Aside from the usual politics of today’s world, earlier this week, the King of the Netherlands, King Willem-Alexander and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, officially unveiled a new memorial in the heart of Amsterdam’s historic Jewish Quarter on Sunday honoring more than 102,000 Dutch victims of the Holocaust.
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte vowed that it would remind citizens today to be vigilant against antisemitism.
Designed by Polish-American architect Daniel Libeskind, who is Jewish, the memorial is made up of walls shaped to form four Hebrew letters spelling lezecher, which translates as “In Memory Of.”
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The walls are built using bricks, each of which is inscribed with the name, date of birth, and age at death, of one of the more than 102,000 Jews, Roma, and Sinti who were murdered in Nazi concentration camps during World War II, or who died on their way to the camps.
Jacques Grishaver, chairman of the Dutch Auschwitz Committee, officially opened the monument with the king in the presence of dignitaries and Holocaust survivors. After walking through the gates, each picked up a white stone and placed it in front of a commemorative wall, a Jewish tradition when visiting graves.
The king helped Grishaver to pick up and put down his stone. After the ceremony, he spoke to three survivors of the Holocaust.
Dutch caretaker Prime Minister Mark Rutte said the monument also should force people to confront the question of whether the Netherlands did enough to protect Jews during the war and what he called “the cold reception for the small group who returned from hell after the war.”
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