Dutch Royals open new Auschwitz exhibition
26 April 2005, AMSTERDAM — Prince Willem-Alexander and Princess Maxima have re-opened the Dutch exhibition at the former Nazi extermination camp Auschwitz in Poland.
26 April 2005
AMSTERDAM — Prince Willem-Alexander and Princess Maxima have re-opened the Dutch exhibition at the former Nazi extermination camp Auschwitz in Poland.
The previous Dutch exhibition at the camp was considered to be dated. It was subsequently modernised and the royal couple were the first people to walk through the new permanent exhibition on Tuesday.
An estimated 57,000 Dutch people were killed at Auschwitz. Most were Jewish, but Sinti and Roma people (gypsies) were also slaughtered at the camp.
"We think it is important to continue examining whether the way the story is being told connects with generations who come and visit it [the exhibition]," Health State Secretary Clemence Ross said.
"Whoever speaks about the war must understand that it is not a clinical abstraction. But I understand that the massive size of the Holocaust also makes it difficult to identify with it."
But pointing to a wall with the names of the 57,000 Dutch victims, Ross said those people who had confronted the reality have helped make the Holocaust more real by giving identities to the number of victims.
"Seeing and reading these individual names is heartbreaking," she said.
The chairman of the Dutch Auschwitz Committee, Jacques Grishaver, said he feels pain and grief every time that he visits Auschwitz. "But I mainly feel rage because I cannot comprehend what occurred at this place, Auschwitz, and elsewhere in Europe," he said.
Prince Willem-Alexander on Tuesday wrote in the guest book on behalf of himself and his wife Princess Maxima that the exhibition was a "very impressive monument in remembrance of the greatest crime against humankind ever. Never again Auschwitz".
Besides several camp survivors, students from an Eindhoven school also attended Tuesday's ceremony at Auschwitz.
Of the 107,000 Jews living in the Netherlands prior to the start of World War II, some 102,000 of them died at the hands of Nazi Germany. Among them was Anne Frank, the famous teenage diarist who hid with her family in an Amsterdam canal house.
They were betrayed and transported to Nazi death and labour camps in via the transit camp Westerbork in the north-east of the Netherlands. The 60th anniversary of the camp's celebration by Canadian troops was celebrated with a silent march and speeches on 12 April.
[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2005]
Subject: Dutch news