Oranjehotel 1940 – 1945
“Oranjehotel” was the popular name for a part of the prison in Scheveningen (near The Hague), in use by the Germans during the Second World War. The Oranjehotel consisted of seven rows of cells in the barrack along the Van Alkemadelaan. Throughout the war, about 25.000 resistance fighters and other Dutch people who resisted the German occupation in any way were enprisoned here, while their case was treated by the Nazi courts of justice. After the German judges would come to a conviction, the prisoners were either liberated or sent to German concentration camps or executed at the nearby Waalsdorpervlakte. The 215 prisoners that were executed spent their last days in the death cells in the middle row of cells, the D-row. Early in the morning they would leave the prison to a small gate (het Poortje) to be brought to the Waalsdorpervlakte for execution. An estimated 25.000 people, from all parts of the Netherlands, were at one moment in time imprisoned in the Oranjehotel.
A short film, in English, with background information and interviews with two sons of former prisoners can be seen at this link.
Translations: Alexine Jansen – Mulock Houwer
The annual Commemoration of the Oranjehotel will this year take place on Saturday September 26. The Remembrance Address will be delivered by dr. G.J.M. Corstens, former president of the Dutch High Court.
If you wish to attend, you can request tickets by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. The tickets are free, but a contribution to costs made would be highly appreciated. A filmed impression of a previous commemoration can be found under this link.
The 2014 Remembrance Address was held by drs. Martin van Rijn, State Secretary for Health, Welfare and Sport. The text can be found under this link.
Visit Death Cell 601
Once per month there is the opportunity, for those interested, to visit Death Cell 601 in the Oranjehotel. As the cells are not used for imprisonment any more, it is now possible to organise these visits in close collaboration with the Penitentiary Institution Haaglanden. The next possibility to visit Death Cell 601 will be Wednesday August 26, between 2 and 4 pm. If you are interested to visit the Cell that day, please let us know four days in advance by sending an email to email@example.com. Please state in your email the names of each visitor and their passport, ID or driver’s license number and whether you would like us to reserve a parking space or provide wheel chair assistance. Further information about the visit will then be sent to you by email. We hope you understand that the number of visitors for afternoon visits is limited. Photo’s made by a former visitor are published on PhotoImpressions.nl.
Note that the information will be in Dutch, but on request visits in English, German, French, Italian or Russian can be organised.
Video clip about a prisoner of the Oranjehotel
The Canadian band Hollerado made a song and a video entitled So it goes, in which the story is told about the singer’s grandfather, a prisoner in the Oranjehotel.In 2013 the grandson meets with a grandson of one of the German guards: a very special story about people in the Oranjehotel. The video was partially recorded in Death Cell 601. To state it correctly: no music was recorded in the Death Cell, the musicians were play-backing. You can watch the video clip on Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6R9yW4QxSfQ.
Parliamentary resolution to keep the Oranjehotel War Monument
On Thursday, 6th of June 2013, mrs L. Helder (PVV) filed the following resolution in the Dutch Parliament::
having considered the deliberation,
having concluded that the conservation of the War Monument “Oranjehotel” in Scheveningen,is of great importance to the Netherlands,
requests the government to conserve the entire War Monument “Oranjehotel”,
and moves on with the order of the day.
The resolution was accepted with full consensus on Tuesday the 11th of June 2013.
The Oranjehotel consists of four monuments.
One of the death cells, Doodencel 601, has been maintained in its authentic state, including the furnishing and the inscriptions of hope, faith and despair that prisoners encarved in the walls.
The small gate in the outside wall, het Poortje, can still be seen from the Van Alkemadelaan. It is always closed, except during the annual commemoration on the last Saturday in September, when former prisoners and other participants enter the premises through it.
On the outside wall a plaque with the text Zij waren eensgezind, They were unanimous, was installed in 1950 to express the determination and common goal of the resistance fighters in the prison.
A fourth monument consists of four Doodenboeken, Books of the Dead. These contain the names and short biography of 734 former prisoners who eventually died during the war. These books are kept by the National Archive and can be seen online at a site of the National Archive.
Every year at the last Saturday of September about 400 people attend the annual Commemoration of the Oranjehotel. At this occasion also the Dutch Government, the Parliament, the City of The Hague and the Provence of Zuid-Holland are represented, as well as many associations of former war victims. After the ceremony, the participants silently pay tribute at Doodencel 601. There is also opportunity to visit the monument at the nearby Waalsdorpervlakte.
In 2014 the Commemoration will be held on Saturday September 27; the commemoration speaker will be announced in February. If you are interested in attending the Commemoration, please contact the Stichting Oranjehotel at firstname.lastname@example.org. Participation is free, but a contribution to the costs is appreciated.
The Dutch government has decided to close the Cellenbarakken, the part of the Scheveningen prison where the Oranjehotel is. This implies a new future for the Monument. In 2009 the Minister of Justice has officially declared that the Monument will be retained, and at present a plan is in development to realise a renewed monument that is, contrary to the situation in the past decades, accessible to the audience.