Words by Rabbi Benyomin Jacobs on Dutch TV

June 6, 2021

I stopped worrying about current anti-Semitism. Just fiveminutes I forgot about the anti-Israel propaganda which I see and hear daily around me. I was standing in a serene silence for those five minutes in front of the Children’s Monument, het Kindermonument, in former Dutch concentration camp Vught.
“One thousand two hundred and sixty-nine children were put on deportation trains with the Kindertransport on June 6 and 7 in 1943.  A few days later they arrived in extermination camp Sobibor. Upon arrival they were brutely removed from the cattle wagons, driven to the gas chambers via the Himmelstrasse, the Street to the Heaven, as the Nazi scum jokingly called this street. Were they aware of the atrocities which the Nazi’s had planned for them? When did they realize that from the showers heads no water would come out but a deadly killing gas would emerge? How long did they suffer before they souls were forced to leave their young bodies? Didthe SS men, who watched through a few skylights, enjoy the sadistic spectacle?
The names of all those children are engraved on the Children’s Monument in National Monument Kamp Vught. Only a very few photographs of a few children still exist. Most children are reduced by the industrial killing machine to a just name,without a face.
Why are we commemorating yearly the Children-Deportation, the Kindertransport? In order to prevent? Is this monument akind of educational project?
Yes, the Kindertransport is commemorated every year, but not to teach, not to warn, not even to prevent!
When I unveiled the monument in 1999, people came forward from the audience after the ceremony. They searched through the names, found and, full of tenderness, love and with tears in their eyes, I saw them putting their hands on the name of their sister, their brother, their child or their grandchild. But the names of most of the children stayed untouched, because thebrothers, sisters, nephews and nieces, fathers and mothers of those children had also been murdered.
One thousand, two hundred and sixty-nine names. Lonely names, letters without faces, without family, as if they never existed. Through the chimneys of the Sobibor crematoria they disappeared into an invisible darkness. Anonymous, completely unknown, no one to think of them anymore. Just letters, a very few damaged photographs, as if they never existed.
Let us close our eyes and think in absolute silence of thechildren of the Kindertransport, who stayed on this earth for such a short while, were so cruelly snatched, and of whom nothing, absolutely nothing, has remained.
No grave, no ashes, just a name. Names without meaning, because no one today is able to remember whose life and suffering is behind their names.”
Credit: Jan van de Ven
Credit: Jan van de Ven

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Declaration Against Jew Hatred Sparks Hope Among Dutch Jewish Community: Chief Rabbi's Emotional Response

To the signatories (and their supporters) of the Declaration Against Jew Hatred. With tears of gratitude and emotion, I have taken note of your clear condemnation of anti-Semitism. Hopefully, the Netherlands will take in your message in its full breadth, because aftershooting, honking, threats and deadly looks are now part of the normal everyday for me. Fortunately, I also hear warm shalom much, much more often, but the ratio between a positive wish and a criminal hateful curse has clearly changed to the detriment of shalom since 7 October.

 

This evening, I received your anti-Jewish hate statement dozens of times from members of the Jewish Community who wanted to draw my attention to your brave words. Sign, then, that your words have landed with the Jewish Community. Prof Presser, the historian, indicated in his book “Ondergang” that 5% of the Dutch population committed resistance, 5% collaborated with the Nazis and 90% saw it and let it happen. It is about this 90% of the Dutch that I worry. Their direction is not determined by thought and reason but solely by emotions.

Your Declaration, which leaves no room for ambiguity, will hopefully, with G’d’s help, influence the direction of the 90% herd for the better and quell expressions of anti-Semitism. Whether this will eliminate anti-Semitism, I doubt, but at the very least, I can again just walk the streets without extra alertness and use Public Transport again. Dutch Chief Rabbi Binyomin Jacobs.

"אנחנו כאן כדי להבטיח שזכר קורבנות השואה ימשיך לבהוק לעד"

יום השואה הבינלאומי חל אומנם בינואר, אך בערב יום השואה בישראל, יצא איגוד הארגונים היהודיים באירופה (EJA) במבצע נרחב למירוק 458 אבני הנגף שהוטבעו במדרכות בריסל בירת בלגיה, אל מול בתים שמהם נשלחו יהודים למחנות ההשמדה. יו”ר איגוד הארגונים היהודים באירופה (EJA), הרב מנחם מרגולין: “אנו נחושים, להנציח את זיכרון השואה לאור הקיטוב הגובר בחברה, חוסר הסובלנות כלפי הזולת והעלייה הברורה באנטישמיות באירופה וקוראים להגביר את הפעילות החינוכית להעצמת זכר השואה והמאבק באנטישמיות”.

