Claiming threats of violence by Jews, Dutch Holocaust museum nixes event about Syrian refugees


AMSTERDAM (JTA) — Citing threats of violence, including by Dutch Jews, a local Holocaust museum canceled an event devoted to raising awareness of the plight of Syrian refugees.

Jewish groups and activists have protested the June event, titled “Night of the Refugee,” as inappropriate in that it draws parallels between the systemic genocide against the Jews and the situation facing some immigrants today.

Museum director Dirk Mulder defended the event, recalling how the Westerbork complex was built by the Dutch government for Jewish refugees from Germany before the Nazis turned the compound into a concentration camp.

Mulder announced the cancellation of the event on Monday.

The Dagblad van Het Noorden quoted Mulder in an interview as saying that the threats over the event came from anti-immigrant activists and the Jewish community. RTV Drenthe quoted him as saying: “The threats came from two places: People who are strongly opposed to refugees and on the other hand you have the Jewish circle.”

On Twitter, Hidde J. van Koningsveld, who heads the CiJo pro-Israel group, denied making such threats, and called on Mulder to prove the claim or withdraw it. RTV Drenthe removed the allegation from some of its reports.

Threats and violence by Dutch Jews are extremely rare.

The canceled event would have featured a march starting at Westerbork, where most Dutch Jews murdered in the Holocaust were kept before they were sent to death camps in Eastern Europe.

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