The Jews of Holland

History of the Jewish communities of the Netherlands

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The Jews of Holland: History of the Jewish communities of the Netherlands

Rabbi Binyomin Jacobs, chief rabbi of the Netherlands, describes the rich history of the Jewish people in his native country from medieval times until the present day.
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History, Jewish History, Ashkenazim and Sephardim, Antisemitism, Holocaust, Holland

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Jane Cossaboom Goulet Holden December 24, 2017

Hello, I have been researching Jan Evertsen Karseboom b. 1640 Groningen, Netherlands. I believe he had Jewish ancestry. I have Jewish ancestry in my DNA. How can I search for his parents. I have hit a wall. Thank you. Reply

David Meyer Taylor Texas September 27, 2015

Dutch heritage With my family name and certain facts about my Grandfather and the fact that his life was full of mystery before he came to the U.S I wonder if he was Jewish.Our family name is Meyer and he came here from Amsterdam. Reply

Jason T Roth Albuquerque, NM via chabadnm.org March 4, 2014

Dutch Jews I have seem a documentary on the Military channel (If I remember correctly). It told the story of Dutch collaboration with the Germans in the war. The documentary also showed open demonstrations of citizens who were opposed to Jews being deported. I now have a new perspective of the events in the Netherlands. Reply

Anonymous Dallas June 9, 2019
in response to Jason T Roth:

There were plenty of Dutch who took advantage of things. When my family was expelled from their large home near Amsterdam, many of their neighbors were looting their belongings even as they were literally leaving their house. And those that survived, returned to find their furniture and many objects in their neighbors homes who outright refused to return anything. Yes, there were some Dutch who acted appropriately but as i recall, if the 5000 Jews in the Amsterdam Jewish community, only 50 survived. Certainly there was a lot of collaboration from the non-Jewish Dutch to achieve this level of eradication. Don't kid yourself. Reply

Jack Klaber Ramat Hasharon, Israel April 19, 2012

A wonderful summation about Dutch Jewry! Born 1950 in Amsterdam and raised in Venlo (the town mentioned by the Rabbi for its mikveh ), I can underwrite his stories.
Many things that happened to my parents after the war and to me as second generation survivor are so similar to the stories Rabbi Jacobs told in his speech that it's clear he did not tell exceptions but stories that happen to many of us.
3 notes:
1. Although the mikveh in Venlo is from the 14th century, it stands to reason that Jews lived also in the area when the Romans came to Venlo (called Blariacum - now Blerick, a part of Venlo). This because In 321 AD Jews are documented in Cologne, only 50 miles from Venlo.
2. Not only the Dutch Jews thought they would be save in Holland. All Dutch people thought they would stay out of WWII and remain neutral as in WWI.
3. Not the Dutch government cooperated with the Germans occupiers (Queen and government fled to London). It was police, town-clerks and mayors seeing the Germans as the higher authority by "force majeure" Reply

Joyce Clemens Elmore, OH March 23, 2012

The Jews In Holland Dank u wel Rabbi Jacobs voor uw presentatie. I was born and raised in Amsterdam, but I emigrated in 1978 to the USA when I was 23 years, without my parents. My parents both survived the Holocaust. They never spoke about it, kept it all inside them. I believe this may have resulted in depressions and "odd" behavior at times which in turn may have effected me, the 1st generation after the Holocaust. They did not want me to know I am Jewish. After my father passed on in 2005, I discovered he was. Since then it has been important to me to go back to my ancestors' roots and have been studying in the Toledo Chabad House - Rabbi Yossi Shemtov is my patient teacher. Just about a month ago, I read the book called The History of the Jews in the Netherlands" by JCH Blom, etc (2007), I highly recommend it, well researched. It gave me a better understanding how the Jewish people were "integrated" and also that many were out of touch with their roots which was a result of the Spanish Inquisition. Reply

Anonymous Dallas June 9, 2019
in response to Joyce Clemens:

You should visit the Spanish-portugese synagogue in Amsterdam. Many were quite aware of their Jewish history and practiced as Orthodox Jews. There is an extensive library located there and perhaps you'll discover much more about your family and the past. Reply

rena g Tzfat March 21, 2012

There is a big difference Yes, the Dutch Jews suffered immensely at the hands of both the Dutch and the Germans. yes, most of the non-Jews applauded to see them exterminating the Jewish population.

But compare your father being out on the street for 6 months until he got his house back to my own grandfather who was murdered by the neighboring Ukrainians trying to do the same. Reply

Tim Upham Tum Tum, Washington March 21, 2012

It is An Endlessly Fascinating Place to Be. When I was in Amsterdam, I went to the Damrak. This led down to Joedenstraat, where Rembrandt's house was at. Rembrandt lived there because it gave him a biblical feel, to do his paintings on subjects from the Old Testament. This lets you know how much Judaism influenced Calvinism in the Netherlands. I went down to the Jewish Museum, then across the street to the Portuguese Synagogue. Despite its notoriety. the majority were actually Ashkenazim. It is just that Amsterdam is famous for diamond cutting. This was brought by the Sephardim from Spain and Portugal. At that time, people had to belong to guilds, and to join, you had to take a Christian oath. Jews formed their own guilds, such as diamond cutting and money lending. Being in Amsterdam, let me know how pivotal it was to Jewish history Before World War II, it was 10% of the population of Amsterdam, and this was a number I more associated with Central Europe. I highly recommend that people make a visit. Reply

Anonymous Laguna Beach, CA February 23, 2012

Burgher Diaspora to America When Dutch mingled with Portuguese Jews; Burghers witnessed hedges and walls of protection firmly in place. Don't ask me in what form. Things got very interesting in many directions. As a witness I was confronted early on in my childhood by hostile adults of every dicipline standing taller than myself. They were not understanding why I wore traditional Swiss dirndls in the old fashion style nor why I wore black clogs. Those who were very kind to ours, of course were knowing some of the Crypto Jewry of Portugal; diaspora coming through the Mediterranean & over the alps. Many are even more baffled of the links the Swiss have with Roma, and scandinavia, let alone anything Judaica holding it together! Could this be possible?
With G-d anything is possible to bind or wedge what needs to be protected, mended, or in *our case held firmly.
By comparison children have asked about a strong bone in the body and the engineer whom surveyed this wedge firmly into place. Reply

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