Schiphol Fire

8 May


Schiphol Burning October 2005

In a special prison, near the airport Schiphol, illegal aliens were detained without trial. A place where dreams die, where misery begins, and where there is no rule of law.

On the 26th of October 2005, 11 young persons died a horrible, avoidable, death. Notwithstanding the reports and many warnings that were issued by safety experts on the fire-safety of the building (already in 2004), the ministers Verdonk and Donner did nothing to better the safety conditions.

The police and the elite border- and military police (=Marechaussee), were not concerned with saving the eleven; they took their weapons and riot-shields and drove the still suffocating prisoners to another room. Police helicopters searched the area for survivors who might have fled the burning buildings. Instead of putting on their riot gas masks and going in to open the closed cell doors and saving lives, the Police chose to pull their weapons and use their riot shields to round up the wounded prisoners.

Over a 100 survivors, some in shock, and some with signs of smoke poisoning, had to spent that cold night of the 27th of October, in an open cage, hand-cuffed to another prisoner, surrounded by riot-police in full gear, and from a distance they could see how the bodies were being removed from the building.

They had to spend the night out in the cold, without a toilet, without food, without water. Some were dressed only in their underwear, as they were sleeping when the fire started. During the night the cage door was opened and some blankets were thrown in the cage. In the morning the prisoners were transported toRotterdam, and locked up in a jail boat. They didn’t receive medical attention. They had to take of their clothes as the police checked their anus, vagina, to be sure that they did not have weapons on them.

One of many humiliations they had to undergo. But still no medical care !

Because of lack of space, a number of survivors were forced to stay in the isolation cell for weeks. The only crime committed by the prisoners in the Schiphol Burning, was that they did not have the legal documents you need to stay in the Netherlands.

Painting made by Corina Karstenberg ©


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