04 May 2006

history spat

Germany - Süddeutsche Zeitung
The dispute between Dutch historians

Siggi Weidemann reports on a dispute over the Netherlands' cooperation with the Nazis.

Historian Ies Vuijsje has accused historian Loes de Jong, who published a 28-volume standard work on the "Kingdom of the Netherlands during the Second World War" in 1988, of having used only sources "which confirm the 'myth of ignorance' so as not to tarnish the image of the Dutch as a nation of resistance fighters."

He points out that this leaves one of the key questions unanswered, namely why the Netherlands was declared "free of Jews" as early as 1943.

"The causes for the disastrously high number of deportations, according to Vuijsje, were indifference and blind faith in authority, as well as a police force which cooperated with the Nazis and also the prevailing view that the camps couldn't be that bad.

Moreover, he adds that the Dutch participated in the hunt for hidden Jews for money. The Netherlands was unique in that it was the only country in Europe where a bounty of 7.50 guilder (approximately 37 euros) was offered for each Jew who was tracked down."

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