Holocaust Memorial Unveiled in Amsterdam to Honor 102,000 Murdered in WW2

Dutch King Willem-Alexander and Caretaker Prime Minister Mark Rutte unveiled on Sunday a massive monument in Amsterdam to the 102,000 Jews, Roma and Sinti (Gypsy groups) who were murdered by the Nazis in World War II.

Prime Minister Rutte said the memorial would serve to remind the Dutch to remain vigilant against antisemitism, as well as to confront the shame of the past. He questioned whether the Netherlands did enough to protect its Jewish population during the Nazi occupation. And Rutte confronted "the cold reception for the small group who returned from Hell after the war."

"(That time is) a black page in the history of our country. Antisemitism is never far away. The monument says—no, it screams—be vigilant," Rutte said. "Evil does not have the last word. Every one of them with somebody, and today they get their names back."

The memorial, which is in the heart of Amsterdam's old Jewish Quarter, was designed by Daniel Libeskind, a Jewish Polish-American architect. Each of the 102,163 bricks is inscribed with the name, date of birth, and age of death of each Dutch Jew, Roma, and Sinti, who was murdered en route to or in a Nazi concentration camp.

The bricks were used to build walls in the shape of four Hebrew letters that mean "in memory of" (lezecher). The large monument was erected near a former concert hall where Nazis rounded up the Jews of Amsterdam. The memorial was partially crowdfunded. 84,000 people paid €50 ($58) to "adopt" a brick.

Jacques Grishaver, chairman of the Dutch Auschwitz Committee and the king, officially opened the site. Each man picked up a white stone and placed it in front of one of the walls, a Jewish symbolic gesture of honor when visiting a gravesite.

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