Цивилизованные голландцы

автор: Денис Песков


The sometimes frosty reception of Jewish survivors coming home, not just to Poland and other blood-soaked nations in central Europe, but to western European countries such as the Netherlands, too, owed something to a vague and not wholly repressed guilty conscience, as well as anti-Semitic prejudices which had, if anything, been strengthened by the years of German occupation—propaganda sticks.

This was by no means only true of collaborators or Nazi sympathizers. When a young woman named Netty Rosenfeld emerged from hiding after the liberation of the southern Netherlands in 1944 and applied for a job at a radio station run by the Dutch resistance, she was told that Rosenfeld was not a suitable name for public broadcasting. After all, she had to understand that there were already enough Jews working for Radio Herrijzend Nederland (Netherlands Reborn). The station had been nicknamed “Jerusalem Reborn.” One lesson Jews surely should have learned from their unfortunate experience was not to push themselves to the front of the queue and presume to dominate society again. And this was meant as friendly advice.
A man named Siegfried Goudsmit wrote the following story in September 1945 in Paraat, a left-wing newspaper “founded by the Dutch resistance:”

“A bus stop. Passengers waiting for the bus to Amsterdam. Among them two Jews. One of whom sits down on the bench . . . A non-Jewish “lady” does not approve and tells him that he should remain standing. “Other people have a right to this seat.” Yes, madam, in other circumstances I would have stayed standing, but I just got out of hospital where I was taken in a state of exhaustion after my return from a German concentration camp and, as you can see, I am still rather weak. “If only they’d kept you in the concentration camp. We’ve got enough of your kind here as it is” …”

“No wonder, then, that most Jewish survivors chose to remain silent. Silent about the fact that 75 percent of the roughly 150,000 Jews living in the Netherlands in 1940 did not survive. Silent about the mere five thousand who returned from the camps. Silent about the able assistance given to the Nazi killers by Dutch bureaucrats, policemen, and jurists. Silent about the silence, while the deportations went on, train after train after train.

The early postwar years saw a flurry of war monuments in the Netherlands, monuments to resistance fighters, to fallen soldiers, to national suffering, to the sacrifice of brave individuals. The first monument to the Jewish catastrophe was erected in 1950, in Amsterdam, near the old Jewish market, the seventeenth-century Portuguese synagogue, and the abandoned and subsequently gutted houses of Jews who had been dragged from their homes. Made of white stone, the monument has a star of David on top and five reliefs carved into the surface, depicting the love, the resistance, the fortitude, and the mourning of the Dutch Gentile population. It is called the Monument of Jewish Gratitude.”

Excerpt From: Buruma, Ian. “Year Zero.” Penguin Group US, 2013