Amsterdam’s new memorial names 102,000 Dutch Holocaust victims
A new memorial honoring the more than 102,000 Dutch Holocaust victims was unveiled on Sunday by King Willem-Alexander.
Designed by Polish Jewish architect Daniel Libeskind, the Names Memorial stands in the city’s Jewish quarter. It features the name, date of birth and age of each victim inscribed on a brick in one of the many walls.
The walls themselves are fashioned to form four Hebrew letters, spelling out a word that translates to “In memory of”.
Before the Holocaust, there were approximately 140,000 Jews living in the Netherlands. By the end of the war, more than two-thirds of the country’s Jewish population had been murdered by the Nazis.
Jacques Grishaver, chairman of the Dutch Auschwitz committee, officially inaugurated the monument on Sunday with the king, in the presence of dignitaries and Holocaust survivors.
After going through the gates, everyone picked up a white stone and placed it in front of a commemorative wall: a Jewish tradition when visiting graves.
“Evil does not have the last word”
Acting Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said the monument should also make people wonder if the Netherlands did enough to protect Jews during the war.
He called the time a “black page in our country’s history,” adding that the monument also had an important contemporary message “in our time, where anti-Semitism is never far away. The monument says – no, he shouts – be vigilant. ”
The memorial near a former concert hall where Jews were held before being sent to concentration camps while Amsterdam was under German occupation.
It was partly funded by crowdfunding: 84,000 people paid 50 euros each to sponsor one of the bricks.
The official opening came a year after a friend of Anne Frank’s, Jacqueline van Maarsen, laid the foundation stone, which bears the name of Dina Frankenhuis, 20, who was murdered in Sobibor.
Rutte said the monument carries a vital message. “This monument says 102,163 times, ‘No, we won’t forget you. No, we will not allow your name to be deleted. No, evil does not have the last word. Each of them was someone and today they get their name back.