Nazi role in WWII winter famine re-examined at UvA

According to recent research, the Germans did not stand in the way of the evacuation of children during the winter famine in the Second World War, but actually helped sending hungry children from the city to the countryside, Het Parool reports.

Ingrid de Zwarte discovered this while doing her PhD research at the University if Amsterdam. She used archives of the NIOD Institute for war-, holocaust-, and genocide studies to come to the conclusion that the Nazis did not stand in the way of the rescue of 40,000 children aged between 6 and 15, who were threatened with starvation.

The Germans also wanted to expedite the mission of providing aid to the population in the west of the country, which was a move from the occupation forces to prevent mass uprisings.

The famine itself was the result of German regulations, which barred the transport of foods. The German Chancellor at the time, Arthur Seyss Inquart, imposed this measure as a punishment against the Railway Strikes on the 17th of September 1944, which broke out in support of Operation Market Garden. The import ban was retracted on the 8th of November, but the damage was already done.

De Zwarte completed this part of her research early at the request of the Resistance Museum in Amsterdam, which included the results in an exhibition about child evacuations. The Exhibition will open next week.