KZ-Lager Poperwahlen--Appendixes

The following appendices contain additional facts and figures concerning the Poperwahlen camp, as well as suggestions and sources for further research.

The first appendix, entitled "Ostland", addresses the question "How many Dutchmen were there in Latvia during the Second World War?" by presenting information documenting the scope of the Dutch involvement of the German Ostland-Politik.

The second appendix, "Notes about the number of people sent out for SS FAU-175", presents statistics on the number of workers sent out for that project.

The third appendix, "Report on an inspection trip by B. J. Hoekstra", documents a report on an inspection trip of the workforces at Dundangen, Poperwahlen, Vainode, Mitau, and Riga made by B. J. Hoekstra, one of the directors of the Nederlandsche Oost Bouw (N.O.B.). An excerpt of this report appears in the main section of the study. This appendix contains the complete Hoekstra report.


Question: How many Dutchmen were there in Latvia during the Second World War?

Some background information ;

Latvia fell to the red army of the Soviets in 1940. Riga was occupied by the Germans in 1941 on the first of July. It became a part of the 'Reichskommissariat Ostland' on the sixteenth of July, although this was not made public officially until the eighteenth of October 1941. 'Ostland' included, roughly speaking, the Baltic States (i.e. Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania) Belarus and eastern Poland.

We can safely say that there were Dutch nationals living in Riga during the period of independence (1918 -1939) when there was a Consulate of the Netherlands in Riga. Presumably, these Dutch nationals left Latvia around the time of the Soviet takeover.

A Dutch-German delegation headed by Rost van Tonningen visited the port city of Liepaja [Libau to the Germans] on Tuesday 16 July, 1942. The aims of the delegation were to discuss the possibility of settling Dutch people in Latvia and to consider ways of developing economic activities. Other Latvian cities were also visited on this trip. At that time there were already some Dutchmen in Latvia. On the tenth of July Rost van Tonningen met employees of a Dutch contracting firm that was carrying out projects for the SS. It had 200 employees at work at that moment.

Ever since the capitulation both Dutch and Dutch-German contractors, as well as others firms had been expanding. Thus they went into Germany and to the German occupied territories. During the course of 1942 the Ukraine and South-Russia were added to this area of expansion.

In order to coordinate the activities of these firms in the 'East', e.g. 'Ostland', South-Russia and the Ukraine and in addition to skim off eventual profits, the 'Nederlandsche Oostcompagnie' [Dutch East Company] hereafter designated the NOC, was founded on the sixth of June 1942. A subsidiary was set up on 11 January 1943 to manage the construction sector. It was called the Nederlandsche Oostbouw N. V, that is the Dutch East-building Company hereafter referred to as the NOB. It was especially the NOB which sent many Dutch workers to the East up to the end of 1944. The parent company, the NOC, also established other subsidiaries for which Dutch specialists were recruited.

Dutch nationals did not arrive in 'The East, 'Ostland', or Latvia solely through being contracted by private firms. Many served the Germans either as military personnel or as drivers and so ended up in the 'East'. In addition, Dutch agricultural workers came to the 'Ostland' tempted by the prospect of obtaining a farm of their own.

Even if we knew the exact number of people from all sectors who came to 'The East, which we don't, it would still be impossible to ascertain how many of them went to 'Ostland' or specifically to Latvia. Besides, many of these people were in transit and only were incidentally in Latvia on their way to another destination such as Russia or Estonia or on their way back. Therefore numbers of the Dutch present in Latvia during the German occupation there can only be given approximately.

Those Dutch publications that give figures regarding the activities of Dutchmen in 'The East' are few in number and focus primarily on the NOC and NOB's activities. The most detailed figures available are for the workers recruited for the NOB by the NOC.

The NOB had two contracts with the SS, called SS-FAU 168 and SS-FAU 175. The first contract was taken over by the NOB from a group of private contractors. It consisted mainly of projects carried out in the Ukraine and Belarus, designated 'Russia-South'.Those who were here were exclusively voluntary workers, in service to the diverse private firms over which the NOB had a coordinating role.

The second contract was between the NOB and the SS for projects un 'Russia-North' under which the occupied parts of Northern Russia, Estonia and Latvia were bundled. The voluntary labourers were partly under contract to firms just as in 'Russia-South' but the forced laboureres were contracted by the NOB directly. All of the employees were designated "SS-Frontarbeiter", many of whom were lent to the 'Organisation Todt' or 'OT' which fell under the Werhmacht, still others were sent out to work as so called 'SS-Wirtschafter'.

Most of the forced labourers had shown up to be registered at their local governmental employment agency after having received a call up on the basis of age. They were then sent on by the employment agency to the office of the NOB in The Hague which organised their posting. Others, who had refused to appear in response to the call up, landed in the concentration camp in Amersfoort if they were caught. From Amersfoort they were sent out East.

The following are the most important sources on the sending of labourers to "The East":

* Nederland in den Oorlog zoals het werkelijk was. red. S.H.A.M. Zoetmulder, A.W. Bruna & Zn., Utrecht, 1946-1948 dl. 4, Onze Vernedering II, "Nederlandsche Oostcompagnie", pp. 42-60.

*B.A. Sijes, De Arbeidsinzet, De gedwongen arbeid van Nederlanders in Duitsland 1940-1945, Rijksinstituut voor oorlogsdocumentatie, Monografieën Nr. 11, SDU uitgeverij, 's-Gravenhage 1990 [oorspr. 1966 Martinus Nijhoff] ISBN 90-12 06448 1

*Studies over Nederland in Oorlogstijd, deel 1, red. drs . A.H. Paape, s'Gravenhage, Martinus Nijhoff, 1972.: hfdst. 7. E. Fraenkel-Verkade, met medewerking van A.J. van der Leeuw: Nederlandse SS-Frontarbeiders, pp. 117-169

[A 1951 expertise report formed the basis of the first part of this study.]

