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Barracks 1B symbolises the lives of many thousands of people. Camp prisoners, German civilian evacuees, alleged collaborators, Moluccan KNIL soldiers: no one came here of their own accord. Old elements of the barracks were preserved during the restoration work. Many people who were involved in this story, both during and after the war, have shared their memories and objects.
Throughout the Netherlands, alleged collaborators were rounded up in the wake of liberation, which began as early as 1944 in the south of the Netherlands. Camp Vught’s empty barracks became populated with new ‘residents’. Vught would grow to become the largest internment camp in the south of the Netherlands. The ‘armed guards’ (mostly SS members) were accommodated in special barracks with extra bars at the windows.
After the Allies had liberated the south of the Netherlands, German civilians who had lived in the border region between Nijmegen and Kleve found themselves on the frontline. They had to abandon their homes and were housed in Camp Vught; they had no idea for how long. Paul Vallen (1935, photo) was one of the 6,000 civilian evacuees. He was not able to return home until May 1945. His story is told in Barracks 1B too.
After the Decolonisation War in the Dutch East Indies, some 12,500 Moluccans began arriving in the Netherlands by boat from March 1951 onwards. A large part of the camp in Vught became Woonoord Lunetten, intended as temporary living quarters for 3,000 Moluccan KNIL military personnel and their families. Apart from Barracks 1, the barracks were demolished in 1992 and a new housing estate was built. Over 200 Moluccans live there nowadays, some of whom have lived here since 1951.
Start your visit in the main building (Lunettenlaan 600). You can then visit Barack 1B (Atlantis 1B, a side street off Lunettenlaan about 500 metres away). Please note that the opening hours of Barracks 1B vary.