Former Nazi camp located in Holland to host event for refugees
search

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

Former Nazi camp located in Holland to host event for refugees

Local Jewish groups criticise the memorial centre at ex-camp of Westerbork, claiming its planned event for modern-day refugees abuses the memory of the Shoah

A monument at former Nazi transition-camp Westerbork, located in the Netherlands, showing mangled train tracks which brought inmates to the camp
A monument at former Nazi transition-camp Westerbork, located in the Netherlands, showing mangled train tracks which brought inmates to the camp

A Dutch museum commemorating a Nazi concentration camp defended its plan to host there an event about the plight of modern-day refugees.

The plan by Memorial Centre Camp Westerbork, which was announced last week, prompted an outcry by local Jews, who saw it as bordering on abuse of the memory of the Holocaust in a country where their community has never fully recovered from the genocide.

The museum advertised its hosting in June of an event titled “Night of the Refugee.” The event will feature a nocturnal walk of more than 100 miles to the northern city of Groningen from Westerbork, where most Dutch Jews murdered in the Holocaust were kept before they were sent to death camps in Eastern Europe.

The vice-chairman of the Dutch Central Jewish Board, CJO, Ronny Naftaniel said holding the event in Westerbork is inappropriate because it implies a comparison between refugeedom and the systemic annihilation of European Jewry.

But Museum Director Dirk Mulder said it is appropriate for Westerbork because the camp began in 1939 as a refugee facility set up for German Jews by the Dutch government. Only later, he noted, did the invading Nazis turn Westerbork into part of their so-called final solution.

Naftaniel rejected this explanation. The terror of being on a train departing from Westerbork and being on one arriving to it, he wrote on Twitter, “is incomparable.”

Help perform the greatest mitzvah: save a life

While life in Israel has returned to normal and hopes are high that Britain is set for a summer without restrictions thanks to vaccines, for billions around the world there is no such imminent light at the end of the tunnel. In the majority of countries around the globe, particularly the poorest, the vaccine rollout has barely kicked off.

That's why Jewish News, the leading source of news and opinion for the entire UK community, is throwing its full weight behind UNICEF’s VaccinAid campaign by using this platform usually reserved for encouraging donations towards our own journalism to instead urge our readers around the globe to perform the greatest mitzvah: saving a life.

We have never before done this for any charity fundraiser but it's hard to recall a campaign that affects so many people, and indeed an entire planet aching for a return to normality. Just like the Chief Rabbi and Rachel Riley, we hope to boost the mission to deliver two billion vaccines, 165 million treatments and 900 million test kits around the world by the end of this year.

Please donate as much as you can, in the spirit of the Talmudic sages: “to save one life is to save the world entire”

read more:
comments