הרב מרגולין הודה למתנדבים הרבים על הירתמותם למפעל החשוב וציין כי “אנו נחושים, להנציח את זיכרון השואה לאור הקיטוב הגובר בחברה, חוסר הסובלנות כלפי הזולת והעלייה הברורה באנטישמיות באירופה. האינטראקציה והחשיפה של אזרחי בריסל לשואה היא חיוניות, בהתחשב בעובדה שכשליש מהאירופאים יודעים מעט מאוד על זוועות השואה. אני קורא מכאן לכל ממשלות אירופה וראשי הערים ביבשת להגביר את הפעילות החינוכית להעצמת זכר השואה ומאבק באנטישמיות”.

האירוע המרגש שנערך ברחובות בריסל וברשתות החברתיות תחת הכותרת #MakeTheirMemoryShine התקיים בשיתוף המוזיאון היהודי בבריסל ובמעמד ראש עיריית בריסל פיליפ קלוז, ניצולי שואה, מנהיגים יהודים ומאות מתנדבים – בני כל הדתות והגילאים, שקיבלו מאיגוד הארגונים היהודים באירופה ערכות ניקיון ייעודיות למירוק אבני הזיכרון.

אבן נגף (בגרמנית Stolperstein – שְטוֹלְפֶּרשְטַיין), הוא שמו של פרויקט הנצחה מתמשך בערים שונות באירופה, שיצר האמן גונטר דמניג. “אבני הנגף” של דמניג שקועות במדרכות בערים שונות במטרה להזכיר לעוברים ושבים את קורבנות הנאציזם. נכון להיום הונחו מעל ל-90,000 אבני נגף בערים רבות ברחבי אירופה.

The Labour party approves a draft action plan against antisemitism to be submitted to the government’s anti-racist body

The Labour party’s ruling national executive committee (NEC) has approved a draft action plan against antisemitism it is required to submit to the Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), the government anti-racist body,  ahead of a deadline later this week, The Jewish Chronicle reported.
The plan comes in response to  recommendations  of the EHRC report into antisemitism in the party.
The Labour’s action plan comprises the 18 key recommendations of the EHRC report, including the setting up of an independent complaints process to handle  allegations of antisemitism, other forms of discrimination and bullying.
The party had receive a 10 December deadline to produce a draft action plan in response to the findings and recommendations of the report released by the government anti-racist and equality body.
A Labour spokesperson said: ”Labour’s national executive committee has given its approval to the draft action plan it is required to submit to the EHRC this week.
“It covers all the EHRC’s recommendations and is an important step towards Keir Starmer and Angela Rayner’s commitment to rebuilding trust and confidence with our Jewish members and the Jewish community.”
The action plan is believed to contain details on how  Labour intends to live up to Keir Starmer’s zero tolerance commitment to reports of antisemitism in the party in the future, how it will introduce training sessions on anti-Jewish racism to be conducted by the Jewish Labour Movement, and how it will effectively monitor improvements to ensure lasting change within the party.
Asked to comment the process in the Labour party by its new leader Keir Starmer, Gideon Falter, Chairman of the UK-based Campaign Against Antisemitism, who has been in the forefront of the battle to refer the party  to EHRC because it was not taking its complaints against former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn seriously, said: ‘’‘’The point is that this is a man, Jeremy Corbyn, who put 47% of British Jews in fear of their future in this country.He surely cannot be allowed by his political party, which claims to be anti-racist, to go without answer for that. He must be held to account in a fair, independent disciplinary process.’’
Falter added during a webinar hosted by the European Jewish Association: ‘’If this is going to be polluted by Keir Starmer’s  political considerations about who has the power in Labour, then I don’t think the party has learned his lesson. The Labour party has to secure justice against anti-Semites.’’
Last month, Starmer decided not to readmit Corbyn in its parliamentary ranks despite the fact that a Labour disciplinary panel lifted the suspension of Corbyn’s party membership.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission investigation identified serious failings in leadership and an inadequate process of handling anti-Semitism complaints.
Its report said the party was responsible for three breaches of the Equality Act: political interference in anti-Semitism complaints, failure to provide adequate training to those handling anti-Semitism complaints and harassment.
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