Dutch businessman riles neighbors with new plan for ‘Holocaust-themed’ gate

THE HAGUE (JTA) — Neighbors of a Dutch businessman are threatening to sue him if he erects a gate that they say has a Nazi theme.

The television station RTV last week showed footage of the foundation for the gate at the estate of Jack Bakker, a businessman and art collector, and his lawyer confirmed plans to erect a new design of the gate in the municipality of Zandvoort.

Last year the municipality said it would prevent the construction of an early design of the gate following protests by CIDI, the Dutch watchdog on anti-Semitism. The municipality said it would not authorize construction because it violated building regulations.

The early design by the Belgian designer Job Smeets featured two smoking chimneys that function as pillars and barbed wire — an apparent reference to Nazi crematoria — and included a translation of the German writing on the gates of Buchenwald: Jedem das Seine (“to each his own”).

“We thought that, fortunately, it was over but now it again seems like this gate is being built,” Wim Post, a neighbor of Bakker, told the RTV crew. “In a museum, people chose whether to see it, but we are confronted with it and we don’t want it.”

Eefje van Bommel, Bakker’s lawyer, told the Dutch daily that the Buchenwald text never made into the final design.

“The gate is being branded for no reasons,” she said, adding that the municipality’s decision not to authorize the gate violated her client’s rights.

Bakker told the Dutch paper Haarlems Dagblad this month through his lawyer of his plans to build the gate, the Dutch daily reported.

His original  plans became known last year when he hired Smeets to work on the gate.

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