*Dr. L. De Jong, Het Koninkrijk der Nederlanden in de Tweede Wereldoorlogdeel 6, Juli '42-Mei '43, eerste helft, Staatsuitgeverij, 's-Gravenhage, 1975, ISBN 90 12 00502 7 [L. De J. Hoofdstuk 5 - De 'foute' sector p. 430: 'Oostinzet; p.439 Nederlandse Oostcompagnie.]

*David Barnouw, Rost van Tonningen, Fout tot het bittere eind, Walburg Pers, Op avontuur in het oosten: De Nederlandsche Oostcompagnie, p. 105 - p. 121.

A Latvian publication which touches on the presence of Dutchmen in Latvia and Estonia is:

*J. Dzintars, Nepaklavigie. Liepajas un Lejaskurzemes Darbalauzu Cina Hitleriskas Okupacijas Gados. Latvijas PSR Zinatnu Akademija, Vestures Instituts. Zinatne. Riga, 1988. pp.50-55.

SS-Frontarbeiters,The standard work concerning the Netherlands in W.W. II by Dr. L. De Jong gives no separate figures for the individual countries that made up the territory called 'The East'. The author does give the following numbers for the NOB/NOC [ on page 442]:

Early '43: approx. 2300 Dutch nationals among the 'SS-Frontarbeiter' (voluntary) " Approx. 600 persons who had gone underground and were caught and shut up in camps Amersfoort and Ommen, were sent to this same region from the start of '43 on. All together from May '43 to the end of 1944, thirty seven hundred forced labourers were added to the 'SS-Frontarbeiter' groups to which approx. 6,000 Dutch nationals came to belong."

Thus, according to Dr. De Jong there were 2,300 voluntary and 3,700 forced Dutch labourers belonging to the category, 'SS-Frontarbeiter'. Dr. De Jong based these figures on data taken from the study of E. Fraenkel-Verkade and A.J. van der Leeuw. These writers give statistics based on various NOC/NOB reports. These reports are somewhat confusing because they refer to two distinct groups of labourers, one of them was situated in 'Russia-South' and one in 'Russia-North'. The table below shows the statistics that can be drawn up from the work of E. Fraenkel-Verkade and A.J. van der Leeuw.

The intake of forced labourers began in May 1943 and affected only those workers who were sent to 'Russia-North'. This group carried out tasks in Northern Russia, Estonia and Latvia, while the 'Russia-South' group worked in the Ukraine and Belarus.

[Numbers from Studies over Nedeland in Oorlogstijd, deel 1, onder redactie van Drs. A.H. Paape, s'Gravenhage, Martinus Nijhoff, 1972, Hfdst.7, E. Fraenkel-Verkade, met medewerking van A.J. van der Leeuw, Nederlandse SS-Frontarbeiders:]

Chapter 7, pages 117 -169, pp. 144/145 'f. Number of workers sent out', pp. 146/149

SS-FAU 168

until 4/12/421178
from 4/12/42 to 29/1/4398+ (barely a hundred)
on 29/1/431276 (+1203 in Berlin) [total 2479 volunteers]
from 15/2/43 until...817+ [386 left in Berlin?]
[ [193 left in Berlin]
on 12/3/432286
beginning Oct.'43-200 (+x to SS-FAU 175; total 270)
end of Nov.'43-900 (+y to Germany or elsewhere)

SS-FAU 175

  Total Volunteers           Forced
May '43   170 forced
June '43  580 forced
{1/7/4323801600 vol.750 forced}
from 27/4/43 to 1/7/43        27581987 vol.771 forced
Beginning of May '43   
    to the End of July '433000  
Aug.'43225+ Ommen+ vol. & forced  
Sept.'43  48+ Ommen
Sept.'43 to 4/4/44  266+ Amersfoort
Oct.'43  200+ forced
End of 1943nearly 3700 2190 vol.1510 forced
4/4/1944  93+ Amersfoort (1603 total)

Total NOB SS-FAU 175*

End of Aug.'43       4320
End of Dec. '434417

*Numbers listed above represent only those workers contracted directly by the NOC/NOB. The totals given here, however, also include the workers signed up by the approx. 20 private contracting firms for whom the NOB acted as umbrella organisation.

[SS FAU 175 + SS FAU 168]

 Total      Volunteers      Forced
Total674251391603 (24 %)
Dr. L. De Jong      600023003700 (61.6%)

The numbers given by Dr. L. De Jong are not correct because the figure of 3,700 cited by him is not made up of forced labourers exclusively as he assumes. The percentage of forced labourers posted is, in reality, much lower than is suggested in Dr. De Jong's calculations. In addition the number of those who returned to Holland due to fulfillment of their contracts, desertion or death, is unknown. In all probability the turn-over under the volunteers was very high so that many of them returned to the Netherlands after a shorter or longer period of time It is impossible to state with any precision exactly how many Dutch nationals went to 'The East' in connection with the NOC/NOB. The total number of volunteers as I have reckoned it here does not take transfers from Russia-South to Russia-North into account. The number of workers transferred from Kiev is not known.

However the 200 men that Rost van Tonningen met though referred to as 'Frontarbeiters' have not been included in the table. It is impossible to say how many of such unaccounted groups there were.

Fraenkel-Verkade does mention that after 23 October 1943 the 'SS-Frontarbeiter" were not longer 'freigegeben' or released from their contract. They had the choice to re-enlist voluntarily or to become forced labourer. This might explain the fact that several Dutch writers on the subject maintain that most of the 'SS-Frontsoldaten' were forced labourers.

