The razzia of 20 June 1943

by Annemarie van Dijk

At the end of 1943, Amsterdam was declared ‘Judenrein’ by the Nazis – by that time over 100 000 Jewish people had been deported from the Netherlands and the majority of them were murdered in the death camps. The first razzia (the Dutch term for the round-ups of Jewish people that took place during the Nazi occupation) took place on the 22 and 23 February 1941. In 1943 the frequency of the razzias intensified, and major razzias took place on Sunday 20 June 1943, in Amsterdam Oost and Zuid – areas with large numbers of Jewish inhabitants.
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Jewish people report to the assembly point on Olympiaplein on 20 June 1943. This is the photograph on which the monument at Olympiaplein is based. Photographer: Herman Heukels. NIOD Collection - 96771

The round-up on June 20 was organized in secret. German and Dutch police officers closed off the areas and from 3.30 in the morning, speaker cars drove around to announce the raid: non-Jews were ordered to stay inside and Jews were told to report to one of the assembly points: the Daniël Willinkplein, Olympiaplein and Sarphatipark. Those who did not go voluntarily faced the violence of the Nazis and their Dutch collaborators, the NSB. The raid lasted all day. According to the Westerbork camp registration, 5524 people were deported to Westerbork that day.

The Beeldbank WO2 (WWII ImageBank) contains 30 images of the June 20 round-ups. 23 of these photographs are included in the NIOD ImageLab’s Behind the Star project, which aims to find the names and to tell the stories of people who were forced to wear the Yellow Star in the Netherlands, most of whom were deported and killed by the Nazis. 13 photographs were taken on Olympiaplein and 10 on the Daniël Willinkplein.

While most of the images are propaganda photographs by Nazi photographer Herman Heukels, among the photographs showing the round-up at the Daniël Willinkplein there are also four photographs that were taken secretly, presumably by individuals who lived in the buildings nearby and photographed the round-up from their apartment windows. In one of the images, two out-of-focus teacups are visible in the window pane (see image 112364). The image centres on the scene outside: Jewish people, surrounded by their luggage, are sitting on the ground waiting to be deported. Another image, taken from a doorway on the Krügerplein, shows part of a person’s face, and in the background army trucks into which Jewish people are being loaded (see image 96759). The third image shows the same scene, but this time the person’s face is no longer visible (see image 96758). The fourth image shows Jewish people arriving at the Daniël Willinkplein, surrounded by out-of-focus treetops (see image 96802).  While we do not know the photographer’s intention in making these photographs, it was a risky undertaking to illegally photograph the deportations.

 

This year, on the 79th anniversary of the June 20 round-up, a monument will be unveiled on the Olympiaplein. The monument is based on the above photograph taken by Heukels showing a group of Jewish people walking with their belongings, and consists of shadows cast on the asphalt in the places where the photographed victims walked, so as to remind those who visit the Olympiaplein of the deportations that took place there. The monument is designed by artist Ram Katzir in collaboration with students from the Amsterdam Lyceum.

