The Dutch government refuses to apologize for the apathetic and detached attitude of the Dutch government in exile in London toward the more than 100 000 persecuted, deported and murdered Dutch Jews during the second World War.
Queen Wilhelmina and her government found no time to protest or condemn what was happening in Holland under Nazi rule, with the cooperation of local law enforcement forces.
Last week it was widely publicized internationally that two former Dutch deputy Prime ministers, Els Borst and Gerrit Zalm, supported such apologies. They said so in a new book by Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld. Judging the Netherlands, the renewed holocaust restitution process 1997-2000.’
Freedom Party Leader Geert Wilders and his colleague Raymond de Roon asked Prime Minister Mark Rutte to offer such apologies last week.
The Prime Minister has now answered that he sees no reason to do so, in part because the Jewish community has not asked for one.
It has, however, often been stressed that victims do not have to ask for apologies from the legal successors of those who failed. These successors have to present them at their own initiative. Apologies in this case would serve as evidence of the awakening of the conscience - in this case, of the national conscience - of those who perpetrated the evil, but they do not bring forgiveness, as the dead cannot forgive.
The Netherlands, it seems, will remain the Western European country which has shown the least official openness about its appalling attitude toward the Jews during the war and has offered no apologies for it.