The Dutch historians quoted do not mention the fact that several groups of Dutchmen were sent from Holland through Berlin to Estonia without the mediation of NOC/NOB or Dutch contractors. These were people who had been working on the German defense lines along the Dutch coast. They had been rounded up unexpectedly by the O.T. to be sent to another destination. [Umsetzungsaktion]. Initially they were put to work in Kivioli, near Narva; during the summer of 1944 they worked at road construction. In autumn 1944 they were shipped out through Riga. It appears that they worked directly for the O.T. and not for the NOB. Documents in the collection of the Dutch Organisation of ex-W.W. II Forced Labourers indicate at least two such groups, sent in 1942 and 1943, of respectively 500 and 600 men.

David Barnouw writes, " On two 'Einsätze' of the SS-WSHA roughly 4,500 men were working behind the front on fortifications and road-building on behalf of the German army. This figure, however, says nothing about the total number of workers posted."

J. Dzintars, who derived his data from Polish archives, estimated the total number of Dutch nationals posted in the 'Baltic States' at 4,500 to 5,000 men. This figure covers not only the labourers for the NOB but also all other Dutch people active under the umbrella of the NOC such as agricultural labourers, peatcutters, and fishermen. This estimate appears to be quite realistic and is certainly not excessively high.

Dutch nationals employed or active in the region independent of the 'SS-Frontarbeiter' groups.

a. Agricultural labourers, peatcutters, fishermen, drivers and other occupations.

Agricultural labourers;

In 1941 the 'Commissie tot Uitzending van Landbouwers naar Oost-Europa/het Oosten' [The Commission for the Posting of Farmers to Eastern Europe/The East], acronym CULANO, was founded. This commission was managed by the director of the 'Nederlandse Heide-Maatschappij', Ir.[engineer] C. Staff. It continued to exist until the fall of 1942.

The first 100 men were sent out from Oldenzaal on 22 Nov. 1941. According to B.A. Sijes about 200 farmers had been placed in Latvia and Belarus by March 1942 but after March no further groups were sent out. Despite this comment he goes on to state that "Later on the number appears to have grown to 400 of whom 150 returned and some died." [In the report by a certain 'A.A.' which is quoted by Sijes, 24 Dutch people died in a fire on a farmstead in Latvia.] According to L. De Jong the total number of agricultural workers sent out by Culano was about 600. He also writes: "the NOC sent out another 400 to 500 . Among them were 100 or so market gardeners half of whom ended up in the Ukraine the other half in Lithuania." [op. cit. p.444] A contemporary news item ,of 17/3/43, quoted in Nederland in den Oorlog zoals het werkelijk was speaks of the posting of 42 farmers. According to the same item the NOC had transported more that 200 farmers and market gardeners between the end of 1942 and September '43.

The same source cites a press conference on 23 Dec. 1942 in which Dr. W. Goedhuys, an NOC staff member, states that there were, "145 farmers between Wilna and Minsk". At that moment 25 had already been killed by the partisans of the resistance. J. Dzintars writes that various Dutch people came to take over the management of rural estates in the fall of 1942 in Curonia, Latvia. He mentions Sknabes Muiza, in the district of Libagu. The Dutch overseer fled back to the Netherlands at the end of 1943. (Probably he is speaking from personal experience since he spent some time on an estate run by a Dutchman in Curonia before joining a resistance group.) He also mentions that there were 13 Dutchmen working at the agricultural school in Malpils. [ In the periodical De Landstand , in an issue dated 21 Jan. 1944, there is a vacancy announcement for a new director of the combined market garden and ploughland farm of the NOC at Malpils, near Riga.] Most of the agricultural labourers, however, were in Lithuania at a training farm in the vicinity of Vilnius and not in Latvia, according to Dzintars. In May of '44 he calculated there were still 235 Dutchmen in Lithuania.


Dr. De Jong mentions (in a footnote) the shipping out of tens of fishermen with light boats by the NOC to Lake Peipus southwest of Leningrad. In Nederland in den Oorlog zoals het werkelijk was a newspaper article of 21/1/43 is quoted in which the establishment of the "Nederlandse Oost Visscherij N.V." i.e. the Dutch East Fishery Co. Ltd. was announced. At this point there was already some talk about the Lake Peipus project as a part of it. Another article in the same source states that 43 fishermen had left Holland for this lake in May '43. David Barnouw writes that "The Dutch East Fishery Co. succeeded, with great difficulty, in transporting some 20 small ships on a special train at the end of April '43 to Lake Peipus near the Estonian-North Russian border . One week later 60 fishermen were sent." Thus there were no fisherman in Latvia.


We know that the NOC also recruited experts for their peat works though the numbers of those sent is unknown. The Dutch staff were primarily involved in the management of this branch. David Barnouw draws attention to the peat-producing company 'Baltolje Voke' near Vilnius in Lithuania where 280 Jewish and 170 Polish people were working on 14 July, 1943. There were more peat-making companies around Vilnius which also used Jewish labourers. Janis Dzintars mentions a peatery in the district of Usava, Latvia, which produced 30,000 tons of peat per year plus 5000 tons of tar reduced from peat.


Quote from L. De Jong, "A large number of NSB-ers (the Dutch National -Socialists Union, i.e. the Dutch nazis) joined the 'Nationalsozialistische Kraftfahr-Korps, NSKK, in the summer of 1940 to carry out transports on behalf of the 'Werhrmacht'. Geelkerken estimated their numbers at 3,000 in September 1943. According to B.A. Sijes forced labour was also used by the NSKK. The author quotes a driver who was sent under pressure. At the end of January 1943 this man arrived with 76 Dutch nationals in Kivioli, Estonia. From there they went south to Tamulku, 40 km. south of Narva. This was the location of the headquarters of the NSKK 'Transportaffel 16', whose drivers served the 'Einsatz Baltöl'." How many of these drivers ended up in Latvia or in the Baltic States and how many of them were in Russia is not known.

