Prime minister of Holland apologizes for nation’s role in wartime persecution of Jews

January 28, 2020 by JNS
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Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte on Sunday became the first Dutch leader to officially apologize for his country’s role in the Holocaust.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte speaks at the 2013 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on Jan. 24, 2013. Photo: Monika Flueckiger/World Economic Forum via Wikimedia Commons.

Speaking at an event in Amsterdam to mark the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp, Rutte said the Dutch did not do enough to prevent the persecution of Jews.

“With the last remaining survivors among us, I apologize on behalf of the government for the actions of the government at the time,” said Rutte, according to a Reuters report.

“I do so, realizing that no words can describe something as enormous and awful as the Holocaust,” he added.

While past Dutch governments have made apologies for the way Jewish survivors were treated after returning to the country from concentration camps, none went so far as to apologize for the country’s role in the Nazi persecution of the Jews, the report said, adding that 102,000 Jews murdered in the Holocaust came from the Netherlands.

Rutte said that many Dutch people and government institutions had followed German orders.

“In all, we did too little. Not enough protection, not enough help, not enough recognition,” he said.

Separately, French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner reported on Sunday that anti-Semitic acts in France increased last year by 27 per cent, according to AP.

There were a total of 687 anti-Semitic acts recorded in 2019 in France compared to 541 the previous year, with 151 categorized as “most severe,” meaning attacks against people and property.


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