The Nijverdal Archive
The following document contains material spanning twenty years in a small village in the east of the Netherlands, Nijverdal. Before WWII, Nijverdal had about twenty-five Jewish people in a population of several thousand. I purposely chose 1926 as my starting point, to show how well integrated the Jews were at that time. The final entry, dated 1946, almost a year after the war, shows that the one surviving Jew was still struggling to claim his livelihood and home back from the authorities.
I received the documents from the Historical Circle of the village when I was researching my book about my father and family, Land of many Bridges: my father's story. I realized I was holding an important piece of history in my hands, but since the material was in Dutch and German, felt that not many people would be able to deal with it. That is how the idea of translating the documents was born.
I called the entire document Administration of Murder as it shows in chilling detail how the grey clerks in comfortable offices, armed only with a typewriter, were able to set in motion the killing of six million people. Nijverdal is a microcosm in that respect. If the Germans were willing to expend this much effort on isolating, deporting, killing twenty-five Jews, to confiscate all their worldly goods and sell them off, imagine how much detailed administration was necessary to succeed in murdering what amounts to almost the entire population of Denmark. Imagine visiting that country and finding not a single person is alive there. And the Germans succeeded in doing this in five years.
The document is organized chronologically, and every original document is preceded by its English translation.
I hope you browse and learn.