Other Occupations

Data derived from L. De Jong:

Various skilled tradesmen were recruited by the 'Werkdienst Ukraïne' later re-baptised as 'Werkdienst Holland' on behalf of the construction of Charkow. from March '42 on a few hundred men went first to Rowno then later to Kiev and Zjitomir. By the end of Sept.'42, 550 had been sent and 300 had already returned from the Ukraine. The "Werkdienst Holland' was placed under the auspices of the NOC at the end of Sept. 1942 after which several hundred left. The remaining employees were sent to Rowno. There are some details in Nederland in den Oorlog zoals het werkelijk was. A newspaper article from 23 June 1942 which is reproduced in this source makes clear that 85 individuals had left for Charkow. The articles states that this was the second transport. Another article announces that the NOC is going to bring skilled tradesmen under the German company, 'Ostwerk Ukraine'. During the press conference quoted above W. Goedhuys said, "A few thousand people from The Netherlands have worked there. There have been 800 to 900 individuals recruited from Dutch occupations or from those unemployed here.(in Holland)..." He is also quoted as saying, "The 'Stammlager' is located in Rowno. There will be a 'Zweiglager' and there is already a 'Lager' of 150 men in Kiev." He encountered 30 painters in Schitomir. When questioned Goedhuys replied that there were all together about 2,000 people working in the East at that moment. But he immediately added, "I do not know the exact number because there are also Dutch nationals working for German firms." 270 NOB employees left Kiev in October 1943, some of them were transferred to "Russia-South". Whether these were originally 'Werkdienst' workers or not is not known. It appears that Goedhuys is only speaking about those who were recruited for SS-FAU 168 when he refers to s total of 2,000 Dutch in The East. An auto repair shop in Vilnius is mentioned by David Barnouw.

None of the sources cited made any statements about the activities of private Dutch firms, who, after the founding of the NOC, continued to operate independently in the region. Nor were those firms that operated jointly with German companies in the East mentioned.

Based on the above given data only a rough estimate of the total numbers can be given: 1,000 to 1,100 agricultural labourers, 60 fisherman, 100 peatcutters?, 250 drivers?, 750 to 1,000 skilled tradesmen. Total ; 2,000 to 2,500 workers mostly voluntary.

b. SS-volunteers

The groups described above were all non-military 'civil' employees even though many of them were called SS-Front workers and the driver actually carried out assignments of a military nature. A distinct group is made up of the SS-Volunteers.

Data derived from L. De Jong
Estimate: A total of 17 to 20,000 Eastern front Volunteers of whom 4 to 6,000 died. [B.A. Sijes mentiond 20,000].

I. 'SS-Standarte Westland' (Dutch) and 'SS-Standarte Germania' (Dutch), with 'SS-Standarte Nordland' (Scandinavians) was combined to form the 'SS-Division Viking', under 'SS-Brigadefürhrer' Felix Steiner. This was a motorized division. It was put in on the southern part of the Eastern front. By the summer of '43 it was in Charkow. This division was given tanks and reorganised as the SS-Panzer-Division at the end of '43. After that it was sent to the southern part of the Russian front. Very soon, in early '44 it was pulled back out of the region to the west of Kiev.

II. 'SS-Freiwilligen Standarte Nordwest' under 'SS-Standartenfürer Otto Reich'.

This contained the 'Nederlands Vrijwilligers Legion' among others. The Legion was used in Leningrad at the beginning of February (2600 Dutch personnel of whom 600 died),later they were put in somewhat to the south near the river Wolochow, early 1943 they were back at the Leningrad front. In the summer of '43 the Legion was restructured as the '4th SS-Freiwilligen-Panzergrenadiere Brigade Nederland' consisting of two regiments, namely the 'Seyffardt regiment' and the 'de Ruyter regiment'. The total brigade was 6 to 7,000 men, one third was made up of Dutch nationals. At the end of '43 it was at the Leningrad front. In the summer of '44 it was smashed to bits.

Data taken from E. Fraenkel-Verkade and A.J. van der Leeuw:
'SS-Obergruppenfürher' Felix Steiner, commander of the 'Dritte, Germanisches Korps der Waffen-SS'. (p.153) He was given the leadership over the first Dutch 'Baubataillon'[Building battalion] (which was made up of 'SS-Frontarbeiters'). According to the comments of 'A.A.' there were 500 men stationed in the vicinity of Leningrad in mid-summer 1944. There were many Dutch in the 'Germanisches Panzerkorps der Waffen-SS' including the former 'Vrijwilligerslegioen Nordland' [Volunteer legion North land] rebaptised as the 'Seyffardt regiment' and also including a second regiment , namely, the 'de Ruyter regiment'. (151, footnote #133)

From eye witness reports it appears that there were Dutch SS-ers serving at some of the concentration/work camps. Reports of the presence of Dutch-SS-ers in Riga have also been made. The camp guards were made up of Dutch 'SS-Panzergrenadiere' at the Latvian 'Konlager' in Poperwahlen (Dondangen II). In addition there were Dutch 'SS-Wirtschafters' serving there. There is no data on the number of Dutch SS-ers who served in Latvia or other Baltic States other than as combatants. Felix Steiner, who seems to have been the commander of the Dutch troops originally set up by Otto Reich at the beginning of 1944, was the person who was responsible for some of the reforms carried out among the workers by the NOB at that time. It was due to him that some of the workers were given new clothing and new equipment. Thereafter these workers were reformed into so called 'Baubattaillonen' [Building battalions] and employed in road building and other tasks on the front. According to the report of A.A, printed in the study of A. Sijes, the Dutch workers consisted of 17 to 1,800 men divided into two 'Baubrigaden'.


