Geraldien von Frijtag Drabbe Kunzel

The Dutch in the Occupied East and the Holocaust

“Germanization” of occupied Soviet territories is usually seen as a German project, but this research shows that others also participated. Between the summer of 1941 and that of 1944, some 5,000 to 7,000 Dutchmen came to this region. By participating, the Dutch hoped to restore some of the lost Dutch colonial grandeur and to solve what was considered a structural agrarian crisis. Though having a separate agenda did complicate relations with the Germans, the colonists did not exclude racialist visions and practices. On the contrary, this research supports the argument that colonial projects and ethnic cleansing went hand in hand and that the Dutch were involved in both. A case study of Dutch settlers around Vilnius elaborates this argument and focuses on Dutch–Jewish relations. It challenges the current delineations in Holocaust research and reveals very dynamic shifts in perspectives and positions.