Dutch teen who praised Holocaust must take anti-Semitism classes

THE HAGUE (JTA) — A Dutch teenager of Turkish descent who said he was “glad about what Adolf Hitler did to Jews” was sentenced to mandatory classes on anti-Semitism.

The 15-year-old from Arnhem will have to “undergo mandatory educational activity” at nongovernmental organizations fighting racism and anti-Semitism, a spokesperson for the Dutch Justice Ministry told reporters on Friday. The boy, who made the statements in a filmed interview in February, was not named.

The Dutch Jewish community’s watchdog on anti-Semitism deemed the sentence too lenient. The Center for Information and Documentation on Israel, a Hague-based organization, filed a complaint with the ministry over its handling of the case, which CIDI termed “unsatisfactory.”

The teen “clearly already has some knowledge of the Holocaust,” CIDI said in a statement released Saturday, and the ministry’s “mild attitude sends the wrong message and creates an unacceptable precedent.”

In the interview, the teen also said he hated Jews. The interview with him and several other boys who made similar statements was broadcast nationally. Afterward, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and other politicians promised to address anti-Semitism and to teach about it in schools.

The interviewer, Mehmet Sahin, is a researcher at Amsterdam’s Vrije Universiteit who left his home in Arnhem for several days last month amid threats and at the advice of the city’s mayor, Pauline Krikke.

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