With some reservations one can deduce from the data gathered above that there were in the neighbourhood of 10,000 Dutch nationals at work for a shorter or longer time in the region that was designated as 'The East'.

Of these ten thousand only sixteenhundred were shipped out as 'forced labourers' and of them not quite half had actually refused to work for the Germans.

It is going too far, perhaps, to lump all the 'volunteers' together in the same heap. Of the 7,000 labourers assigned to the region fully 5,000 were categorised as volunteers. Certainly, we can assume that many of them were under such pressure that they truly had no free choice about their joining the service. Certainly, too, many went to the East in the hope of making a fortune. The fact that the majority of the Dutch nationals who ended up in the East experienced poor to very poor conditions should lead to compassion for the survivors. It cannot be, however, a conclusive excuse for those who, whether or not misled by propaganda, signed up as volunteers.

To return to the initial question : How many Dutchmen were there in Latvia during the Second World War? It is as yet unanswerable. It appears that a total of 831 to 841 Dutch labourers were stationed in the camps Dundangen, Poperwahlen, Vainode and Mitau as well as those in the city of Riga, according to the report of a director of the NOB, Mr. B.J. Hoekstra on 5/12/43. All together there were 4456 Dutch nationals stationed in "Russia-North" on this date. From the few available accounts one gets the impression that the majority of this group was stationed at the Russian-Estonian border and that they eventually were pulled out, passing through Latvia on their way back west.

Notes about the number of people sent out for SS FAU-175

The following data are taken from the quarterly reports of the NOC. Four of such reports are in existence, for the 2nd, 3d, and 4th quarter of 1943 and for the first quarter of 1944. However, numbers for the first quarter of 1943 can be reconstructed from other sources. After the first quarter of 1944 hardly any workers were sent out. Some additional numbers from other sources are added in brackets.


Transports from 13 January 1943 until 31 March 1943: 203 (Jan. 45; Feb. 109; March. 94)
[Knetsch (RAB) of July 1943: Between 27 April 1943 and 30 June 1943: 1987 volunteers; 771 forced labourers; total 2758 sent out by Dutch employment services (GAB's) for SS-FAU 175


First Quarter 1943: 203+375=578

NOC Reports: Transports organised by the NOC for the NOB. First transport 27 April 1943

 Volunteers Forced Total
Second quarter 1943   
Third quarter   
Total           3314
   [31 Aug. 4320 NOB; 100 have left]
Fourth quarter37204241
          [31 Dec. 4417/4456 NOB]
First quarter'44227092
first quarter'435753578
4/4/'44 62 
GR. TOTAL172616634389


Transports from camp Ommen: Transports from camp Amersfoort: 
5/8/1943704th quarter '43197
18/8/43971st quarter'4470
23/9/4310 267-
Total215 82 0n 4/4/'44 ?

Details NOB:

Report G.A Maas en .B.J. Hoeksta of 11 January 1943: total 4456 man. In North-Russia: 1305. 'Inzet Panther'; 1200 'Strecke K', Further groups of some hundreds in Riga, Minsk etc. [Total Dundangen, Poperwahlen, Vainode, Mitau en Riga: 841 à 851]

Note: On 31 Dec. 1943 the total was 4416 men. During 1944 another 92 man was sent out by the N.O.C. [total 4508] Besides their 'Own Workers" the NOB had about 20 building companies working for them with about 800 workers.

Notes about the organisation:

The N.O.C. office in Riga was opened on 15 October 1942. Mr. O.S. Fabius became the Head-Representative. Mr. A. Satorius took over this function in 1944. The NOB was founded on 11 Jan. 1943. On 19 March 1943 the NOB concluded a contract with 'Amt C Bauwesen' for the SS-FAU 175, for works in North-Russia and around Riga. On 31 March 1943 the NOB was asked by the SS to provide 4500 labourers during April 1943. (+50 management) The O.T. demanded 1200 men for works in Riga and Kivioli. This 'Rahmenbauvertrag' was cancelled on 25 February 1944.

The head office of the NOB was in Berlin, W35 Bissingzeile 16, near to the Potsdammer platz.

NOB Directors: Daniel Krantz; Rudolf Antoine Theodore Brusse; Bernardus Jacobus Hoekstra; Pieter Hoekstra, Hans Robert Wilhelm Hennig.

Organisation NOB (date unknown):
   NOC Baustab SS Fau-175
   Einsatz Estland Letland
   Stabsleiter: G. Bos
   Hauptbauzugführer: W.J. Blick; H.C. Lelie; G.J. de Mey; H. F. v.d. Boogaart.
   Ober Ing.: H.J.M. van der Weerd (T4)
   Ing.: H. Seevelen (T3)
   Techn. Zeichner: J. Weitse (T3)
   Zeichner: J. v.d. Meiracker

Command structure:
   Kaufmanischer Leiter
   Technischer Leiter


Report J.W.J. Tummers, 23 June 1943: Financial report NOB NV over 1943.

Mentioned are the following worksites:
   North Russia
   L. Strecke
   Narwa Torwalla
   K. Strecke
   Schwarzer Hof
   Rothenberg (near Limbazi)
   Pleskau (Pskow)

This list does not represent all the locations were the Dutch were employed.

Not mentioned are:
   Kivioli, 'Bergschieferöl' factory in Estonia
   Sonda, Aserie, K-Strecke, Minsk, Wolossowa ; Vainode, Mitau (Jelgava), Riga etc..

