AMSTERDAM (May. 10)
The Dutch honored their war dead in Memorial Day ceremonies last week that included a warning against Holocaust revisionism and the unveiling of a controversial monument to the Jews and other inmates of the Westerbork transit camp, a way station to Auschwitz.
Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands and her consort, Prince Claus, attended the main event May 4 in the center of Amsterdam. The principal speaker was Dutch author Harry Mulish, a local personality of Jewish descent.
Mulish said that although freedom of expression is sacred, denial of the Holocaust is a form of expression that should not be tolerated.
The new monument unveiled at Westerbork in northeastern Holland consists of over 100,000 small red bricks, most of them bearing a Shield of David.
They memorialize more than 100,000 Dutch Jews who passed through Westerbork or died there. Several hundred bricks are in memory of the Gypsies who suffered a similar fate.
The unusual memorial was the initiative of Louis De Wijze, himself a Westerbork survivor, who raised the money by public subscription.
But some members of the Jewish community are critical. They prefer the original monument–which still stands — consisting of two twisted railroad tracks which symbolize the trains that carried deportees to their deaths in Eastern Europe.
Also last week, Yehuda Bauer, a professor of Holocaust studies at Hebrew University, delivered the first annual Raoul Wallenberg lectures in Amsterdam and Utrecht.
He suggested that the best way to counter Holocaust revisionist propaganda is to show television documentaries such as Claude Lanzmann’s “Shoah.”
The lectures honor Wallenberg, the Swedish architect-turned-diplomat credited with saving the lives of thousands of Hungarian Jews in Budapest during the final year of World War II.
Wallenberg was arrested when the Soviet armed forces entered Budapest in January 1945 and has not been heard from since.
They are sponsored by four organizations in Holland dedicated to fighting anti-Semitism and racism: the Anne Frank Foundation; the Center for Information and Documentation on Israel; the Consultative Council of Jews and Christians; and the Countrywide Office for Combating Racism.
Bauer spoke about the denial of the Holocaust by revisionist historians. He said he was appalled, for example, by the publicity given in Britain to David Irving, who had just been fined by a German court for denying the existence of gas chambers during World War II.