Monday, 7 November 2016

Dutch Waffen-SS volunteers do not apologize

At least 75% of Dutch Jews perished in the Holocaust. The highest percentage for western Europe.

Remarkably enough, the Germans were not very involved with the rounding up of the Dutch Jews and sending them to the transport camp Westerbork.
The Jewish Council drew up a list of names for each stage in the deportations and told the Jews on the list to report voluntarily for deportation.
The civil service informed the police where the Jews lived and the police rounded the Jews up who disobeyed the order of the Jewish Council.

The resistance did not blow up the rail tracks to stop the transports. Some did want to, but this was nixed by the Dutch government in exile. They said the money the Germans paid for the transport of Jews was needed for the economy.
Eichmann was full of praise. He was very pleased that the trains ran on time.

A few months after the end of the war, the Dutch Minister of Transport Steef van Schaik, praised the railway workers for their collaboration with the Germans. He said they were doing their “duty”.
This Dutch “duty” is one of the main reasons why so many Jews perished.
In 2005, more than 60 years after the transports took place, the CEO of Dutch Railways apologized.
Nice of him.

There have been a stream of apologies from Dutch authorities, organisations and companies for their collaboration during the Holocaust - 60 to 70 years after it happened.
However, not everybody has apologized.

The Nazis called the Dutch a “brother people” and a lot of emphasis was placed on getting them to cooperate with the German occupation.
They had more success in the Netherlands than in other occupied countries. Especially when it came to the SS.
"...approximately 25.000 Dutchmen volunteered to join the ranks of the German Waffen-SS. This number was not only relatively but also absolutely, the largest contingent of non-German volunteers from all of the Nazi occupied territories in Europe."
NIOD Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Netherlands. 

After the war it was claimed that the Dutch volunteers had not taken part in the Holocaust. They said all they did was fight on the front.
The Dutch authorities accepted this. Those who wanted to, were integrated into the Dutch army.

Later some diaries were found that had belonged to the Dutch SS volunteers. They were full of proud stories about how they killed Jews.

Here are two fragments from one diary:
“..we arrived at a village near Tarnopol. There were a lot of Jews there. We took some of them and made them polish our car until it shined.
We shaved the Jews. We let one half of their beard remain and cut off the other half with a scissors. Some of the beards we burnt off with petrol.
Then we had some fun. We took a sword and a piece of wood and started beating them until they were screaming with pain.
Then we took them to the commander who led them to the river where prrt, prrt, they and the other Jews were shot with a machine gun.
The next morning we went to the river. It was full of half-dead and dead Jews. What a wailing and it stank terribly.”

“I forgot to tell you how great it was to hang a chief rabbi from the tower of his synagogue and then torch the synagogue with the Jews inside.”

Nobody apologized for this. 

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