Hundreds of people at the Holocaust memorial in Amsterdam
With a silent march and a meeting where the public could attend again after two years of corona measures, the Holocaust was commemorated on Sunday at the Spiegelmonument ‘Never Again Auschwitz’ in Amsterdam. This week marks the 78th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration and extermination camp, the international symbol of the Holocaust.
Hundreds of people came to the Wertheimpark for the fun. Earlier, the organizer, the Dutch Auschwitz Committee, called on people to come in large numbers, “as a signal against the rising anti-Semitism”. There were speeches by a survivor, Joop van der Starre, and there was music. Prime Minister Mark Rutte and State Secretary Maarten van Ooijen (VWS) laid a wreath at the monument, as did the presidents of the Senate and House of Representatives, Jan Anthonie Bruijn and Vera Bergkamp.
One of the speakers at the annual National Holocaust Remembrance Day was Jacques Grishaver, the chairman of the Dutch Auschwitz Committee. “In recent years, my gloom has increased. Jew-hatred resurfaces, and racism and intolerance are on the rise. It is to make you sad.” He also referred to certain conspiracy theories and to the racist expressions that appeared on the Erasmus Bridge in Rotterdam during New Year’s Eve. “I am very shocked by that, and I condemn that in the possible explanations.”
The Dutch Auschwitz Committee advocates compulsory reduction of the Holocaust in secondary schools, according to Grishaver. “Knowledge transfer and learning from the past are essential for a well-functioning, open and compassionate society where there is no room for exclusion and anti-Semitism. It is urgent that more attention is paid to this.”
Speech mayor Halsema
Amsterdam mayor Femke Halsema said that 78 years after the liberation from anti-Semitism can be seen more often. “Sometimes directly in violence, in criticism, in chants. Sometimes hidden in ugly conspiracy theories, intended to fuel hatred. It is indigestible.” This year, the mayor will visit Auschwitz, “together with partners from the Jewish community and young Amsterdammers”, she says.
In her speech, she went on to say that the capital owes “its prosperity, prosperity, culture and identity” to the Jewish community. “The attempt to remove it deeply affects Amsterdam. Being an Amsterdammer is not possible without facing our deeper past, in addition to many beautiful things and much to be proud of.”
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