AMSTERDAM (Jan. 29)
Holocaust-denial should be outlawed in all member states of the European Union, Dutch activists have appealed.
The call was issued here this week during commemoration ceremonies marking the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp on Jan. 27, 1945.
The Netherlands, which holds the rotating presidency of the European Union until July, should use its position to get the E.U. member states to endorse laws punishing the propagation of the so-called “Auschwitz lie,” said Anita Lowenhardt, who chairs the Dutch Auschwitz Committee.
Hedy d’Ancona, a Dutch member of the European Parliament, the European Union’s legislative arm, several years ago initiated a resolution to outlaw Holocaust denial among all the E.U. member states.
Since then, Germany has adopted legislation making Holocaust denial a punishable crime. No other E.U. nation has taken action on the issue. In Holland, Holocaust denial was already punishable under the country’s existing statutes.
Some 500 people attended this week’s Auschwitz commemoration, which first took place in 1952. It has been an annual event in Holland since 1957.
This year’s ceremonies — Amsterdam Mayor Schelto Patijn was among the speakers — also marked the 40th anniversary of the Dutch Auschwitz Committee.
Over the years, the committee has earned a reputation as a staunch opponent of discrimination and anti-Semitism.
Although the commemoration is not an official national event, the minister of health, E. Borst-Eilers, took part in the ceremonies as a representative of the Dutch government.
The commemoration took place at a small memorial here that bears the inscription, “Never Again Auschwitz.”
The memorial consists of broken mirrors that give a distorted reflection of the skies, signifying that “since Auschwitz, the heavens are broken.”