The Genocide of the Sinti and Roma. Research, Recognition and Remembrance | Karola Fings and Bas Kortholt | The Memory of Kamp Westerbork exhibition project
Online Lecture Feb 8, 2023 — The moving image of a young girl with a white headscarf, minutes before being deported to an unknown destination. The short clip became iconographic for the persecution of Dutch Jews. Only in the 1990s, it was discovered that the girl’s name was Settela Steinbach. She was one of 247 Sinti and Roma deported to Auschwitz from Westerbork in May 1944.
The late clarification of the identity of the victim symbolises how little the public and research were interested in the genocide of the Sinti and Roma after 1945. Yet hundreds of thousands were persecuted and expelled in Europe, locked up in camps, deported, shot, forcibly sterilised or murdered in gas chambers. In the lecture, Dr Karola Fings also looks at the pre- and post-history of the genocide. The subsequent dialogue with Bas Kortholt focusses on coming to terms with and remembering this genocide in the Netherlands.
From November 2022 to September 2023, the Herinneringscentrum Kamp Westerbork presents a monthly online lecture as part of The Memory of Kamp Westerbork exhibition project. The online lecture series provides academic background on various parts of the exhibition and the topics concerned.
Dr. Karola Fings is a historian and Deputy Director of the NS-Documentation Center of the City of Cologne. Bas Kortholt is a researcher of the Camp Westerbork Memorial Centre
The former Höhere SS- und Polizeiführer in the Netherlands, H.A. Rauter, must stand trial in The Hague for his crimes, which he committed in World War II. Hanns A. Rauter, an Austrian, was the highest SS official in Nazi-occupied Holland and was tasked with setting up the camps in Westerbork and other dutch cities, and the arrests , internment and deportation of Dutch Jews , Roma, Sinti, resistance workers, and other groups of Dutch people. Dutch cinema news March (week 14) 1948 (company : Polygoon Hollands Nieuws) . The sessions will take place on 1, 2, 3 and 22 April in the former palace on the Kneuterdijk in The Hague. The court is chaired by mr. P.G.M. van Meeuwen; attorney-at-law is mr. J. Zaayer; defender (added) is mr. K. van Rijckevorsel. SHOTS: – exterior Special Court building; – a long line of interested people stands in the rain in front of the public entrance and rushes in when the door opens; Rauter arrives, with guards, in a crook’s car in the courtyard; thick file under the arm; goes in; – interior of courtroom packed with audience: Rauter (in uniform without insignia) enters and sits down between two guards; judges enter; – session starts; Rauter makes a statement standing.
The trial news continues in the previously published film : Westerbork Film in ‘Proces Rauter’ 1948 | 20190520 | Settela•Com
De vroegere Höhere SS- und Polizeiführer in Nederland, H.A. Rauter, moet in Den Haag terechtstaan voor zijn misdaden, die hij beging in de Tweede Wereldoorlog. Weekjournaal van Polygoon Hollands Nieuws van week 14 uit 1948. De zittingen hebben, op 1,2,3 en 22 april plaats in het voormalige paleis aan de Kneuterdijk. Het hof staat onder voorzitterschap van jhr. mr. P.G.M. van Meeuwen; als procureur-fiscaal treedt op mr. J. Zaayer; als (toegevoegd) verdediger mr. K. van Rijckevorsel. Beeld: – ext. gebouw Bijzonder Gerechtshof; – een lange rij belangstellenden staat in de regen voor de publieke ingang en haast zich naar binnen als de deur open gaat; – Rauter arriveert, met bewakers, in een boevenwagen op de binnenplaats; dik dossier onder de arm; gaat naar binnen; – int. van een met publiek volgepakte rechtszaal: Rauter (in uniform zonder distinctieven) komt binnen en gaat – tussen twee bewakers – zitten; rechters komen binnen; – zitting begint; Rauter legt – staande – een verklaring af.
Het proces nieuws wordt vervolgd in de eerder gepubliceerde film : Westerbork Film in ‘Proces Rauter’ 1948 | 20190520 | Settela•Com
Bron : Polygoon Hollands Nieuws / Sound & Vision (Open Beelden). License Info : SS Führer Rauter Trial Start 1948 | 20230127 | Settela•Com | TakeNode 3d48e3a5-2fc8-4d8d-ba8b-21c07d238570
Video report of the preview 19 Jan 2023 presented by photographer Jo Struyven of photo exhibition ‘236 — Land(es)capes from the 20th Convoy’. Photo exhibition of works by Jo Struyven and Luc Tuymans in the Jewish Museum of Belgium, Brussels, Belgium | January 20 – August 14, 2023. License info : 236 Land(es)capes 20th convoy | 20230126 | Michel van der Burg | Miracles•Media | TakeNode 428839bb-7165-4771-a490-27158928ec25
On April 19, 1943, the 20th transport left the Mechelen transit camp to deport 1,631 Jews to Auschwitz. Thanks to resistance actions, both inside and outside the wagons, 236 of these deportees managed to jump from the train that would lead them to destruction.
