Memorial for Dutchman executed over Berlin Reichstag fire

25th February 2008, Comments 0 comments

A memorial is to be inaugurated Wednesday to Dutchman Marinus van der Lubbe.

25 February 2008

AMSTERDAM - A memorial is to be inaugurated Wednesday to Dutchman Marinus van der Lubbe, who was executed for setting fire to the Berlin Reichstag 75 years ago on 27 February 1933.

The memorial, which is a private initiative, consists of two plaques of each 1.90 by 1.50 metres, to be unveiled in his home city of Leiden by Van der Lubbe's niece Elisabeth van der Lubbe.

The first plaque contains large photograph of van der Lubbe and the second, a short text recounting, in Dutch and in German, the history of what one of the memorial's initiators, historian Cor Smit, calls "an early act of resistance against the Nazi regime."

Smit told Deutsche Presse-Agentur, dpa "the maximum sentence for setting fire was eight years imprisonment at that time. However, in the case of Van der Lubbe the law was suddenly changed, so that the Nazis could execute him in 1934, days before his 25th birthday."

Smit explained the changing of the law was also the reason why the German authorities annulled the 1933 court verdict last month.

Previously, two of the initiators of the memorial in Leiden, Ben Walenkamp and Kees Walle, were involved in the establishment of several Van der Lubbe memorials in the Netherlands and Germany, including one in Berlin that ultimately never received a permanent location.

[Copyright dpa 2008]

Subject: Dutch news

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