Labourers contracted by the NOC:

Bericht von Dr. M.M. Rost van Tonningen, Präsident des Aufsichtsrates der Nederlandsche Oost Compagnie N.V., Gegründet am 6. Juni 1942 in den Haag, Über die bisherige und zukünftige geplante Aufbau-Arbeid der Nederlandsche Oostcompagnie N.V.. Staatsbedrijf der Algemene Landsdrukkerij, Den Haag, 1 Sept. 1943

Anlage XV:Übersicht der Handwerker, Bauern, Gärtner u.a. die durch Vermittlung der N.O.C. in den besetzten Gebieten in Osten eingestelt sind, ab 1/6/1942 bis 31/8./1943 o.a.:

Werkdienst Holland, Rowno533
Boeren en Tuinders Rowno256
Waka T.56

Transports NOC:

2nd quarter 1943


Contracted for other subsidiary companies (Not NOB) by the NOC: 31+64=95

3d quarter 1943 (1 July-28 September):486 (including Malpils)
4th quarter 43:Totals since 8 October 1942 (first NOC transport).
4th. quarter 1942311
1st. quarter 1943203
2nd quarter 1943516
3d quarter 1943486
4th quarter 19431
Total:1517 [R.V.T. 1527 (Including 326 agricult.)]
first quarter 1944 94 re employed


Since 1941 employed by the 'Landbewirtschaftungsgesellschaft Ostland m.b.H 'about 400 agricultural workers. Since the NOC came into existence (6 June 1942) another 170 were sent out. Of this group 23 were killed. (Date of statement unknown)

R.v.T ; p. 114: Riga 27 March 1943: The NOC takes over a company from the 'Landbewirtchaftungsgesellschaft Ostland m.b.H' (L.O).: Rest-Betrieb Malpils (Kreis Riga Land) 64.42 ha. Staatsgut Malpils + Grundstück Landwirt Kersels + Gebäude Haushaltschule + 2 ha Land. Hauptabteilungsleiter Gartenbau der NOC: v.d. Veen. Was still functioning on 31 July 1944.

Totals between 6 June 1942 and 30 September 1942: 567 agricultural workers (including 401 farmers)

Agricultural personnel sent out by the NOC:

1st quarter '43254  
2nd quarter '43171      3/4/43-16/6/43171
3d quarter '4374      13/7/43-19/9/4374
4th quarter '4313      9/11/43-14/12/4313
Grand total1121  

Report on an inspection trip by B. J. Hoekstra

Riga , 5 December 1943.

B.J. Hoekstra

Report on an inspection trip of the Workforces at Dundangen, Poperwahlen, Vainode, Mitau en Riga.


On our way to Dundangen we saw the car of Stubaf. Blaschek coming back. On arrival at D. it appeared that this "Gentleman", together with Stand.f. Bachl and Ustuf. Böttcher had been there on a visit. Later I heard from Obzf. Seveke that they had requested him to obtain the required foodstuffs from farmers in the neighbourhood in the context of this important visit. He refused but the banquet took place anyway and consequently the people billeted with the Zentralbauleitung had to eat dry bread.

During my visit to Dundangen it became clear to me that Uschaf. Waldschmidt, who, for all practical purposes is in charge there, is one of those Germans who regard the Dutch as their enemies and treat them accordingly. Fruitful cooperation between this man and the N.O.B. is thus out of the question.

In addition I had a conversation with Ostuf. Schön, in the presence of Mr. Jansen, Mr. van Dijk, Obzf.Seveke and Mr. Bos. Once again, it was pointed out that a significant number of the workforce was unable to work due to the fact that the clothing was totally inadequate. Ostuf. Schön admitted fully that these men were not fit to appear on the job. He called it "Schweinerei" that the SS hadn't provided enough clothing.

It was agreed that the clothing which had arrived in the meantime ( which consisted of overcoats, shoes, Kopfschütze, Leibbinden, gloves, pullovers, kneewarmers, etc. but no spare clothing such as underwear, stockings, trousers and jackets) would be distributed. After the distribution they would determine what was still lacking.

Ostuf. Schön asked when the "Vesta" with the long-awaited materials would arrive. I asked him to give me a list of tools and construction equipment that was still needed. He said that the same list which had been handed over by Ostuf. Schulz to Mr. P. Hoekstra previously still held good.

I added that during my last visit, I had spoken with Stubaf. Blaschek about the setting up of a laundry for our people at the location of the biggest workforce [inzet] (so probably Dundangen). At that time, Mr. Blaschek didn't think it necessary. Ostuf. Schön was, however, enthusiastic and wanted to have this laundry in operation as soon as possible. He maintained that the workforce [inzet] would be expanded continuously until it reached at least 10,000 men and that there would be plenty of work for the next ten years.

As far as the heavy equipment is concerned, the same list would apply as for Vaivara with the addition of some earth movers. Uschaf. Waldschmidt had asked me to send him a complete carpenters' workshop but Ostuf. Schön did not consider this necessary because all the timber would be delivered ready for use.

Visit to both Camps [ Lagers]

The first camp was in an old stone building housing about 60 men. Everything was still extremely primitive but they were busy improving one thing and another. There was no electricity. The remainder of the approx. 200 men slept in a newly built, but not completely finished, wooden barrack. Some of the men were still sleeping on straw on the ground. The kitchen was makeshift but considered quite good and the food was prepared by Dutch cooks so there were no complaints about the food.



The clothing was very poor. Uschaf. Waldschmidt had intended to let the men work without shoes on. This however, won't happen because Ostuf. Schön was in complete agreement with us, that it would have been inhuman.

During my visit, Mr. Seveke was, for the present time, appointed workforce [inzet = Einsats] leader of the entire Dundangen workforce [inzet]. Bauführer Bos, though making a very good impression is not capable of supervising a greater number of men than he does at present. We decided to send Mr. van 't Veer there as Lagerführer. Mr. Schuller tot Peursum serves as "kaufmännisch" leader in Dundangen. But it remains to be seen whether he is suitable for this function.

