Holland's Holocaust 'Homes' Spreads to 8 Cities

Project Invites Visitors Into Houses of 100K Deported Jews

getty images

By JTA

Published April 25, 2014.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Two years after its inception in Amsterdam, a project that invites visitors to homes that once belonged to Jewish Holocaust victims has spread to eight Dutch cities.

The 2014 Open Jewish Houses initiative is scheduled to be held on May 3-5, the 69th anniversary of the liberation of The Netherlands from Nazi occupation, and will encompass dozens of buildings in the Dutch capital as well as Rotterdam, The Hague, Haarlem and four other cities, the news site museumkijker.nl reported earlier this month.

Organized by Jewish Historical Museum and several partner organizations, the project makes it possible for visitors to enter some of the homes of approximately 104,000 Dutch Jews who were murdered during the Holocaust, 75 percent of the country’s entire Jewish population. Some houses will feature lectures by survivors who lived in the homes before the Nazi invasion in 1940.

“This extraordinary initiative has generated a lot of interest, including among young people,” said Ronny Naftaniel, co-founder of Jewish Heritage in The Hague, or Joods Ergoed Den Haag, a not-for-profit organization which last year brought the project to The Hague for the first time.

“The curiosity stems from people’s realization of just how significant the Jewish contribution has been to the cultural life in the Netherlands,” he told JTA.

People who open their houses to the general public, Naftaniel said, “do it mostly out of respect for the victims.” Some residents of open houses during May 3-5 hang posters on their front doors with the names of the Jews who once lived in the homes and the words: “Never forget.” Visitors can choose which open house to visit on the initiative’s official website, www.openjoodsehuizen.nl, and its smartphone application.

Separately, the municipality of Utrecht okayed the erection of a monument to Holocaust survivors near the city’s railway’s museum, despite the museum’s objection.

Designed by the artist Amiran Djanashvili, the monument will consist of a steel memorial wall engraved with the names of the city’s 1,224 Holocaust victims and a large shofar.

Museum Director Paul Vlijmen objected to local activists’ plan to erect monument because he thought the museum devoted sufficient attention to the deportation of Jews to concentration camps.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Law professor Dan Markel waited a shocking 19 minutes for an ambulance as he lay dying after being ambushed in his driveway. Read the stunning 911 transcript as neighbor pleaded for help.
  • Happy birthday to the Boy Who Lived! July 31 marks the day that Harry Potter — and his creator, J.K. Rowling — first entered the world. Harry is a loyal Gryffindorian, a matchless wizard, a native Parseltongue speaker, and…a Jew?
  • "Orwell would side with Israel for building a flourishing democracy, rather than Hamas, which imposed a floundering dictatorship. He would applaud the IDF, which warns civilians before bombing them in a justified war, not Hamas terrorists who cower behind their own civilians, target neighboring civilians, and planned to swarm civilian settlements on the Jewish New Year." Read Gil Troy's response to Daniel May's opinion piece:
  • "My dear Penelope, when you accuse Israel of committing 'genocide,' do you actually know what you are talking about?"
  • What's for #Shabbat dinner? Try Molly Yeh's coconut quinoa with dates and nuts. Recipe here:
  • Can animals suffer from PTSD?
  • Is anti-Zionism the new anti-Semitism?
  • "I thought I was the only Jew on a Harley Davidson, but I was wrong." — Gil Paul, member of the Hillel's Angels. http://jd.fo/g4cjH
  • “This is a dangerous region, even for people who don’t live there and say, merely express the mildest of concern about the humanitarian tragedy of civilians who have nothing to do with the warring factions, only to catch a rash of *** (bleeped) from everyone who went to your bar mitzvah! Statute of limitations! Look, a $50 savings bond does not buy you a lifetime of criticism.”
  • That sound you hear? That's your childhood going up in smoke.
  • "My husband has been offered a terrific new job in a decent-sized Midwestern city. This is mostly great, except for the fact that we will have to leave our beloved NYC, where one can feel Jewish without trying very hard. He is half-Jewish and was raised with a fair amount of Judaism and respect for our tradition though ultimately he doesn’t feel Jewish in that Larry David sort of way like I do. So, he thinks I am nuts for hesitating to move to this new essentially Jew-less city. Oh, did I mention I am pregnant? Seesaw, this concern of mine is real, right? There is something to being surrounded by Jews, no? What should we do?"
  • "Orwell described the cliches of politics as 'packets of aspirin ready at the elbow.' Israel's 'right to defense' is a harder narcotic."
  • From Gene Simmons to Pink — Meet the Jews who rock:
  • The images, which have since been deleted, were captioned: “Israel is the last frontier of the free world."
  • As J Street backs Israel's operation in Gaza, does it risk losing grassroots support?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.