Province of Utrecht selects photo of Uzbeks

The only photo of the 101 Uzbeks in Kamp Amersfoort is among the 25 most engaging images of the Second World War in the province of Utrecht. This was made known last night.

A provincial study group selected the photograph from all Utrecht pictures of World War II. The public chose the photo last night as one of the most appealing.

The image vies for a spot among the most engaging 100 war photos of all of The Netherlands. The shortlist will be published on March 30.

The 100 nationwide chosen pictures will be part of an exhibition in the Second Chamber (House of Representatives) of the Dutch parliament. The ones selected in Utrecht will be shown throughout the province.

Recorded are two Soviet soldiers in Kamp Amersfoort. They are poorly dressed and apathetic. Not yet realising that they will die in Amersfoort.

The two belong to a group of 101 Soviet soldiers who because of their Asiatic looks have been shipped to The Netherlands to serve as live propaganda material. The occupying forces present them as sub-humans. The message being that the Dutch had better side with the Germans in the fight against the Soviet Union.

The Soviet soldiers are being seen as animals and treated as such. Camp doctor Van Nieuwenhuijsen, before the war a respected surgeon and member of the city council, has two skulls boiled down and placed on his desk as an interesting study object. He also – without local anaesthesia and on purpose – pulls the wrong molar should a Russian with toothache be brave enough to show up in his surgery.

Within six months 24 prisoners-of-war die of starvation, illness and abuse. The remaining 77 Soviet soldiers are shot on 9 April by the Germans.

The 101 unknown Soviet soldiers lie buried in the Soviet Military Cemetery at the Dodeweg. “Despite research for many years their identity has always eluded us”, says Remco Reiding, director of the Soviet Military Cemetery Foundation. “Hardly anything is known about them. This photo is the only tangible proof of their existence and that makes it so poignant and important.”