AMSTERDAM (JTA) — An anti-Islam group in the Netherlands announced plans for a march on the anniversary of a famed anti-Nazi protest.
The Feb. 25 march by Pegida is scheduled to take place in Amsterdam on the 77th anniversary of the so-called February Strike — a rare act of disobedience under the Nazi occupation called by the then illegal Dutch Communist Party. Amsterdam dockworkers went on strike in solidarity with 425 Jews arrested by the Germans and deported to Austria’s Mauthausen concentration camp.
Reinier van Dantzig, who heads the liberal Democrats 66 party’s faction on the Amsterdam City Council, called on the organizers to find an alternative date.
“Darn it, why on that day?” van Dantzig wrote on Twitter. “The right to demonstrate happens to be sacrosanct in Amsterdam, even for these xenophobes, but pick another date when Amsterdam does not commemorate those who fought for tolerance during World War II.”
The Dutch branch of Pegida, a Europe-wide protest movement against immigration to the continent from Muslim countries, did not say whether it chose the date because of its historical significance, according to the Het Parool daily’s report.
Last month, van Dantzig himself came under criticism on social media after he blamed President Donald Trump for an attack on a kosher restaurant in Amsterdam by a 29-year-old Syrian who was waving a Palestinian flag while he smashed the eatery’s windows. It was one day after Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Dantzig’s critics accused him of justifying an anti-Semitic assault.
The World War II-era strike, possibly the largest show of public disobedience over the fate of the Jews in Nazi-occupied Europe, spread from the tram company to other municipal departments, as well as shipyards in the city’s north, the Hollandia-Kattenburg textile company and the De Bijenkorf chain of department stores.
Following the roundup on Feb. 22-23, the Dutch resistance movement published a pamphlet that read “Strike! Strike! Strike! Drop Amsterdam’s entire industrial life for one day: The factories, the workshops, the ateliers, offices, banks, municipal units and workforce!”
The strike broadened the following days to include five other municipalities.