Skip to main content
USF Libraries Exhibits

Deception at Westerbork

Philip Gans interview by Dr. Carolyn Ellis

PG: They made you believe that life was normal. A lady gave birth premature, and it looked—even though Westerbork had one of the best hospitals in Holland, they didn’t have an incubator. They looked all over Holland to find an incubator, and when they found one they said to the lady, “See how good care we take of you?” Only six months later, that same lady with the baby was sent to the gas chambers.

But they made you believe that life was—we were going to work in Germany to relieve the Germans so they could fight in the front. Nobody had ever heard of the word concentration camp. And even Sam Schryver, who was in the camp late forty-four [1944], early forty-five [1945], when no more transfers were going to Germany, he says “Phil, we never heard of the word concentration camp.” We knew it—

CE: This was a detention camp, right? Is that what they call it?

PG: Detention camp, yeah. So—yeah, they just made you believe that everything was normal. They had classes for children. They had rabbis. They had everything.

Listen to Philip's entire testimony