In general we were able to ascertain that the situation in Dundangen is in a stage of early development. The "Zentralbauleitung" is an undisciplined gang given to daily alcohol abuse who is absolutely unworthy of leadership. It goes without saying that our people suffer from this.


Workforce [inzet] of 91 men.

This metropolis, not even noted on army survey maps, consists of a few farms and nothing else. Here we met Ustuf. Hemicker who was construction leader [bouwleider = Bauleiter] and who made a very good impression. He belongs to that type of Germans who in their military function may make their power felt but are basically good hearted. He himself lived without any luxuries and regretted very much that the men were so poorly clothed. He didn't even consider putting them to work. They were to stay in the barrack. Besides, he promised that our men, provided they had clothing and tools, would be put to work independent of the German firms that were already established there. He was sympathetic to our aim of having Dutch workers serve under Dutch leadership and promised his full cooperation.

The men were, once again, sleeping in a barrack that was not yet finished but that promised to be of good quality.

There were no complaints about the food, which was prepared by Dutch cooks and sufficient in quantity. There was no electricity.

The general impression that I got of Poperwahlen was that the leaders had the best of intentions regarding our people and that this workforce [inzet] was promising. The German assistant of the construction leader [bouwleider], Wachtmeister Fischer, also made a very good impression.

Mr. Baars, detached from Dundangen, had served as workforce [inzet] leader. He was, however, not capable of providing leadership to the whole workforce [inzet]. Therefore he was relieved of this duty and given the technical supervision of the Baustelle Poperwahlen while Mr. Seveke was made workforce [inzet] leader for the time being. Further we met Bauführer P. v. Vliet, and Chief cook Sommer, who acts as Lagerführer at the same time.


This workforce [inzet], consisting of 100 men, mostly conscripts [dienstverplicht], is nearing the end of its employment . By mid-January 1944 they all are to be moved to Dundangen. We met with Wachtmeister Walters, the Bauleiter, who made a very good impression. The Dutchmen there were very content with him too. Clothing was bad again though. Most men were dressed in old French uniforms and had the unpleasant experience to be looked upon as prisoners of war by both the local population and the German occupational forces.



The men were housed in a reasonably decent building, where this evening electric light was burning for the first time. Sometimes food was not sufficient though, because this labour force [inzet] was the last group to be served and had to make do with the left - overs.

Workforce [inzet] leader is Mr. v.d. Weerd. He is older than the others and has quite a lot of experience. He is good at handling young people and does this in military style. Whether this approach would be successful if he had to supervise older construction workers remains to be seen, because he tends be a bit pedantic.

On the whole, he is a practical and able man, who has adapted himself very well to the circumstances. Mr. de Coninck, the Bauführer there, makes a very good impression in general and he is well suited to his function.

Formerly the volunteer Mr. Weynand had been put in command here. He can be used in technical matters (MTS) [Technical Middle School], but he might have been a bit overzealous due to his youth . However, he certainly must be considered for a supervisory position in future. Chief-cook Horst who, on closer inspection, turned out to be a former ships'steward, is big on vitamins. He might therefore put together something wholesome, but he probably won't be a very successful cook,. He doesn't feel at home here and wants to return to Holland. In order to give him more to do (he has pessimistic leanings) we have made him Lagerführer, to replace Mr. van 't Veer, who has now gone to Dundangen. The latter also had to little to keep him occupied and subsequently suffered from a decreased sense of responsibility and reduced energy levels.


Mitau (second largest city of Latvia) has a camp [lager] with at the moment a population of 90 residents, to which group another 50 men from Vaivara were added about two weeks ago. As always, clothing is very poor. The people from Vaivara were in the worst condition of all in this respect. Here too, promises had been made to provide clothing, but since these promises had been made by Ustuf. Bröking, the men here have every right to be skeptical about them. The food here was less good. It comes from the garrison kitchen of the Latvian garrison. Our attempts to have the food prepared by Dutch cooks failed because Ostuf. Schulz didn't want to free people for kitchen duty, since he was not satisfied with the work results of the Dutch. He also holds the opinion that what is good enough for the (Latvian) soldiers is good enough for Dutch workers. It hasn't occurred to him to raise the work achievements by allowing people to prepare food in the Dutch way.

The work consists of the construction of horse stables and some repairs to garrison buildings.

The location is quite bad. Wachtmeister Walden was absent, so we could not form an opinion of him. Generally speaking the men are not dissatisfied with him. Mr. v.d. Boogert serves as work force [inzet] leader. He also has the supervision over Riga. Foreman van Meurs is acting as Lagerführer, wages administrator etc. This work force will have to be reformed as far as the management is concerned, which shall cause problems because our people are working for a German firm.


In Riga the total number of men is approximately 250, working at two major Baustellen. Besides there are another 60 to 70 men, working as drivers, clerks, cobblers, tailors etc. at the German Dienststellen. The Bauleitung in Riga is in the hands of Ostuf. Schulz, the same one who was removed previously from Vaivara because of excessive drinking. Leader of the workforce is Mr. v.d. Boogert.


[p. 4.]

The Lager in Riga is under the excellent command of Lagerführer Rollema, who has a very difficult task to perform. Besides the 300 man residents here all workers in transit to other destinations are housed temporarily. The Lager is in an old school building, which has an unfinished new wing. It would not take much effort or money to finish this wing, which might be used then for people in transit, thus making the situation in the main Lager less confused. At present people often have to sleep on the floor or on tables and it is not possible to check up on petty thefts which occur quite frequently.

Food is good and clothing is somewhat better than at the outposts. Still, there are many instances of people dressed quite inadequately.



