NOS Nieuws•vandaag, 08:44
Today, two Dutch Holocaust survivors speak to a large international audience. Jacques Grishaver addresses the United Nations (UN) in New York, Rozette Kats gives a speech in the Bundestag in Germany. “The younger generation needs to keep learning about it to prevent a recurrence,” says Grishaver.
At first, the 80-year-old Grishaver thought it was quite an undertaking: such a trip to New York for a 5-minute speech. But when his environment told him that this would be the crowning glory of his work, the chairman of the Dutch Auschwitz Committee changed tack. “That little Jewish man from Amsterdam who will soon be speaking in front of the UN. They are always world leaders or ministers, and now I am standing there.”
He does it because it is necessary, he says. “In my speech I talk about how we are again or still dealing with anti-Semitism. I will tell you that it also occurs in the Dutch parliament to this day. Not openly, but collaborating with it. I will not name any names , but if the shoe fits, wear it.”
Jacques Grishaver in Williamsburg, New York
Of course he also mentions the monument of names, how important that is in the education of schoolchildren. According to Grishaver, it is only when they walk between the walls with one hundred and two thousand names that they really realize how terrible the Holocaust has been. That is why education about the Holocaust is crucial, especially at a time when there is a lot of disinformation circulating via social media, he says.
He also experienced the opposition he encountered in the creation of the monument of names as anti-Semitism. “Of course that is covered. The arguments were that it would be too high, or too busy, or that a dog park should be built. But that came from people who now live in houses where Jewish people once lived. Before the war,” says Grishaver.
“So space can be made for such a monument. And yes, I would have preferred to see it smaller. But unfortunately that is not the reality.”
Grishaver is not nervous about his speech. “I rehearsed it well,” he says. “It would be strange if I could not convey the message after 25 years as chairman of the Dutch Auschwitz Committee. And if something goes wrong, I’m out of luck. If only I could convey to as many world leaders as possible that the Holocaust should not be forgotten. should be. The younger generation must continue to learn about it to prevent recurrence. That is the most important thing.”
It is also an important day for Rozette Kats. In the Bundestag she speaks about the Holocaust. Her parents were murdered in Auschwitz during World War II, she herself was placed with a family under a false name as a baby.
The 80-year-old Kats normally speaks “off the cuff” at Dutch and German primary and secondary schools about her experiences. “Now I prepared my speech months ago.” She will tell her story “very concretely and compactly” in ten minutes. “That’s why I bridge the gap with the group of LGBTI people persecuted by the Nazis. But I mainly speak as Rozette Kats who survived going into hiding.”
This year, during the commemoration, explicit attention will be paid to the persecuted LGBTI people. Actors read two stories of now deceased LGBTI people who have experienced the war.
The fact that Kats is now allowed to speak in the Bundestag has an extra meaning for her as a Jewish woman, she says. “It’s the Bundestag now, but it was the Reichstag building in the Nazi era.”
She compares the feeling to the feeling she had when she was 25 years ago with a group of German students in the villa on the Wannsee and told her story there. On January 20, 1942, the meeting was held in that villa in which the Nazis discussed a “final solution” to the “Jewish Question” (Final Solution to the Judenfrage).
“Then I really had the feeling: well, I’m standing here now looking out the window and you, the Nazis, are no longer there. It was not their plan that I would be there. That was a feeling of triumph. “
What she hopes will stick out of her speech? “That we should not judge each other before we get to know each other as human beings. And that is only possible if you immerse yourself in the other. That you learn to deal with each other and not think in groups.”
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