Dutch remember Nazis who made 'wrong choice'

April 29, 2012 01:30

Homage is 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.

WWII memorial day in Amsterdam

WWII memorial day in Amsterdam 370. (photo credit:REUTERS)

THE HAGUE – Dutch Nazis who died in World War II will be commemorated this year alongside their victims, at the national memorial ceremony in Amsterdam.

The homage is 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.

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The boy’s poem, “Wrong Choice,” speaks 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 May 4, Dutch Memorial Day, the poem states.

The boy who wrote the poem is scheduled to publicly read it on Dutch Memorial Day at the Dam Square during a ceremony attended by the Dutch army’s top brass, war veterans and members of the royal family of the Netherlands.

Representatives of the Dutch Jewish community said they would not attend the ceremony unless the national memorial committee, Nationaal Comite 4 en 5 mei, scraps the poem.

“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 Hague-based Center for Information and Documentation on Israel. “According to the same logic, Adolf Eichmann could also be commemorated as victim one day.”

In a letter addressed to the committee, Naftaniel called the poems inclusion in the program “an insult to all the real victims.”

Nine Nooter, director of the Nationaal Comite 4 en 5 mei, said the poem should not be interpreted as a plea to commemorate Nazi Dutchmen. She added that the fallen SS soldier had four brothers who fought as partisans against the Nazis.

“It’s a poem about the right and wrong choices taken inside one family,” she said, adding that she did not intend to remove the poem from the program.
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