VUGHT


VUGHT (also called Kl Herzogenbusch), the site of a minor Nazi camp for Dutch Jewry in the province of Brabant, Holland. It was established in 1942 under the supervision of WVHA. Karl Chmielewski, who was a veteran of Mauthausen, was its commandant. He was joined by a staff of 80 Kapos, but unlike the situation in Mauthausen, these Jews were not to be mistreated. Two categories of Jews were interned in Vught: textile and diamond workers who had lost their original status as "privileged" Jews; and those who in April and May 1943 had to leave certain provinces which were being "cleansed" of Jews. Originally, the camp was said to be a labor camp; most were employed outside the camp in fur and clothing manufacturing; others worked in construction of fortifications. There was a unique arrangement with the Philips Company, which employed some 1,200 prisoners. The company insisted that the inmates who worked for them be given a hot meal each day and not be deported. Dr. Arthur Lehmann served as the head of the Jewish administration of the camp and he functioned as best he could given his limited and derivative powers to treat his fellow Jews well. He kept a detailed record of life in Vught. Conditions deteriorated when Adam Grunewald replaced Chmielewski; he in turn was removed for excessive punishments, which bespeaks the unusual situation of the camp. Grunewald was replaced by Hans Huttifg.

From Jan. 13, 1943, until Sept. 6, 1944, Vught served as a transit point for Jews who were sent on to death camps. Approximately 12,000 Jews passed through Vught. Transports reduced the camp population and then others arrived. Most notorious of all the transports from Vught was one that took place via *Westerbork to *Sobibor on June 5, 1943, consisting of 1,266 children under the age of 16. They were murdered upon arrival. In the end even the Philips Company could not protect its Jews from deportation, but not for want of trying. Those who were sent to Auschwitz were selected for work for Telefunken by an agreement between the two corporations. But conditions in Auschwitz were so harsh that of the 517 Philips workers who were deported to Auschwitz, only 160 – less than one in three – survived. Among them were nine children and more than 100 women.

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

J. Presser, Ashes in the Wind: Destruction of Dutch Jewry (1968), 464–78, index; Vught, Poort van de hel (1945). ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: J. Michman, "Vught," in: Y. Gutman (ed.), Macmillan Encyclopedia of the Holocaust, vol. 4 (1990), 1584–86.

[Abel Jacob Herzberg /

Michael Berenbaum (2nd ed.)]


Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.