AMSTERDAM (JTA) — The Dutch Red Cross offered its “deep apologies” for failing to act to protect Jews during World War II following the publication of a research paper on its inaction.
“The war years are undoubtedly a black stain on the pages of our 150-year history,” Inge Brakman, the Dutch Red Cross’ chairwoman, told the De Telegraaf daily Wednesday. There was a “lack of courage” on the part of the organization during the Nazi occupation of The Netherlands, she said.
“We have offered our deep apologies to the victims and their relatives,” she said, adding that the organization “acknowledges the mistakes made during and after the war.” The Dutch Red Cross has apologized for its inaction on behalf of Jews in the past.
In a study commissioned by the Dutch Red Cross, the Amsterdam-based NIOD Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies found there was “a serious shortfall in the help given to persecuted Jews in The Netherlands.”
Of about 140,000 Jews known to have lived in the country at the start of the Second World War, only about 30,000 survived. A total of 107,000 were interned in Camp Westerbork, in the north-east of the country, before being transported to Nazi concentration camps in other countries.