THE HAGUE – The national commemoration committee of the Netherlands has scrapped
a controversial poem about Nazis from its program for its annual ceremony on May
The poem seemed to suggest Nazis deserved to be commemorated along
with their victims.
The homage to Dutch Nazis who died in World War II
was to be paid in a poem written by the 15-year-old relative of a Dutch SS
soldier who died on Germany’s Eastern Front. The Nationaal Comite 4 en 5 Mei
planned to have him read the poem aloud at the main official commemoration
ceremony in Amsterdam.
However, following a public outcry over the
weekend, the committee announced it would scrap the text.
memorial day is too important to be overshadowed by the polemic,” the committee
The boy’s poem, “Wrong Choice,” speak of his great uncle who
“sought to escape poverty and dreamed of a better life,” but “chose the wrong
army and wrong ideology.” He “needs to be remembered too” on Dutch memorial day,
the poem states.
Representatives of the Dutch Jewish community said they
would not attend the ceremony if the poem is read.
“It is wholly
inappropriate to compare the consequences of a wrong choice with the death of
partisans, Jews and other victims of the Nazi regime,” said Ronny Naftaniel,
director of the Center for Information and Documentation on Israel.
letter addressed to the committee, Naftaniel called the poem’s inclusion in the
program “an insult to all the real victims.”