Photographer Jo Struyven revisits this unique act of resistance in Western Europe during the Nazi regime and shows us the landscapes in which this little-known story took place.
(Silent Film) The Amsterdam Jewish Quarter — Joodsche Wijk (dutch) | Juden Viertel (german) — was cordoned off by the Nazis and declared a Jewish ghetto, February 1941, during World War II. Source : Producer unknown | Sound & Vision (Open Images)
License : Amsterdam Ghetto 1941 | 20221209 | Settela•Com – CC BY SA 3.0 | TakeNode 00e86cb5-adf6-4b73-8de6-64627aa27bca
New 2022 slow motion edition based on the newly found camera-original footage (the original negative film used in Breslauer’s camera May 19, 1944) as published last year in Deportation Westerbork Film | 20210719 (REF 1).
Before in 2017 a similar first slow-motion film was published (Settela | 20170721) (REF 2) that was using the ‘duplicate’ footage (not original footage) from the 1986 RVD film (REF 3).
The 9-year-old dutch Sinti-girl Anna Maria ‘Settela’ Steinbach peeks outside , at the last moment just before the sliding door is closed , standing inside a freight wagon with 74 people on May 19 , 1944 in the Westerbork concentration camp in Holland , when this deportation train leaves for Auschwitz-Birkenau – where Settela is murdered a few months later in one of the gas chambers. Here she wears a headscarf made from a torn sheet, because the Nazis had her head shaved , and while Settela peeks outside , her mother cries behind her in the car : “Get out of there, or soon your head gets in between!”
She was filmed by the Jewish prisoner filmmaker Rudolf Breslauer as part of a documentary film being made on the Westerbork camp (REF 4,5). More info in previous posts (REF 1–10).
This film starts with a slow-motion edition (15% original speed) , followed by the unedited 3-4 seconds clip taken from the 2021 Deportation Westerbork Film (REF 1) . Note : the images bounce occasionally , due to a technical artifact — a defect in Breslauer’s camera (REF 10).
Settela Film | 20220630 | Michel van der Burg | Settela•Com – CC BY 4.0
The original deportation footage of the annotated 2021 Westerbork film (REF 1) provides insight into Breslauer’s way of filming.
Focussing on film roll 2 of the deportation reel it is evident that Breslauer — right after filming the toddlers Marc and Stella Degen (REF 11) in 3rd class carriage I at the front of the train ( 00:16:49 ) — for his next shot ( 00:16:52 ) went all the way to the rear of the train for a close-up of the 9-year-old Settela Steinbach in cattle car number 16 — with Romani and Sinti people bound for Auschwitz (REF 6,12).
Further note that the first shot that day also focusses on a child, here in cattle car #7 with Jewish people (REF 6) bound for Auschwitz (00:20:18 start of roll 4/4 of reel E198).
The 2021 Westerbork film as mentioned in the recently presented Westerborkfilm Introduction (REF 2) is the outcome of a thorough search that started Spring 2019 for all available film cans in the Dutch media archives of Sound & Vision and the EYE Filmmuseum. All restored unique shots using both the camera original film and film copies (duplicates – when no original is known) were used for the new restored Westerbork film compilation made available as ‘display edition’.
Sound & Vision curator Valentine Kuypers reported in her dutch blog 12 May 2021 (REF 3) that a total of 23 film cans were found, including 2 cans with camera-original negative film – a discovery , because before only reels with film duplicates (copies) were known with only a few minutes section of original footage (see below). For the new 2021 Westerbork film “a compilation of unique scenes in the highest quality was made. Eight films from the archives of Sound & Vision and Eye were used for the compilation, consisting of: 16 mm original negative, duplicate negative, duplicate positive and original reversal film. ” [my translation].
Digital restoration with a conservative approach was used to stabilize and reframe the images , deflicker , and remove dust, scratches, and visible splices (REF 4). The display copy for distribution was color graded and adjusted for the correct playback speed.
