Van Duin said that, even though he has lived in Amsterdam for over 30 years, he has never been to the Remembrance Day on the Dam. Instead, he always goes to the Homomonument, on the Westermarkt.
“There, too, tonight, just like here, the many dead were commemorated at eight o’clock. Three large pink triangles on the ground, symbolize discrimination and humiliation,” he said. “The fact that we have had such a monument in the Netherlands since 1987, as the first in the world, marks our freedom. The freedom that everyone here is allowed to be themselves. Without anyone else saying anything about it.”
Prior to the commemoration on Dam Square, writer Roxane van Iperen delivered the May 4 lecture in the Nieuwe Kerk in the capital. She said that after the war, there was “an uplifting self-image based on not knowing”.
“Not knowing how words led to a well-oiled destruction machine, in which many were indispensable wheels,” she said. “Not knowing of the traumas of the outlawed, whose voices mostly and literally went up in smoke. Not knowing as a source of misplaced melancholy about past times, from which even contemporary politicians still eagerly tap.”
“The screaming supporters, the silent bystanders, the six million murdered victims. They remain elusive abstractions until we break them into a thousand pieces,” she said later. Van Iperen appointed three people: a former salesman in a fashion store, who became a Jew hunter. A Catholic man who saw dozens of Jewish peers, frightened, on their knees, and walked home. And a Sinti girl, 10 years old, who was deported to Auschwitz and gassed.
Watch Roxane van Iperen’s full speech here: