Camp Schoorl

The first prison camp used by the German occupier was located in the dunes of the province of North-Holland. Between February and October 1941 approximately 1,900 people were imprisoned in the Polizeiliches Durchgangslager Schoorl. Among them were the first hostages held on Dutch soil and the group of Amsterdam Jews who had been rounded up in the Jonas Daniël Meijerplein-raid.

The first prisoners to enter the camp in June 1940 were dozens of citizens from allied countries. The Belgian and French prisoners were released after two months; the British were transported to a German internment camp near Gleiwitz in early September.

The first group of Jews rounded up in a mass raid were also taken to Schoorl. In retaliation for riots in Amsterdam the Ordnungspolizei had carried out a raid on 22 and 23 February on the Jonas Daniël Meijerplein. The almost 400 detainees arrived in Schoorl in army trucks. Four days later they went to Buchenwald concentration camp, and from there they were sent on to Mauthausen. Only two of them survived their captivity.

The first "Strafgeisel", people who were taken hostage in retaliation for acts of resistance, also spent their captivity in the camp. In early May 1941 there were two successful escapes to England by aeroplane and the Germans arrested several pilots and KLM-personnel. To punish them they were imprisoned for five weeks.

After the German attack on Russia in June 1941, the Germans rounded up some 600 communists. Upon arrival in Schoorl they found members of trade unions and 34 Russian nationals, mainly consulate staff. Two hundred of them were released over the next weeks; the others were transported via camp Amersfoort to German concentration camps.

The Dutch prisoners had to deal with two camp commanders, both SS-Untersturmführers. Johann Stöver was in charge until August 1941; he was succeeded by Karl Peter Berg. Both would gain notoriety in the management of the Polizeiliches Durchgangslager Amersfoort. Although the camp was surrounded by a double barbed-wire fence and four watchtowers, the regime was not very strict. Prisoners were allowed to receive post and packages, did not have to do heavy labour and were given the same food as the guards. On the other hand communists and Jews sometimes had to endure abuse and harassment.

As it was wedged between the dunes, the camp could not be expanded. By the end of October 1941 the Germans therefore decided to close the camp down. A number of prisoners were released, the majority were taken to the newly opened camp Amersfoort. The 25 women who were imprisoned in the camp were put on transport to Ravensbrück concentration camp. Units of the Wehrmacht and Organisation Todt were quartered in the camp until the end of the war.

Browse through the Camp Schoorl inventories

Kamp Schoorl

© Netherlands Institute for War Documentation