Photographs taken at the Olympiaplein on 20 June 1943

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A woman, possibly a nurse named Eva Granaada, Olympiaplein, Amsterdam, 20 June 1943.
Photographer: Herman Heukels. NIOD Collection - 96738 &
96719
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Prof. Dr. David Cohen, one of the two presidents of the Jewish Council, is talking to two men at Olympiaplein, 20 June 1943. Heukels photographed the Jewish Council, camp administration and Ordnungsdienst, but did not depict the Nazis in this series of photographs of the deportations. Photographer: Herman Heukels. NIOD Collection - 97101
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Jewish people at Olympiaplein at the 20 June 1943 round-up awaiting deportation. Photographer: Herman Heukels NIOD Collection - 96729
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Jewish people at Olympiaplein at the 20 June 1943 round-up awaiting deportation. Photographer: Herman Heukels NIOD Collection - 96733
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Jewish people at Olympiaplein at the 20 June 1943 round-up awaiting deportation. Photographer: Herman Heukels NIOD Collection - 96739
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Jewish people at Olympiaplein at the 20 June 1943 round-up awaiting deportation. Photographer: Herman Heukels NIOD Collection - 96766
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Jewish people at Olympiaplein at the 20 June 1943 round-up awaiting deportation. Photographer: Herman Heukels NIOD Collection - 96730
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Jewish people at Olympiaplein at the 20 June 1943 round-up awaiting deportation. Photographer: Herman Heukels NIOD Collection - 96752
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Jewish people at Olympiaplein at the 20 June 1943 round-up awaiting deportation. Photographer: Herman Heukels NIOD Collection - 96763
96799 - Henriëtte Antoinette Polak-Schwarz, Leontine Willy Polak, Sara Emma Paulina Polak-
At the registration table at Olympiaplein on 20 June 1943, Sara Emma Paulina Polak-Schwarz (1900-1969)  stands with her bag and coat clutched under her arm. Next to her, slightly bent over and speaking with the administrator, is her sister Henriëtte Antoinette Polak-Schwarz (1893-1974). In the photo to the right of Henriëtte is her daughter Ans (Annie) Leontine Willy Polak  (1924) in a nurse's uniform. Behind the women are Sara's two sons: Johan Polak (1928-1992) behind Ans, and Rob Polak (1925- 2020) behind his mother. Photographer: Herman Heukels. Image number 96799. Collection NIOD. Photographer: Herman Heukels NIOD Collection - 96799
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A couple, possibly Joseph Kulb (Amsterdam 17-10-1893) and his wife Mirjam Kulb-Spijer (Amsterdam 31-10-1889), are awaiting deportation at the Olympiaplein on 20 June 1943. Both were killed in Sobibor July 9th 1943. Photographer: Herman Heukels NIOD Collection - 96796

Photographs taken at the Daniël Willinkplein on 20 June 1943

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A Jewish man awaits deportation at the Daniël Willinkplein on 20 June 1943 Photographer: Herman Heukels NIOD Collection - 96736
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A Jewish man awaits deportation at the Daniël Willinkplein on 20 June 1943 Photographer: Herman Heukels NIOD Collection - 96737
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A Jewish man awaits deportation at the Daniël Willinkplein on 20 June 1943 Photographer: Herman Heukels NIOD Collection - 96740
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Jewish people, carrying luggage, arrive at the Daniël Willinkplein on 20 June 1943. This photograph was secretly taken by an unknown individual. NIOD Collection - 96802
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Jewish people, including Rebekka Sara Joachimsthal-Heijmans (Gorinchem, 13/06/1880) and her husband Abraham Meijer Joachimsthal (Amsterdam, 26/01/1874), arrive at the Daniël Willinkplein for the 20 June 1943 round-up. Both were killed in Sobibor on 23/07/1943 Photographer: Herman Heukels. NIOD Collection - 96770
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Jewish people, surrounded by their luggage, sitting on the ground waiting to be deported, near the Danïel Willinkplein on 20 June 1943. This photograph was secretly taken by an unknown individual.  NIOD Collection - 112364
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Deportation at the Daniël Willinkplein. The woman in the foreground may be Margaretha Kantorowicz-Prins (Amsterdam, 13/09/1903 – Bergen-Belsen, 10/04/1945) and her husband Ernst Kantorowicz (Forst, 16/09/1892 – Auschwitz, 18/10/1944). On the right, a member of the German Sicherheitspolizei is seen from the back. 20 June 1943. Photographer: Herman Heukels NIOD Collection - 96717
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Jewish people are being rounded up for deportation on 20 June 1943. This image was secretly taken by W.J. Wolters at the Krügerplein. NIOD Collection - 96758
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Jewish people are being rounded up for deportation on 20 June 1943. This image was secretly taken by W.J. Wolters at the Krügerplein. NIOD Collection - 96759
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A man and a boy report to the deportation assembly point at the Daniël Willinkplein, 20 June 1943. Photographer: Herman Heukels.
NIOD Collection - 96768

Sources


Razzia Amsterdam 20 juni 1943 - Netwerk Oorlogsbronnen

The Hollandsche Schouwburg becomes a deportation centre for Jews - Anne Frank House

Last raids in Amsterdam: 17,000 Jews arrested - Anne Frank House

Kristel, Conny; Smits, Boudewijn; and Vree, Frank van (ed.): Loe de Jong: Jodenvervolging in Nederland 1940-1945 deel 1. Hilversum, Uitgeverij Verbum, 2018.