We may say that clothing is bad everywhere. Apparently the SS is not capable of providing it sufficiently, partly because clothing is very problematic, but mainly because they don't try hard enough. The situation is so bad, that our people are often dressed worse than prisoners of war or even Jews. At the O.T. [Organization Tod] everything is organised much better.

The work done by our people can in some cases be classified as "kriegswichtig". However, in many instances the projects being carried out have nothing to do with the war and one could therefore draw the conclusion that too many Dutch workers have been requisitioned already. The fact that production is low is due to the bad treatment; the promising of improvements that hardly ever materialise and the discontent among the men, especially the volunteers who have signed contracts that have not been honoured in any respect. Understandably the number of escapees has become very considerable as a result. The SS does not honour the commitments made in respect to the Dutch workers and as a result the workers don't feel any obligation toward the SS any longer. Their treatment is worse than that of prisoners of war or slaves.

It stands to reason that these troubles will have an effect on the political situation in Holland. Stories will start circulating that the SS puts our men to work in rags, evoking the pity of the Russian population, with the result that this population starts drawing analogies with the situation under the Soviet Regime, that might not turn out in favour of national-socialistic Germany. If the volunteers of the Germanic brother nations are treated in this way, what will be the fate of the Russian population?

A situation that in all respects takes on the guise of forced labour of the worst kind can only lead to the idea that National Socialism and Communism can compete very well when it comes to terror or the rape of justice. The blame for all of this should go to the SS-command and to them only, because they don't care a bit about the problem; they are, for instance, not above banqueting on the butter rations of the Dutch workers.

Whenever I point out these outrages, they send for the person responsible and give him a verbal trashing, but the only result is that nothing changes. But for a few exceptions at the top, the SS on the whole is a corrupt gang. Any interventions to bring about improvements are impossible and would come far too late in any case.


[page 5]

Other measures are called for here. Possibly it is as bad elsewhere, but the employment of Dutch workers might be used as a model in order to take the kind of steps the Führer spoke about in his last speech.

Some final remarks:

I am convinced that with good leadership and a more humane treatment the output could be raised to a much higher level than it is currently. This could happen even though the Dutch workers employed here are certainly not of the best kind, because the Dutch employment offices keep back the better ones in Holland and sends only the worst workers to the East. These improvements would be in everyone's interest. The "kriegswichtige" projects would be finished in no time, the workers would be satisfied and no harm would result to the political propaganda in the Netherlands. But in order to achieve that, strong measures would have to be put into effect to such an extent that nothing remains of the present problems.

Names mentioned in the report:

B.J. Hoekstra : Writer of this report , architect, SS-er, Second Director of 'Nederlandsche Oost Bouw'


    Stubaf. Blaschek (High official visiting D.) Representative of the SS-Wirtschaftsverwaltungshauptamt at the civilian German government in Riga, 'SS-Sturmbannführer' Blaschek. ('SS-Wirtschafter' Blaschek)

    Stand.f. Bachl (High official visiting D.)

    Ustuf. Böttcher (High official visiting D.)

    Obzf. Seveke, temporary 'inzet' leader of Dundangen

    Uschaf. Waldschmidt (leader in Dondangen, for all practical purposes)

    Ostuf. Schön

    Mr. Jansen (H.Jansen? Head wage administration N.O.C.)

    Mr. van Dijk

    Bauführer Bos [G. Bos?]

    Mr. P(ieter) Hoekstra: Director of 'Nederlandsche Oost Bouw'

    (Lagerführer) Mr. van 't Veer

    ("kaufmännisch" leader) Mr. Schuller tot Peursum (Construction company Van Doorn en Schuller to Peursum)

Poperwahlen. (Near Waldemarpils)

    Ustuf. Hemicker [bouwleider = Bauleiter]***

    Wachtmeister Fischer (assistant Bauleiter)

    Mr. Baars, first 'inzet leider'Dundangen, later technical supervisor of Poperwahlen

    Bauführer P. v. Vliet

    Chief cook Sommer, Lagerführer

Vainode (60 km. S.E. of Liepaja)

    Wachtmeister Walters, the Bauleiter

    [inzet] leader, Mr. v.d. Weerd

    Bauführer Mr. de Coninck,

    Mr. Weynand

    Chief-cook Horst , Lagerführer


    Ustuf. Bröking (Also mentioned in H. de Groots's book)

    Ostuf. Schulz

    Wachtmeister Walden

    [inzet] leader Mr. v.d. Boogert (also supervision over Riga)

    Foreman van Meurs, Lagerführer, wages administrator etc.


    Bauleitung, Ostuf. Schulz (comes from Vaivara, was sacked there for alcohol abuse)

    Lagerführer Rollema (Also mentioned in H. de Graaf's book)

Vaivara: Near Jurmala


One of the ships belonging to the "Nederlandsche Oost Rederij", a branch of the N.O.C. They started out with a fleet of six small coasters and later a few bigger "KNSM"" ships, the "Vesta" and the "Orion" were added to this fleet.

[David Barnouw: Rost van Tonningen, Fout tot het bittere eind.]


German SD and other authorities in Liepaja

    ? p.289. Walter Schultz, SD. Driver and examining magistrate.

    p. 153 The Security Police and the SD of Latvia Departments

    Dept V. Criminal Police

    ? BdS Ostland: Bachl

German and Latvian SD in Latvia

Einsatzgruppe A Members in Latvia

    p. 381

    ? Fischer, Leopold, Ustuf. EK 2

    ? Fischer, Arthur, Reserve Police, Batallion 9

    p. 241, 242

    *Ernst Hemicker, SS-Untersturmführer, a construction specialist, organised the digging of the pits at Rumbula. (30 Nov. and 8 Dec. 1941)

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