After a long run-up with a lot of legal haggling, the Holocaust Names Monument will open in Amsterdam on Sunday. Here, 76 years after the Second World War, the names of more than 102,000 Dutch victims of the Holocaust are brought together. "It is fantastic that after fifteen years of struggle it is finally here," said Jacques Grishaver, chairman of the Dutch Auschwitz Committee, which took the initiative for the construction of the memorial site. "Although it is of course impossible to describe what happened."
More than 75 years after World War II, a memorial dedicated to the over 102,000 Dutch victims of the Holocaust without a grave will finally be unveiled in the Netherlands. Designed by the Polish-American architect Daniël Libeskind, the memorial is located on Weesperstraat in Amsterdam.
Over the past few weeks, some 55 students from the Media College Amsterdam have been studying the National Holocaust Names Memorial as part of their final exams. On behalf of the Dutch Auschwitz Committee, they were asked to come up with better ways to reach young audiences. To this end they interviewed people of their own age, filmed survivors, made reports at the Westerbork transit camp, spoke to the director of the Resistance Museum, wrote moving articles, made Instagram stories and vlogs, and much, much more.
Mayor Femke Halsema of Amsterdam today symbolically drove the first pile into the ground to mark the start of construction of the National Holocaust Memorial of Names. She did that together with Jacques Grishaver, chairman of the Dutch Auschwitz Committee.
Remarkable memorial soon a reality
A small group of individuals closely involved were in attendance to witness this special event. “This is a real milestone,” commented a delighted Jacques Grishaver during his short speech. Owing to the corona situation, the event took the form of a simple gathering
Last week the completion of the Memorial came a huge step closer when the administrative court dismissed all objections raised by a small group of local residents against the tree-felling permit and building permit. No doubt you read or heard this happy news in one of the numerous media reports on the story.
The positive news got attention in serveral Dutch Newspapers
The Court of Amsterdam held a sitting today, 28 May 2019, to hear the appeal made by a number of local residents against the environmental permit issued for the construction of the Holocaust Monument of Names, even though the objections had already been dismissed by the Legal Affairs committee. This regrettable and costly affair has caused an unnecessary delay.
In attendance on behalf of the Netherlands Auschwitz Committee were Zoni Weisz, a member of the board for many years, and chairman Jacques Grishaver, who read a short personal statement, which you can read here blow or listen to on the video (Dutch spoken).
My name is Jacques Grishaver. I am chairman of the Netherlands Auschwitz Committee.
As a small boy during the war, I had to go into hiding on Linnaeusdwarsstraat, a narrow side-street off Middenweg here in Amsterdam. Most of my family were deported and killed, in Sobibor. I go there every year on tours that I guide to the former Nazi camps in Poland.
Auschwitz. Birkenau. Majdanek. Sobibor.
I stand on the train platform at Sobibor, year after year, for the past thirty years. And every year, I stand there crying.
Beside me here is Zoni Weisz.
Who doesn’t know Zoni's story? Zoni is Sinti. Zoni’s father was killed in Mittelbau-Dora. His mother, sisters and brother in Auschwitz-Birkenau. Zoni was miraculously spared the gas chambers. Zoni has been a member of the Auschwitz Committee for a long time.
On 16 December 2016, the Dutch Auschwitz Committee, together with Polish-Jewish architect Daniel Libeskind, presented the new design for the Dutch Holocaust Names Memorial. This national memorial will be located in the heart of the Jewish Quarter of Amsterdam, there where it all happened more than seventy years ago.
This will be the first memorial to feature the names of all 102,000 Jews and 220 Roma and Sinti who were killed during the war. It will be located on Weesperstraat, close to the Hermitage Museum and the Protestant Diaconate, and not far from major Jewish cultural institutions such as the Portuguese Synagogue and the Jewish Historical Museum.
Article in the New York Times
By NINA SIEGAL - JULY 17, 2016
AMSTERDAM — Anne Frank is only part of the story.
The diary of the young Jewish girl, who came of age hiding from the Nazis in Amsterdam, has long been the dominant narrative of the Netherlands’ experience during World War II. Hers is a story of inspiration and resistance that in many ways the Dutch have promoted and chosen to remember.
