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Westerbork Camp

In the Second World War, Camp Westerbork in the north of the Netherlands was where all Jews and Roma/Sinti living in the Netherlands were brought. The illusion of a normal daily life was carefully preserved to prevent any unrest, which is why there were ample opportunities for leisure and entertainment. 

Culture as a Diversionary Tactic
Life at Camp Westerbork was built on hope - hope for a better future, a positive outcome, and survival. The illusion of normal daily life was meticulously maintained to avoid unrest; as a result, recreation and amusement were given top priority.
 
Classical Music
On November 25, 1940, the Westerbork camp commanders established a symphony orchestra called the Gruppe Musik Lager Westerbork [“Camp Westerbork Music Group”], largely made up of members of the Concertgebouw Orchestra in Amsterdam. Nearly half of that orchestra’s players were incarcerated in the camp. 
 
A Revue to Distract the Senses
Both the revue and the cabaret were meant to provide the prisoners at Westerbork with a distraction. There was a variety show every Tuesday night in the camp, and time after time, the show would be sold out. It was the camp commandant Gemmeker who had deliberately chosen Tuesday nights. From March 1943 up through September 1944, deportations to the extermination camps in the east would take place almost every Tuesday morning.