From the collection of the Camp Westerbork Memorial Centre
h 145 cm x w 60 cm
In October 1939 the first German-Jewish refugees fleeing Nazi Germany arrived in Westerbork. They were involved in the internal organization of the refugee camp starting in 1940, as well as later on when it officially became a transit camp for Jews: Polizeiliches Judendurchgangslager Westerbork.
The general supervision of the camp was in the hands of the SS and early on they were also responsible for the security in the vicinity of the camp. Daily life inside the camp was overseen by different Jewish work groups, including the Ordedienst (Lit. Order Service). The members of this group, who wore these green coveralls, were responsible for fire safety and internal security. They supervised the labour gangs, both inside and outside the camp. They also guarded the people scheduled for transport to the concentration and extermination camps. At times the Jewish Order Service was also deployed for razzias (roundups) in Amsterdam, to retrieve the sick from their homes and for instance to empty the Jewish psychiatric hospital the Apeldoornsche Bosch in 1943. Needless to say, members of the Orderdienst were not particularly popular among Westerbork’s prisoners and often referred to as the ‘Jewish-SS’. Ultimately, most of the members of the Jewish Order Service were transported as well.