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January 27, 2020 10:58 am

Dutch PM Apologizes for His Country’s Role in Wartime Persecution of Jews

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Prime Minister of the Netherlands Mark Rutte speaks at the 2013 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on Jan. 24, 2013. Photo: Monika Flueckiger/World Economic Forum via Wikimedia Commons. – Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte on Sunday became the first Dutch leader to officially apologize for his country’s role in the Holocaust.

Speaking at an event in Amsterdam to mark the 75 anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp, Rutte said the Dutch did not do enough to prevent the persecution of Jews.

“With the last remaining survivors among us, I apologize on behalf of the government for the actions of the government at the time,” said Rutte, according to a Reuters report.

“I do so, realizing that no words can describe something as enormous and awful as the Holocaust,” he added.

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While past Dutch governments have made apologies for the way Jewish survivors were treated after returning to the country from concentration camps, none went so far as to apologize for the country’s role in the Nazi persecution of the Jews, the report said, adding that 102,000 Jews murdered in the Holocaust came from the Netherlands.

Rutte said that many Dutch people and government institutions had followed German orders.

“In all, we did too little. Not enough protection, not enough help, not enough recognition,” he said.

Separately, French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner reported on Sunday that antisemitic acts in France increased last year by 27 percent, according to AP.

There were a total of 687 antisemitic acts recorded in 2019 in France compared to 541 the previous year, with 151 categorized as “most severe,” meaning attacks against people and property.

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