Dutch chief rabbi says ‘no need’ for churches’ mea culpa over Holocaust inaction

Chief Rabbi of the Netherlands says he 'appreciates' gesture from six Dutch churches, 'children don't need to profess their parent's guilt.'

Cnaan Liphshiz, JTA ,

Dutch Chief Rabbi Binyomin Jacobs
Dutch Chief Rabbi Binyomin Jacobs
Rabbinical Center of Europe

Six Dutch churches issued what they called an acknowledgement of guilt for not having done more to save Jews or protest their murder during the Holocaust.

But Dutch Chief Rabbi Binyomin Jacobs told the CIP news site that while he “appreciates” the gesture from the Protestant Church of the Netherlands and five other church bodies, it’s also unnecessary. “Children needn’t profess their parents’ guilt or take responsibility for it,” Jacobs said.

“We failed in speaking out and in keeping silent, in deeds and inaction, in attitude and thoughts,” said a statement Wednesday from the Protestant Church of the Netherlands, the second-largest church in the country with 1.6 million member. The statement also said the church wishes to “acknowledge unequivocally that the church prepared the soil where the seed of anti-Semitism could grow,” Reformatorisch Dagblad reported.

That sentiment was echoed in a separate statement by five other Protestant Churches: he Christian Reformed Churches, Reformed Association in the Protestant Church in the Netherlands, Reformed Churches in the Netherlands (Liberated), Netherlands Reformed Churches and the Restored Reformed Church.

The statements came ahead of the Nov. 9 anniversary of the 1938 Kristallnacht pogroms.

Three-quarters of Dutch Jewry died in the Holocaust, the highest death rate in occupied Western Europe.