Nederlands Exposition in Auschwitz Dutch people in Auschwitz

Each person has a name

Personal story: Jacob van Gelder

In 1941, through a British friend of his father, Jacob van Gelder got involved in smuggling photos of strategic objects in the Netherlands to Paris. From there the photos were transported to England. In 1942, he was captured in Paris and deported to Auschwitz. In Birkenau he was put to work in the ‘Canada commando'. In the camp language ‘Canada' referred to prisoners who worked for the commando that transferred and selected the belongings that were stolen from newly arrived prisoners, as well as the terrain with camp warehouses where these belongings were stored. Upon arrival of a transport, van Gelder had to unload the food wagon or bring the luggage to the warehouses. In October 1944, he was deported along with some other prisoners from Canada. He survived several labour camps in Germany and was liberated in May 1945 in Czechoslovakia, more dead than alive. His parents, his two brothers, and most of this family members did not survive the camps.


aankomst
Arrival of a transport of Jews from Hungary in Birkenau, 1944.
Three Dutch prisoners are standing on the left dressed in prison clothes. From left to right: Jacob van Gelder (Ben Dror), Jaap de Hond, Maurits Schellekens (?)..
NIOD Collection, Amsterdam
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