More Jewish Groningen residents died in WWII than estimated
Fewer Jewish residents of the province of Groningen survived the Nazis and the Holocaust than previously thought. According to a new study by the University of Groningen of five municipalities in the province, less than ten percent of the Jewish residents of these municipalities survived the war. That is a third lower than the previous estimate (15 percent) and well below the 27-29 percent national survival rate.
University of Groningen historian Richard Paping and his team investigated the expropriation of Jewish property during WWII in the municipalities of Het Hogeland, Midden-Groningen, Oldambt, Veendam, and Westerkwartier. In the context of this study, they also examined the survival rate of Jewish people who lived in these five municipalities in 1942. Together, the five municipalities cover almost two-thirds of the province outside the city of Groningen.
“The incredibly shocking results show that less than 10% (9.7%, 111 out of 1,142) of these Jewish residents survived the war. That means that over 90% of them were killed. Almost all of the often centuries-old Jewish communities in the region of Groningen were completely annihilated,” the researchers said.
The survival rate of 10 percent is far below the current estimate for the national population, which lies around 27 to 29 percent. “The proportion of Jewish people who were killed in the Holocaust and who came from Groningen is the highest in the Netherlands. And that while the proportion of Jewish people from the Netherlands as a whole who were killed during the Holocaust is already very high in the European context,” the researchers said.
According to Paping and his team, the low survival rate among Jewish-Groningers is likely linked to the early deportation of Jewish families from the area. While deportations from the Netherlands really got going from November 1942, Nazis had already sent younger male heads of households from Groningen to join the “labor force” in July of that year. “As a result, the families in the region were effectively held hostage, and few went into hiding,” the researchers said. “Of these men who were deported early on, a third were already killed by the Nazis in October 1942.”
Around a fifth of Jewish survivors in the studied municipalities were married to non-Jewish partners. The chances of survival were slightly higher for those aged 20 to 50 than for other age groups. “Children aged between 5 and 19 and adults over 55 only had a minimal chance of surviving the genocide organized and carried out by the Nazis.”