New footage found of WWII deportation camp Westerbork
An intensive search led to the discovery of a new copy of footage from Camp Westerbork, a transit camp from which over 101 thousand people were deported out of the Netherlands by train during World War Two. The footage is a rare piece of film to still in existence which shows the Nazi camps during the Second World War, the The Netherlands Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies (NIOD) announced.
The recently uncovered film print includes high quality footage of a transport of Jewish people by train, filmed on 19 May 1944, and a short fragment of the camp, nicknamed the Foyer of Hell. "In comparison with the known images, the newly found material is much more detailed and therefore more penetrating," NIOD said. "This also means that better research can be done with it and new insights may be obtained."
The film was shot in 1944 by Rudolf Breslauer, who was ordered to shoot footage by Albert Konrad Gemmeker, the camp's commander, according to NIOD. The footage was eventually confiscated, and after the war most of the material came into the hands of NIOD. It was later transferred to the Film Museum, and is now managed by the Netherlands Institute for Images and Sound under the name, "Westerbork Film".
It consists of around eight hours of footage.
Nearly all of those deported from the Netherlands were Jewish, and the camp's temporary population included Romani and Sinti people as well as Resistance fighters. Those deported were mainly sent to the concentration or extermination camps at Auschwitz and Sobibor.
Last summer, national railway service NS agreed to pay tens of millions of euros in damages to the families of Holocaust victims and survivors who were transported by train to and from Westerbork. The NS said it would also discuss the possibility of paying damage claims for the Dutch Resistance members who were collected and deported by rail.