Dutch Protestant Church apologizes for not helping Jews in Holocaust

The comments were made ahead of the anniversary of Kristallnacht.

Interior of First Reformed Protestant Dutch Church of Kingston. (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Interior of First Reformed Protestant Dutch Church of Kingston.
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
The Dutch Protestant Church apologized on Sunday for having failed to do more to protect Jews during and after the Holocaust, as well as for its role in preparing "the ground in which the seeds of antisemitism and hatred could grow," the Associated Press (AP) reported.
The comments were made during a ceremony ahead of Monday's anniversary of Kristallnacht, a Nazi pogrom that marked an infamous event in the Holocaust, where Jews throughout Germany and Austria were terrorized, their homes and buildings destroyed and many Jews sent off to concentration camps.
However, as the church expressed, the apology was a long time coming, as they had played a role in creating this climate long before 1938.
“For centuries a rift was maintained that could later isolate the Jews in society in such a way that they could be taken away and murdered,” René de Reuver said at the ceremony, speaking on behalf of the Protestant Church in the Netherlands' General Synod, AP reported.
“Also in the war years, the ecclesiastical authorities often lacked the courage to choose a position for the Jewish citizens of our country.”
Approximately 70% of Dutch Jewry died in the Holocaust, and many, de Reuver included, think it's time the church admits it.
“The church recognizes faults and feels a present responsibility,” he said, according to AP. “Antisemitism is a sin against God and against people. The Protestant Church is also part of this sinful history.”
However, he promised this would change going forward, explaining that “we undertake to do everything possible to further develop Judeo-Christian relations into a deep friendship of two equal partners, united among others in the fight against contemporary antisemitism.”
Other notable world leaders also spoke out against antisemitism ahead of the anniversary of Kristallnacht. In a video clip, Israel's President Reuven Rivlin, Austria's President Alexander van der Bellen and Germany's President Frank-Walter Steinmeier called on people to fight antisemitism.
“Eighty-two years since Kristallnacht, and the dark shadows of the past have not disappeared from our streets," the presidents said together.
"We will stand against hatred. We will stand against racism, against antisemitism. We will stand together in Vienna, in Jerusalem, in Berlin. Never again means never again. Let there be light.”
A global memorial event for Kristallnacht will take place Monday at the President's Residence in Israel, and will be livestreamed on social media.
Jerusalem Post Staff contributed to this report.