Joodse Werkdorp Nieuwesluis


In the period 1934 to 1941, the Jewish Werkdorp Nieuwesluis was a place for Jewish refugees to follow agricultural training.

In 1930, the Wieringermeer was drained and from 1934 the land was taken into use. The issuance of the hectares of land was done through the government. The Wieringermeer Directorate of the Wieringermeer Service ensured that the land was distributed among selected farmers via a lease system. For example, 210 hectares of land were leased by the Jewish Labor Foundation. Two old barracks were put on the ground and Werkdorp Nieuwesluis was created.

Hitler officially came to power in Germany in 1933. Many Jews wanted to flee Germany for fear of persecution. The Jewish Labor Foundation is an initiative of George van den Bergh. The purpose of the foundation was to set up a training camp in the Netherlands especially for Jewish youth. By following an agricultural course, they were able to migrate to Palestine with a so-called 'Palestine certificate'. On October 3, 1934, the Jewish Werkdorp was opened. The first Jewish refugees set to work building a community house and barracks. The community building was completed in 1937. The building contained a dining room for 250 people, a library, a reading room and a small synagogue. The upper floor was used as a storage place, but also as a shooting instruction room and shooting range.

Around the community building, in the shape of a semicircle, there were sixteen large residential barracks.

Agricultural training In the Jewish Werkdorp, the women were usually trained for domestic tasks. The male work villagers received a two-year training to become farmers, horticulturists, construction workers or craftsmen. Among other things, cauliflower, spinach, potatoes, sugar beets and broad beans were grown. At Werkdorp there were about 25 dairy cows, 60 sheep, 8 horses and many chickens. The students received training on how to deal with this.

Clearance In 1941, local NSB leaders pushed for the camp to be closed. On March 20, 1941, the Jewish Werkdorp was evacuated by the notorious Willy Lages of the Siecherheitsdienst. 60 people were allowed to stay behind to take care of the livestock and crops. About 200 Jewish work villagers were brought to Amsterdam by bus. To everyone's relief, they were released here again. Everyone was housed in private homes. In June 1941, after two bomb attacks, the Germans decided to arrest and deport more than 250 young Jewish men in Amsterdam's Jewish quarter as a reprisal. The work villagers received a message that the Germans would pick them up at home to take them back to the Wieringermeer. Between 60 and 200 men fell into German hands as a result of the ruse and were deported to Mauthausen. They all died in the Mauthausen concentration camp.

Role of names A roll of names hangs in the community building. This role was made 40 years after the evacuation of the Werkdorp. The roll of names represents the 197 Werkdorpers who died in the Second World War. In 2021, the name monument in memory of the last inhabitants of the Werkdorp will be completed. The memorial stones are in the shape of a semicircle, referring to the residential barracks, around the other monument. The monument on a column was unveiled in 1989.

Description monument The community building was designed by architects Bromberg and Klein. The building consists of one storey with a high roof floor. The asymmetrical building is made of yellow-red brick. The front facade has an entrance with a staircase. This separates the western extension (left side) from the community part (right side).

The interior has largely remained in its original state, especially the sinks in red and white and black and white tiling in the kitchen. Judaism uses a kitchen that is kosher with two history sinks.

The community building has the status of a national monument and the terrain in the shape of a half moon is also protected as a national monument.

Valuation The community building is of general interest because of its cultural and architectural-historical value as a historically functional main part of the Jewish Werkdorp Nieuwesluis complex.

Sources - Register of monuments via - Werkdorp Wieringermeer via - Jewish Werkdorp Wieringermeer via - Joods Werkdorp Foundation via - Memorial Center Camp Westerbork via - War sources via

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Nieuwesluizerweg 42
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