The Oranjehotel was the nickname for the Scheveningen prison during the Second World War. Here, the Germans detained over 25,000 people for interrogation and prosecution. A diverse group from all corners of the Netherlands had broken German laws: mostly resistance fighters, but also Jews and Jehova’s Witnesses, as well as people who were detained due to an economic misdemeanour, like black market traders. Already during the war, the complex was called ‘Oranjehotel’. It was an ode to the resistance fighters who were locked up there.
Among the prisoners in the Oranjehotel were well-known people like the ‘Soldaat van Oranje’ (‘Soldier of Orange’) Erik Hazelhoff Roelfzema, Rudolph Cleveringa, Titus Brandsma, George Maduro, Pim Boellaard, Henri Pieck, Heinz Polzer (Drs. P.) and Corrie ten Boom, but also countless others. Some were released, others were deported to other prisons or camps or executed on the nearby Waalsdorpervlakte.
Until 2009, the cell barracks were used as a prison and therefore not accessible. After years of restoration and refurbishment, the Oranjehotel was opened in September 2019 as a Remembrance Center by King Willem-Alexander. In the National Monument Oranjehotel you can now hear stories about fear, hope, faith and patriotism and see under which circumstances the prisoners had to live here. We show how vulnerable freedom is and what choices people make when rightlessness, oppression and persecution grip society.
Voor veel gevangenen was het verblijf in het Oranjehotel het begin van een vaak lange route naar andere gevangenissen of kampen in Nederland of Duitsland. Vaak zijn alleen tussen- of eindstations bekend. In een digitaal Namenmonument zullen straks zoveel mogelijk namen genoemd worden. Op die manier willen we alle slachtoffers erkennen en herdenken, ongeacht de reden van arrestatie, het vervolg of de duur van verblijf. Elke gevangene krijgt zijn of haar plek en wordt daarmee erkend als slachtoffer van de bezetting.