Remembrance Day should only focus on World War II: Jewish groups

The Remembrance Day commemorations on May 4 should focus only on the victims of World War II, including 102,000 Jewish Dutch nationals, according to the head of a Jewish social work group in Wednesday’s Volkskrant.

Hans Vuijsje says the Jewish community has been deeply hurt by expanding the Remembrance Day event to cover soldiers who died in conflicts post 1945.

Until 1961, the ceremony focused on World War II victims but was then expanded to cover people who died in the Dutch-Indonesia conflict and on peacekeeping missions in Lebanon, Bosnia and Afghanistan.

In his essay, Vuijsje says the expansion of the scope of the ceremony coincides with rising anti-semitism. He also refers to the fact that a greater proportion of the Dutch Jewish community died in concentration camps than in any other country.


Last year, a poem by a 15-year-old Dutch boy about his uncle who joined the SS was dropped from the  Remembrance Day commemorations following boycott threats from several organisations.

Last year as well, Jewish lobby group Federatie Joods Nederland launched a campaign to ensure German solders are not remembered at the annual Remembrance Day commemorations

The organisation argues that acknowledging the German war dead would be an ‘injustice to all victims, both alive and dead’.

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