How were the Jews restricted in Amsterdam in Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl?

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During the occupation of the Netherlands by Nazi Germany during World War II, the Jewish residents of the Netherlands faced a unique set of circumstances, ultimate leading to the reduction of the Amsterdam Jewish population from roughly 150,000 to only 35,000 individuals. This loss of Jewish life was particularly high compared to other nations in Western Europe.

At the outbreak of World War II, the Netherlands was the most densely populated nation in Western Europe. Given this dense urban environment and a lack of rural spaces, the Jews of Amsterdam lacked many of the options Jews in more pastoral areas had to hide from the German forces. The Jews of Amsterdam were also collectively poor, making flight to other nations extremely difficult.

The Jewish population of Amsterdam also faced additional challenges from the government of the Netherlands. When the war began, the Queen and many government officials fled, leaving an intact governmental infrastructure which was quickly assimilated by German occupation forced. Additionally, the non-Jewish population was largely unaware of the fate Jews were facing in the Nazi death camps. As a result, the Germans experienced a large degree of collaboration and found that identifying and concentrating the Jews of Amsterdam was exceptionally easy.

Nazi forces required that all Jews living in the Netherlands have a large "J" stamped on their IDs, and quickly began moving Jews from other parts of the country into Amsterdam. There Jews were barred from many occupations and largely isolated from many aspects of public life, helping to further disengage them from the general population. A refugee camp that the government of the Netherlands had established in the town of Hooghalen to house foreign Jewish refugees fleeing German forces was converted into the concentration camp of Westerbork, and any Jews not concentrated in Amsterdam were instead relocated there before being moved to death camps more centrally located in Europe.

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