European Jewish Association

Words by Rabbi Benyomin Jacobs on Dutch TV

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