The grounds

On and around the grounds of Kamp Amersfoort you will find various reminders of the camp. These focal points refer to the camp’s history and tell the story of what happened at this site.

 

THE BORDER BEECH

The prisoners were brought to Kamp Amersfoort under heavy guard. Here, where once a great beech stood, they turned left, into the camp. The beech, at the time estimated to be 200 years old, 20 meters high with a circumference of 6 meters, ceased to be in October 2000.

THE GATE

After passing a checkpoint at the beginning of Appelweg, one arrived at the main gate of the camp. This gate accessed the part of Kamp Amersfoort which housed the SS. The prisoners entered the camp here to be registered.

THE BUNKER CELLS

Prisoners who were to be executed the following day were confined in the guards’ part of the camp, the ‘Bunker Cells’. A steel bed with a straw mattress and a bucket to be used as a latrine were the only items in the cell.

THE (ORIGINAL) ROLL CALL BELL

The roll call bell was sounded several times each day. The prisoners had to remain perfectly still and carry out orders quickly. Such a roll call could last for hours. The bell now rings out twice each year, on 19 April (the date the camp was turned over to the Red Cross) and on 4 May (National Remembrance Day).

THE REMEMBRANCE BUILDING WITH THE MURAL

The camp commandant had the prisoners paint the mural. The mural shows the prisoners to be healthy and happy. The commandant wanted to show that life in Kamp Amersfoort was not so bad and that the prisoners were spending their time constructively.

THE ROSE GARDEN

The rose garden, a small piece of land surrounded on all sides by barbed wire, was especially know as a place of punishment. Prisoners were made to stand there in all kinds of weather for hours, sometimes even days. The name rose garden was a pseudonym: the prisoners imagined the barbs of the barbed wire as roses, a sign of hope.

KOPINSKY’S STONE

Many prisoners were psychologically broken because of their time in the Kamp Amersfoort. The curve in the path symbolizes this. Kopinsky was one of these prisoners. He recorded his experiences in a variety of art works. The design of this plaque is one of them. The five trees standing in the courtyard, stood here during WW II as well.

WATCH TOWER

During the first period of Kamp Amersfoort six watch towers were placed in the prisoners’ section. In 1943 when the prison camp was expanded there were eight. One tower remains. In 2004 the remaining watch tower was restored and placed on the original site.

THE MEMORIAL STONE

This memorial stone was the first marker to be placed after the Second World War. Former prisoners wanted to keep alive the memories of what happened here.

BOULDERS ON THE GROUNDS

In the outlying area of the camp there are about one hundred boulders with a distance of approximately 15 meters between them. Together they form an imaginary net that holds the area together, as it were.

THE SHOOTING RANGE

The shooting range, 320 meters long, was dug by the prisoners themselves. Prisoners were executed everywhere. They were also killed on the shooting range: at the beginning, halfway and especially at the end.

THE STONE MAN

As a memorial to all the victims who died in Kamp Amersfoort, the sculptor Fritz Sieger (himself a prisoner of war), made the monument Prisoner facing the Firing Squad (Gevangene voor het vuurpeloton), popularly called The Stone Man (De Stenen Man).

TEMPORARY BURIAL SITE

All of the mortal remains which were found in and around the camp immediately after the war were identified and temporarily buried here. Later they were interred in their hometown or in the cemetery.

THE TRENCHES

The trench was constructed in 1939 by the Dutch military as an exercise in trench construction. During the war the Germany military used this trench and placed anti-aircraft artillery on the concrete slab beyond.

SINAI MONUMENT

When the Sinai Center moved to Amstelveen in 2008, the wall relief by Lex Horn was transferred to Kamp Amersfoort. The relief sculpture portrays both the hope of the light as well as the devastating power of the Holocaust.

MONUMENT TO HIDING PLACE PROVIDERS

The monument to hiding place providers, designed by artist Eric Claus, is dedicated to those who provided shelter and hid people from the Nazis during the Second World War. By offering a hiding place to those in need of such, hundreds of thousands of people were kept out of the hands of the Nazi occupiers.

SNEEVLIET MONUMENT

Recently a burial site was discovered in which eight prisoners, associated with the resistance group Marx-Lenin-Luxemburg-Front (MLL-Front) in 1942, were executed by firing squad and buried. Henk Sneevliet, a politician of (inter)national renown was a leader of this group. After the liberation the physical remains were reinterred elsewhere.

THE MORTUARY

When prisoners died of disease and hardship, they were temporarily placed in the mortuary (originally a farm shed). Sometimes they were collected by family member to be buried, or they were buried in pits which the occupier had dug on the camp grounds.

KOEDRIEST MONUMENT

After the war the remains of 77 Soviet soldiers were found near Koedriest. The soldiers were part of a group of 101 Russian prisoners of whom 24 died due to the hardships. The remaining soldiers were executed here by firing squad on 9 April 1942 in the earlier hours of the morning. All of them are now buried in the Russian Field of Honor, next to the Rusthof cemetery. (Approx. 2 kilometers away).

THE WATCH TOWER FOUNDATION

Initially you see only four concrete blocks and an iron rod, but investigation has shown that under these blocks lies the foundation of one of the watch towers of the first period of the camp (1942). There were six watch towers around the prisoner part of the camp, later increased to eight.

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