Dutch queen who recognized Holocaust complicity abdicating throne

THE HAGUE (JTA) — Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, who 18 years ago recognized the Holocaust-era complicity of some Dutchmen, has abdicated the throne after 33 years.

Beatrix, who will celebrate her 75th birthday on Jan. 31, announced the abdication on Monday in favor of her eldest son, Prince Willem-Alexander.

In 1995, Beatrix made the first official recognition by a Dutch head of state of Holocaust-era complicity by Dutchmen when she said during a speech at the Israeli Knesset that her countrymen who saved Jews during the Holocaust were “exceptions.” Later that year she said in Holland that thinking about the Holocaust should “fill us [with] a deep feeling of shame.”

The next official statement by a Dutch leader on complicity by Dutchmen in the killing of 75 percent of Holland’s Jewry under Nazi occupation came a full decade later in a speech by then-Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende. He described the deportation of most of Dutch Jewry as a “pitch-black” chapter in Dutch history.

Willem-Alexander Claus George Ferdinand, Beatrix’s oldest son and intended king, dedicated Amsterdam’s Jewish Cultural Quarter during an October ceremony at the city’s Portuguese Synagogue. He shall be known as Willem the Fourth after he is made king this year.

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