On Sunday 26 January, Dutch Prime Minister, Mark Rutte, apologized for the failure of officials in the Nazi-occupied Netherlands during the Second World war to do more to prevent the deportation and murder of just over 100,000 Jews.
And yet, when all was said and done it was not enough. Not enough protection. Not enough support. Not enough recognition.
Rutte made the apology at the country’s annual Holocaust commemoration in Amsterdam the day before Holocaust Remembrance Day and the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz Nazi death camp.
“When a murderous regime took a group of our compatriots and separated them, excluded them and dehumanised them, our country failed in its duty.
When state authority became a threat, our public institutions failed in their duty, as guardians of justice and security. To be sure, within the government too there was resistance on an individual level. But too many Dutch officials simply did as they were told by the occupying forces.
Others tolerated this evil in the hope that they might use their position to do some good.
Very occasionally they succeeded.
But far more often they did not.
|And it took too long for the bitter consequences of registration and deportation to be fully recognised.
Now, while the last survivors are still with us, I apologise on behalf of the government for the conduct of the Dutch authorities at that time. I do so in the knowledge that there are no words that can capture the enormity and the horror of the Holocaust."
The commemoration event for Holocaust Remembrance Day is organized each year by the Auschwitz Committee.