AMSTERDAM (Nov. 19)
After a 15-hour debate last Thursday, lasting until after midnight and fully broadcast on television, the “Aantjes affair,” involving prominent Dutch Parliamentarian Willem Aantjes, 55, who was found 10 days earlier to have as a young man been a Nazi, the lower chamber of Parliament decided that a committee of experts responsible to Parliament will be established to investigate Aantjes’ past in greater detail.
The Netherlands State Institute for War Documentation, “Riod,” after having been alerted by two persons independently on Oct. 26 and Oct. 27, disclosed Nov. 6 at a press conference broadcast on television that Aantjes. who had been Parliamentary chairman of the Christian Democratic Party, had a Nazi past. On the next day Aantjes resigned from Parliament. He had never disclosed that he had a Nazi past. Several speakers in the debate reproached the government for having acted “carelessly” in the affair.
Riod is the official government institute under the responsibility of the Ministry of Education, but its director, Prof. Louis de Jong, has so far had a very large degree of independence. Minister of Education Arie Pais defended de Jong in the debate but has now forbidden him, pending the investigation, to make any more public statements in the matter.
Pais, who is of Jewish origin, ended his reply to the debate, after referring to his Jewish origin, by calling Aantjes “a politician whom I have always highly respected, though he does not belong to the same political party as I do. ” It was noted that during the nearly 20 years that Aantjes has been a Parliamentarian, he has shown himself to be a friend of the Jews and of the State of Israel.