Newly-Elected Dutch Senator Apologizes for ‘Meek Lambs’ Description of Holocaust Victims
A newly-elected member of the Dutch Parliament has apologized for remarks in a media interview in which he described Jews exterminated during the Nazi Holocaust as having gone to “the gas chambers like meek little lambs.”
Dutch Senator Toine Beukering — a former brigadier general in the Dutch military who took up his seat in the upper house of the parliament this week — made the comment in an interview with the De Telegraaf newspaper published last Saturday.
Beukering is a representative of the right-wing nationalist FvD party, which scored a major political victory in provincial elections last March when it became the largest party in the Senate.
Beukering told the newspaper that as “a young child, I read a whole cabinet of books about the Holocaust.”
He continued: “I was always interested in finding out how it was at all possible. That the Jews — such a brave people — were driven to the gas chambers just like meek lambs. It has always fascinated me.”
Pressed on what he meant by “meek lambs,” Beukering replied: “Well, there has been very little resistance. Resistance by the Jews. Escape. That kind of thing. There are all kinds of reasons for that, but it is a sad story that should never happen again.”
But speaking to De Telegraaf again on Tuesday, the new senator apologized for his observation, characterizing it as an “awkward comment.”
“I now regret it and take it back,” Beukering said.
Some Holocaust educators reacted angrily. “There was resistance everywhere. Holocaust education is failing,” said Maria van Beurden Cahn of the NIOD Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies in Amsterdam on Twitter.
Beukering was robustly defended by his parliamentary colleague, Paul Cliteur — the FvD party chairman in the Senate.
“Given the context, I understood what he meant by that [comment],” Cliteur said. “I have not been able to read any malicious comments against Jews into it. I also think it is a shame that people take the most malicious interpretations of such an interview as a starting point. As far as I’m concerned, he shouldn’t have taken back that statement.”