Controvertial poem pulled from Dutch memorial

The poem was seen to suggest Nazis deserved to be commemorated along with their victims.

April 29, 2012 17:10
1 minute read.
WWII memorial day in Amsterdam

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


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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 4.

The poem seemed to suggest Nazis deserved to be commemorated along with their victims.

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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.

“The national memorial day is too important to be overshadowed by the polemic,” the committee said.

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.

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

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