The Dutch antifascist league AFVN-BvA will block the entrance to an exposition on design of the Third Reich, to be held in Bois-le-Duc, the capital of the Dutch province of Brabant, from 8 September onwards, a spokesman for the objectors to this venue said today.
The case is gaining international attention, now the Arabic news channel Al Jazeera has announced visiting the preview of the exhibition coming Wednesday. Some media in Germany have also started following this case, as some leading German musea such as the Deutsches Historisches Museum and the Insitut für Zeitgeschichte have loaned Nazi-artifacts to the provincial Dutch museum, regardless of requests from Holland not to do so.
Earlier, the national secretary of the largest Jewish religious grouping in the Netherlands, Ruben Vis of the Dutch Israelitic Church (NIK), aired his support for the objections to the showing of swastikas, Nazi-posters and films as well as objects such as a replica SS-dagger, Hugo-Boss-designed SS-uniforms and the VW Beetle. The objectors also reject this car as a Nazi object, pointing to the Jewish designer Jozef Ganz, who also was the first to coin the name ‘Volkswagen’.
The protesters publicly questioned the intent of the exposition, for which the preparation and started beginning of Janaury 2018, that design would have played a crucial role in the rise of Nazi power – they point to the vast majority of historians on Nazi-matters who only see brute force and intimidation as the deciding factors.
The French-Jewish Nazi-hunters Serge and Beate Klarsfeld from Paris also joined the support, as did several other well-known Dutch Jews, such as the writer and painter Chaja Polak and the journalist and Nazi-hunter Hans Knoop, known for his relentless and successful persecution of one of the most infamous Dutch war criminals, the former SS-man and millionaire Pieter Menten, who was convicted by a Dutch court of complicity in the murder of Jews in Poland durign WW-II.
Several Jewish and other individuals petitioned to the director of the museum, the former Leyden and Delft university professor Dr Timo de Rijk, to stop this exhibition and especially the ‘senseless and totally unneccessary’ proliferation of Nazi-signs.
To the protestors Dr De Rijk added insult to injury when it became clear he would not relent even when the argument was put before him, that his museum stands only 6 meters from the Jewish monument for the 293 Holocaust-victims from Bois-le-Duc, mounted on the wall of the old city synagogue. In a press release two weeks ago, Dr De Rijk even claimed he had the support of the local Jewish community, but could not offer any names nor would he speak to Jewish objector to the venue, national secretary Ruben Vis of the NIK.
In which way the entrance would be blocked, the protesters did not reveal.
Also, the protestors have contacted an attorney at law, the well-known Dutch-Jewish professor Herman Loonstein from Amsterdam, to study whether summary proceedings on the basis of ‘denial of the Holocaust’ or ‘antisemitism’, both felonies in Dutch criminal law punishable by imprisonement, could be initiated, to prevent the opening of the relatively small exhibition.