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Liberation of Westerbork

A map of the Westerbork transit camp. Until July 1942, Westerbork was a refugee camp for Jews who had moved illegally to the Netherlands. After the German conquest of the Netherlands, Westerbork was expanded into a transit camp for Jews deported from the Netherlands to killing centers.

A map of the Westerbork transit camp. Until July 1942, Westerbork was a refugee camp for Jews who had moved illegally to the Netherlands. After the German conquest of the Netherlands, Westerbork was expanded into a transit camp for Jews deported from the Netherlands to killing centers. —US Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Toni Heller View larger image

April 12, 1945

Canadian forces liberate 876 prisoners at the Westerbork camp in the Netherlands.

The Westerbork camp was situated in the northeastern part of the Netherlands in the Dutch province of Drenthe, near the towns of Westerbork and Assen. The Dutch government established a camp at Westerbork in October 1939 to intern Jewish refugees who had entered the Netherlands illegally. The camp continued to function after the German invasion of the Netherlands in May 1940. In 1941 it had a population of 1,100 Jewish refugees, mostly from Germany.

From 1942 to 1944 Westerbork served as a transit camp for Dutch Jews before they were deported to killing centers in German-occupied Poland. In early April 1945, as Allied troops approached the camp, the Germans abandoned Westerbork. Westerbork was liberated on April 12, 1945, by Canadian forces who found 876 inmates there.