Dutch law covering the ban on racism and discrimination is to be expanded to specifically cover denying the Holocaust and other war crimes have taken place, the caretaker cabinet has decided.
Justice minister Dilan Yeşilgöz said the legislation was being amended because “denying this sort of gruesome crime has unfortunately become the order of the day.”
“The anti-Semitism monster is rearing its head and this worries me,” she said. “We must not leave this unanswered because the Holocaust is not a history lesson.”
The change is in line EU legislation and will also apply explicitly to whitewashing, downplaying and denying genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.
Those found guilty face up to one year in jail.
A survey by an American research group earlier this year showed some 12% of Dutch adults believe the Holocaust was a myth or that the number of Jews killed has been greatly exaggerated and a further 9% are unsure.
More than 70% of the Netherlands’ Jewish population was deported to concentration camps. Nevertheless, 53% of all respondents and 60% of the under-40s did not cite their country as a place where the Holocaust took place.
In addition, 27% of those polled did not know Anne Frank died in a concentration camp.
Yeşilgöz said at the time the survey’s findings were ‘shocking and extremely serious’. ‘We have a lot to do and it should be done quickly.’ she said on Twitter.
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