Not long ago, I visited Camp Westerbork, the detention and transit camp located in the north of the Netherlands close to the German border. During World War II, more than 100,000 Dutch Jews, Sinti and Roma and resistance fighters were transferred from Westerbork, to Auschwitz or Sobibor (an extermination camp in Poland). Anne Frank and the seven other people hiding in the Secret Annex in Amsterdam were first taken to Camp Westerbork. Anne Frank stayed here from August until early September 1944, when she was taken to Auschwitz-Birkenau.
The camp was demolished in the 1970’s, and the site now houses Herinneringscentrum Kamp Westerbork (Remembrance Center of Camp Westerbork), which has a museum and has several poignant memorials dedicated to the victims.

National Westerbork Memorial

The National Westerbork Memorial is located where the railroad from to the camp terminated. Designed by former Westerbork inmate Ralph Prins, it consists of a piece of railroad track, with its rails twisted and pointed up intending to express despair. There are 93 tracks attached to the rails, representing the number of trains that left Westerbork to the concentration camps.

102,000 Stones

The 102,000 Stones represent the 102,00 persons deported through Westerbork and executed in the concentration camps. The stones with Stars of David represent the Jewish victims, the flames represent the Sinti and Roma, and resistance fighters are represented with the plain stones. 

The stones also vary in size – taller ones for adults, shorter ones for children – and are arranged in the shape of the map of the Netherlands.

Herinneringscentrum Kamp Westerbork is open Monday to Friday 10:00 am5:00 pm, and Saturday and Sunday 11:00 am to 5:00 pm. Visit the Kamp Westerbork website for more information.