For a 91-year-old Holocaust survivor and friend of the renowned teenage diarist Anne Frank, laying the first brick for a new monument to victims of the genocide was a “special moment.”
“I’m satisfied that it’s finally happening,” Jacqueline van Maarsen told the ANP news agency on Wednesday with the launch of the Names Monument.
Van Maarsen was among several dozen people, including other Holocaust survivors, who gathered in Amsterdam to lay the first part of the building, which is designed to have about 102,000 bricks — one bearing the name of each of the Shoah’s identified victims in the Netherlands.
The monument’s construction, the latest phase in a project that began in 2006, is expected to take at least a year and will cost 15 million euros, about $17.4 million. The Dutch government will provide more than half the funding, with the rest supplied by the municipality and private donors, including van Maarsen, who gave 50,000 euros, about $58,000.
Amsterdam has multiple monuments for Holocaust victims.
The brick laid by van Maarsen was named for Dina Frankenhuis, a secretary who was murdered by the Nazis and their collaborators in 1943 in the Sobibor death camp in occupied Poland. She was 20.
“I’m satisfied that it’s finally happening,” said van Maarsen, whose father was Jewish. “It’s a beautiful design with all the names on it.”
Her family survived the war because van Maarsen’s mother was Christian.