Amersfoort commemorates mass execution of Soviet prisoners


According to Remco Reiding of the Russisch Ereveld Foundation, April 9 marked 75 years since the second biggest mass execution in the Netherlands during WWII took place, a very little known history fact.

In September 1941 prisoners of war from the Eastern front, probably Uzbeks, made a two-week journey in cattle trucks to Amersfoort, Utrecht. They had been displaced, starved and beaten, and found themselves in a country where they could not communicate with others.

“The Nazis took them to the Netherlands to show Dutch people what untermenschen (‘those inferior people of the East’) looked like. They were paraded and exhibited like animals through the city on their way by foot to the camp while people watched. Once in the camp, they were left outdoors for days as a warning to Dutch prisoners.”

Instead of shocking Dutch onlookers, the prisoners caused a wave of sympathy, as the Dutch wanted to give them water, fruit and bread, which the Nazis did not allow. There was even a film crew charged with having the prisoners fight among themselves over some bread they threw to them, which also failed. The men took the bread and shared it instead, regardless of how hungry they were.

The terrible tragedy goes on, but in the end, the starving, mistreated soldiers had started dying off and were useless as a propaganda tool, so they were eventually all shot.


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