Examination of the Westerbork Film for annotation showed the film starts with the two newly discovered camera-original reels E325 and E198, resp.
The first reel (E325) has sections of footage shot at various work sites of the Westerbork camp — starting 00:00:29 and ending at 00:14:22 — that can be traced back in the 1986 RVD Westerbork Film duplicates Act 2 and Act 3 , listed with numbers 5 , 17 , 12 , 5, 18, 9, 10, 9, 10, 19, 20 resp. in the post (REF 5) Westerbork Film – full version (RVD). The last scene on this reel E325 – a newly discovered clip of a few seconds – is showing a soldier standing guard at the camp entrance.
Dutch researchers Koert Broersma and Gerard Rossing reported in their new book on the film (REF 6) that the footage on both reels – although original – has been cut — with reel E325 showing 7 splices. I wasn’t able to discover splices, probably because of the digital restoration. The next reel E198, however, with the deportation footage, clearly does show 2 of the 3 spices reported by Broersma and Rossing — these show up as white transitions in this digital display edition around 0:16:22 and 0:18:14 resp. The location of that 3rd splice that is no longer showing in this restored film could be traced with help of the image of that splice published in Broersma and Rossing ‘s book , page 110 (REF 6) – right after Gemmeker looking up , starting 00:20:18 .
Since the splices between the film rolls on this reel could be identified here , the film roll numbers 1 to 4 are specified in the annotations.
The display edition of this deportation footage shows the order of the rolls found on reel E198. For the correct chronological order clearly rolls 1 and 4 have to change places, as shown before in the reconstruction Deportation Westerbork Film | 20210719 (REF 7).
The reels E325 and E198 with original film are followed by reels with restored duplicate films – omitting scenes already shown as original footage :
i) first, the 4 reels (acts) of the restored RVD film (REF 5);
ii) next, the so-called Unknown Westerbork Film Reel…F1014 (REF 8) starting with the Transport data animation at 02:03:31 ;
iii) and finally, the so-called Forgotten Westerbork Film Reel…F1015 (REF 9) starting at 02:11:53 with the Gevaert logo. Footage of the Religuous service on this F1015 reel was reported by Broersma and Rossing (REF 6) to be original film also .
Special thanks to researchers, authors, Koert Broersma, Gerard Rossing, and Aad Wagenaar, to curator Valentine Kuypers and her Sound & Vision colleagues Gerard Nijssen and others. The new Westerbork film project is a joint effort of four dutch organizations : the Dutch media archive Sound & Vision, Camp Westerbork Memorial Centre , the NIOD Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies, and the Jewish Cultural Quarter in Amsterdam.
Westerbork Film Shots Order | 20220511 | Michel van der Burg | Settela•Com – CC BY 4.0
Spring 1944 a film is being made in the Westerbork camp, ordered and produced by camp commander SS-Obersturmführer Albert Gemmeker. Cameraman is the German Jewish prisoner Rudolf Breslauer – the camp photographer. In addition film scripts were made, but the film was never really finished or edited.
Westerbork Film Dossier
In 2017 the film dossier – with the film footage and production documents – enters the UNESCO Memory of the World Register (REF 1) . The final part of the UNESCO registry (Le film de Westerbork – édité le 8 mai 2017 – ID code 2016-118 ) lists all the documents on the Westerbork Film at the NIOD Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies (REF 2).
That NIOD archive file — called (translated) : Directing, texts and correspondence of the film “Westerbork” has been scanned and made available online. The file contains film scripts, title cards, and the correspondence on the film.
May 7, 2022 the latest edition of the Westerbork Film – a compilation of digitally restored footage – was posted with annotations as optional closed captions – CC (REF 3). In addition a short film ‘Westerborkfilm Introduction’ was posted (REF 4) that addresses briefly the history, context, and contents of the film dossier, camp and film crew, postwar route of the film footage, including a glimpse of the film plan, title cards and correspondence.
Before , the title cards (REF 5) and the film scripts (REF 6) were posted.
All other production documents – a file with correspondence between the camp and the outside world on obtaining camera’s , film and film processing – are detailed chronologically here in this short silent film “Westerbork Film Correspondence | 20220509” .
Source : NIOD Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies | 250i Westerbork, Judendurchgangslager | 854 Stukken over de Westerbork-film, 7 maart – 20 april 1944 en z.d. | File retrieved May 23, 2019 from Nationaal Archief (REF 10).
Westerbork Film Correspondence | 20220509 | Michel van der Burg | Settela•Com – CC BY 4.0