Yesterday, while speaking in Amsterdam at the National Holocaust Remembrance in honour of the 75th anniversary of Auschwitz liberation, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte apologized for the Netherlands’ role during the Holocaust.
Pleasing a surprised Jewish community, Rutte said that the Dutch government failed as “guardian of justice and security” during World War 2. Rutte went on to say that, though there were those who stood up against the occupying Nazi forces, “And yet, it was too little all in all. Too little protection. Too little help. Too little recognition”.
In 1940 there were 160,000 Jews in the Netherlands. Of that number, 107,000 were deported to extermination camps and 102,000 were ultimately killed. CJO chairman Eddo Verdoner said of Rutte’s comments: “This came as a surprise for us. It is good that it has now been clearly stated what went wrong. It is a historic moment. A milestone”. Chairman of the Dutch Auschwitz Committee Jacques Grishaver said, “We had to wait 75 years for it. The Prime Minister has written history. He is our hero. It could’ve been sooner, but be glad it happened now.”