The national committee which organises the annual Remembrance Day commemorations on Thursday called for an end to disputes which threaten to spoil the evening’s ceremonies.
The committee said it hoped the discussions will be replaced by a spirit of togetherness in remembering the dead in Amsterdam and at hundreds of other locations nationwide.
While there have always been differences of opinion about Remembrance Day, the common goal of ‘never again’ has allowed people to work together for the future, the committee said in a website statement.
‘By remembering all Dutch war victims, today, May 4 and tomorrow on May 5, we are taking joint responsibility for the future,’ the statement said.
Meanwhile, a court in Zutphen has given Jewish organisations and the town council in Vorden until 16.00 hours to end their dispute over 10 German war graves.
Jewish organisation Federatie Joods Nederland went to court earlier on Friday in an effort to stop the inclusion of 10 German soldiers in tonight’s Remembrance Day commemorations in the eastern town.
The local May 4 committee decided to allow people to remember the dead German soldiers during the evening ceremony because ’67 years after World War II the time is ripe’.
The German soldiers could have been victims like so many others because they were often forced to join up, committee chairman Bart Hartelman said.
Now Jewish groups are protesting and neo-Nazi groups are using social media websites to call for a large turnout.
Local mayor Henk Aalderink told the Volkskrant no flowers would be laid on the German graves. ‘Perhaps we should have made it clearer this is about reconciliation, not remembering Nazis,’ he said.
Last week, the organisers of the Amsterdam ceremony dropped a poetry reading by a 15-year-old boy after protests from Jewish groups who objected to the subject matter – the boy’s uncle who joined the SS.
The Amsterdam ceremony includes the laying of wreaths by queen Beatrix and other officials. The official two-minutes silence takes place at 20.00 hours.
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