After the Kristallnacht in the night of 9 to 10 November 1938, many Jews wanted to leave Germany as quickly as possible. However, there were few countries that let Jewish refugees in. Around 10,000 Jewish refugees found shelter in the Netherlands.
The Dutch government wanted one camp for refugees to be founded, which is the reason why Central Refugee Camp Westerbork was built in 1939. The Jewish communities had to pay for the construction of the camp. On 9 October 1939, the first 22 refugees arrived in Camp Westerbork. By the end of April 1940, 749 Jewish refugees lived there.