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The Netherlands

King Willem-Alexander among authorities unveiling new monument for Holocaust victims

© RVD – Paul Tolenaar.

In a poignant ceremony on the evening of 19 September, King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands inaugurated a new monument to the memory of Dutch people killed during World War II. 

The monument, called Monument of Names, was commissioned by architect Daniel Libeskind and is made of more than 102,000 stones, one for each of the Dutch Jews, Sinti and Roma people that were persecuted by the Nazis. Each stone bears the name, date of birth and age of one of the Dutch Holocaust victims. 

King Willem-Alexander was in charge of officially opening the monument by placing a stone next to the declaration wall, in accordance with Jewish tradition. He did so together with Jacques Grishaver, chairman of the Dutch Auschwitz Committee. 

Before the official opening, the event began with a speech by Mr Grishaver, followed by speeches by Prime Minister Mark Rutte, Mayor of Amsterdam Femke Halsema and architect Daniel Libeskind. The Minister of Health, Welfare and Sport Paul Blokhuis was also present.

The speeches are followed by a minute of silence in memory of these people, who were persecuted and deported from the Netherlands, or as Dutch Jews, Sinti and Roma living abroad, murdered in Nazi concentration and extermination camps or died of hunger and exhaustion during transports and death marches. 

Prayers and music were also present throughout the entire event. 

Following the official inauguration of the monument, King Willem-Alexander and Prime Minister Rutte had some time to talk with Holocaust survivors and family members of the deceased that were invited to the ceremony. 

The architect has designed Monument of Names so that from the air, you can see four Hebrew characters that form the Hebrew translation of “In Memoriam.” 

The Netherlands was one of the countries most impacted by the Nazi agenda, with constant sweeps and several concentration camps in and around the country. 

The Dutch Royal Family has always been committed to keeping the memory of the horrors of the Holocaust alive in order for such tragedies never to happen again.