| 27 February 2024, Tuesday |

The Netherlands unveils its first national Holocaust monument

On Sunday, King Willem-Alexander inaugurated a monument in Amsterdam commemorating the 102,163 Dutch Holocaust victims, the country’s first national memorial.

The monument, created by Daniel Libeskind, 75, who lost family in the Holocaust, is a labyrinth of brick walls that, when viewed from above, form Hebrew letters reading “in remembering.” It is located in the heart of the Dutch city.

Each stone has the name of a Jew, Roma, or Sinti deported from the Netherlands during World War II and killed in Nazi death camps. It is the first memorial in the Netherlands to memorialize all of the victims in one location.

“It gives the feeling that they really existed,” said Hetty de Roode, a Jew whose parents, brother and sister all died in the camps. De Roode, who attended the unveiling, survived by hiding with a family in the north of the Netherlands.

“It’s a black page in the history of our country,” Prime Minister Mark Rutte said. “It forces us to question whether more should have been done to prevent it and to realize that even these days anti-Semitism is never far away.”

Libeskind, who also oversaw the masterplan for the Ground Zero memorial in New York, said it was overwhelming to see his design unveiled in the Dutch capital and added: “It’s a warning to us all what can happen in so-called civilized societies.”

Construction of the memorial faced years of delays, amid disputes about where it should be built, the cost and the design. The 15 million euro ($17.5 million) monument was funded by private donations and Amsterdam and other municipalities.

  • Reuters