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!
  • The Workmen's Circle is hosting New York’s first Jewish street fair on Sunday. Bring on the nouveau deli!
  • Novelist Sayed Kashua finds it hard to write about the heartbreak of Gaza from the plush confines of Debra Winger's Manhattan pad. Tough to argue with that, whichever side of the conflict you are on.
  • "I’ve never bought illegal drugs, but I imagine a small-time drug deal to feel a bit like buying hummus underground in Brooklyn."
  • We try to show things that get less exposed to the public here. We don’t look to document things that are nice or that people would like. We don’t try to show this place as a beautiful place.”
  • A new Gallup poll shows that only 25% of Americans under 35 support the war in #Gaza. Does this statistic worry you?
  • “You will stomp us into the dirt,” is how her mother responded to Anya Ulinich’s new tragicomic graphic novel. Paul Berger has a more open view of ‘Lena Finkle’s Magic Barrel." What do you think?
  • PHOTOS: Hundreds of protesters marched through lower Manhattan yesterday demanding an end to American support for Israel’s operation in #Gaza.
  • Does #Hamas have to lose for there to be peace? Read the latest analysis by J.J. Goldberg.
  • This is what the rockets over Israel and Gaza look like from space:
  • "Israel should not let captives languish or corpses rot. It should do everything in its power to recover people and bodies. Jewish law places a premium on pidyon shvuyim, “the redemption of captives,” and proper burial. But not when the price will lead to more death and more kidnappings." Do you agree?
  • Slate.com's Allison Benedikt wrote that Taglit-Birthright Israel is partly to blame for the death of American IDF volunteer Max Steinberg. This is why she's wrong:
  • Israeli soldiers want you to buy them socks. And snacks. And backpacks. And underwear. And pizza. So claim dozens of fundraising campaigns launched by American Jewish and Israeli charities since the start of the current wave of crisis and conflict in Israel and Gaza.
  • The sign reads: “Dogs are allowed in this establishment but Zionists are not under any circumstances.”
  • Is Twitter Israel's new worst enemy?
  • More than 50 former Israeli soldiers have refused to serve in the current ground operation in #Gaza.
  • 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.