in for cash. The existence of the band could explain why more Jews, as a proportion of the population, were killed in Holland than in any other country in Europe: a total of 108,000.

    The Dutch Department, as the Nazis called this merciless band, was also known as the Colonne Henneicke, after its leader, Wim Henneicke. He had been making a fortune looting Jewish property until he saw a better opportunity when the Nazis began offering cash for Jewish prisoners. (Henneicke is the only real name used in the book; pseudonyms are used for all the other historical characters, in order to protect the children of the collaborators.)

    Van Liempt sees his work as part of the overall reevaluation of Dutch character. "There is a longstanding strain of xenophobia in Dutch culture, and we are seeing it reappear in a different form today," van Liempt told TIME in an interview. "Dutch people have been terribly shocked by the book, but it is important that the Anne Frank image be balanced by the reality of what happened during the war. When the Dutch read about how the squad of bounty hunters tortured people to find out where Jews were hiding, they will have a different view," van Liempt adds.

    [ 30. November 2002, 10:40 AM: Message edited by: Crapgame ]
  2. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

    Jul 31, 2002
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    Last night saw a document on Mussert and included was some photos and info on Vim Henneicke and his colonne. Altogether some 120,000 Dutch were arrested for co-operation with the Nazis according to the same document?

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