The Dutch Central Jewish Board Condemns Concentration Camp Artifact Sales

According to The Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA), The Dutch Central Jewish Board is condemning two Dutch museums that were recently involved in the selling of items from former Nazi camps. According to the JTA, the board said that the sales of these items were unconscionable and that it was “wholly inappropriate to abuse signs of horror and inhumanity for commercial purposes.”

The JTA reports that the two museums involved in the sales were Camp Vught National Memorial Monument and Museum and Camp Amersfoort. Camp Vught is a partially restored memorial dedicated to showing the brutality of the Nazis. According to its web site, it was “the only official SS-concentration camp in occupied North-West Europe.”  Although Vught was a transit camp, its web site notes that 749 people died there, either as part of executions or from maltreatment.

According to The Netherlands Institute for War, the construction of the barracks at Camp Vught was paid for with “plundered Jewish capital” and around a third of the prisoners were Jews. Also among the prisoners were Jehovah’s witnesses, black market workers and political prisoners. According to the JTA, Camp Vught was accused of selling wooden figures to its visitors in order to help raise funds to keep the camp running.

Camp Amersfoort workers, meanwhile, were accused of selling pieces of barbed wire from the premises in its gift shop. According to The Huffington Post, Camp Amersfoort Director Harry Ruijs said the camp would stop selling the barbed wire after several Jewish groups protested against the move. Indeed, according to The Post, he apologized, saying, “It seems we have hurt some people and it was not our intention at all. That is why we decided to halt the sale.”

Yet Agence France Press (AFP) reports that Esther Voet, deputy director of the Dutch Centre for Documentation and Information on Israel (CIDI) was appalled by the sale. “Imagine if some of these pieces of barbed wire are ultimately bought by a neo-Nazi. That would be horrible.” Meanwhile, says AFP, the Netherlands’s Central Jewish Council called the sale “completely tasteless and lacking in respect for the victims and their families.”

Filed Under: Politics

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Miranda Flint About the Author: Miranda has a B.A. in political science and has worked over a decade as a news reporter, financial news writer and political blogger. More about Miranda

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