To intercept allied bombers, the German Airforce (Luftwaffe) in the occupied Netherlands, required an (back up) airfield in the northern part of the Netherlands.
In 1935, the KLM (Royal Netherlands Airline) already had plans for an airfield in Havelte, in the event Schiphol would become too busy. The German Airforce utilised the plans made by the KLM and in 1942, they started the construction of Flugplatz Steenwijk, as they named the airfield in Havelte.
5800 People worked on the airfield at the height of its construction. They were either working for local building companies or volunteers from the Reichsarbeitsdienst or members of the National-Socialist Party (NSB). Forced labour was also used. Thousands of Jews, prisoners and men who were caught during raids, were forced to work in Havelte.
In December 1944, 800 people from Amsterdam came to Havelte for work: here they received payment and food, where in Amsterdam, they had nothing…