This afternoon Amsterdam city council agreed with a proposal from the city executive to designate the green strip between the Hermitage/Hoftuin and Weesperstraat as the site for the Holocaust Memorial of Names.
Amsterdam is making ten million euros available as compensation for the leasehold tax charged to Jewish war victims after returning from the camps or coming out of hiding. Mayor Eberhard van der Laan said on Sunday 15 May that the city executive will propose this to the city council. The money can be spent on projects or programmes such as the National Holocaust Museum and the Holocaust Memorial of Names.
Amsterdam City Council announces preferred site for Holocaust Memorial of Names
After an extensive study of possible sites for the proposed Holocaust Names Memorial, Amsterdam city council has selected a green strip on Weesperstraat. The area, at the end of Weesperstraat close to the Protestant Parish Centre, meets all the conditions set by the Dutch Auschwitz Committee in its survey of possible sites.
The intended location of the Memorial of Names has caused quite a stir recently. While debate about a subject of this nature is inevitable, strong emotions are sometimes released when inaccurate assumptions are presented as facts. We are in favour of an open discussion based on correct information, but misunderstandings do not make it easy to debate the merits of Wertheim Park as a suitable location.
Amsterdam’s municipal executive must once again consider the location of the Holocaust Memorial of Names in Wertheim Park. The Centrum district committee has called on the municipal executive to take this step in light of opposition to the proposal from local residents. The municipal executive is expected to reach a decision of principle on the issue shortly after the summer.
The executive committee of the Society of Friends of Amsterdam City Centre (VVAB) decided Wednesday not to object to the Holocaust Memorial of Names in Wertheim Park. “The physical damage to the park is not such that it justifies an objection,” states the VVAB on its
Without a Memorial of Names tens of thousands of names of people without any family left will be forgotten forever. “That is something we all together have to prevent,” Jacques Grishaver, chairman of the Dutch Auschwitz Committee said during the presentation of the design of the Dutch Holocaust Memorial of Names.
‘Path of Light’ is the title of Daniel Libeskind’s concept for the Dutch Holocaust Memorial of Names. “A name is also a light,” the American architect of Polish-Jewish descent said today when he presented his plan in Amsterdam together with city mayor Eberhard van der Laan.
On 18 March 2014 the Mayor and Municipal Executive in Amsterdam approved the proposal to erect a Holocaust Memorial of Names in Wertheim Park and, with this resolution, instructed the Centrum urban borough to develop the project in consultation with the initiator, the Netherlands Auschwitz Committee (NAC) and to conduct a thorough public inquiry procedure as part of that development.
The realization of the Dutch Holocaust Memorial of Names is not dependent on any possible donation from leasehold charges. Although such a contribution would be welcome, the Holocaust Memorial of Names can be realized without this support.
The Anne Frank House in Amsterdam is supporting the Dutch Holocaust Memorial of Names with the adoption of the names of the seven people who hided in the Secret Annex and didn’t survive the war. They were Edith, Margot, and Anne Frank, Hermann, Auguste, and Peter van Pels, and Fritz Pfeffer.
Amsterdam city council supports the initiative to build the Dutch Holocaust Memorial of Names in Amsterdam. Mayor Eberhard van der Laan made this announcement today during the National Holocaust Remembrance in Wertheim Park in Amsterdam.
‘Waiting any longer is not an option. I want that the names of the over 102,000 Dutch victims of concentration camps are there, forever to be read. By older people, younger people, future generations. The last remaining survivors of the gas chambers, of the gallows, of the bullets and of the sticks are dying out. They must know that the dead live on in our memories.’ That's according to Jacques Grishaver today in De Telegraaf.
The campaign that calls on everybody in and outside the Netherlands to support the construction of the Dutch Holocaust Memorial of Names was launched today. Fundraising takes the form of an adoption programme in which people can adopt one or more names on the memorial. In this way, everybody can help build the memorial for just 50 euros.
The Dutch Holocaust Memorial of Names will be designed by Polish-American architect Daniel Libeskind (Lodz, 1946). In New York, Libeskind said he was ‘honoured’ with the invitation to design a Holocaust memorial for the Netherlands.
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