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Dutch Rabbi Objects to Nazis in Monument

A Dutch rabbi has demanded that the names of his relatives be removed from a monument which commemorates Jewish Holocaust victims along with German soldiers who died in World War II.

“I don’t want my family members’ names to appear next to the names of German murderers,” Rabbi Wim van Dijk said in a filmed interview concerning the unveiling of the monument, planned for Oct. 20 in Geffen in the eastern Netherlands.

Onno Hoes, chairman of the Hague-based Center for Information and Documentation on Israel – a local watchdog on anti-Semitism – asked the municipality to hold off on unveiling the monument, which he defined as a potentially “dangerous precedent.” It could help “the falsification of history and the blurring of borders between victims and perpetrators,” he said.

Leaders of the Dutch Jewish community arrived on Oct. 18 in Geffen for talks with the mayor, who said he had “underestimated” the issue’s sensitivity. The Central Jewish Board, an umbrella representative, also spoke out against the monument.

Following a public outcry, the national commemoration committee of the Netherlands scrapped a poem from its main annual ceremony in May, which seemed to suggest Nazis deserved to be commemorated along with their victims.

The homage to Dutch Nazis who died in World War II was to be paid in a poem written by the 15-year-old relative of a Dutch SS soldier who died on Germany’s Eastern Front. The Nationaal Comite 4 en 5 Mei had planned to have him read the poem aloud at the main official commemoration ceremony in Amsterdam.

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