Joods Maastricht

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Speech at the Occasion of the remembrance of the Children’s transportations Vught

We are standing here again at the monument for the children. Every year I have the prerogative trying to make tangible and imaginable what is in fact not tangible or imaginable. Every year again I have the prerogative to listen attentively and not understanding to the proclamation of Donald de Marcas: ‘tenslotte delen wij u nog mede, dat de goede hoop bestaat, dat de kinderen hier in het land ondergebracht zullen worden en de ouders kunnen dan, indien zij dit wensen nog terugkeren’.

Donald de Marcas experienced those awful years personally. As a child of the post-war generation I can hear it in his voice. In my parental home everything was either before the War or after it. I had to play violin, because my uncle Joseph, who got arrested as a Jewish resistance fighter and was murdered in course of time, played the violin too.

How long do we go on with remembering? The number of survivors is becoming less from day to day and the so-called second generation has now already retired. I am already thinking for some years will my grand-children still have the same feelings when reading the names on the Children’s Monument? The murdered children should have been their grand Parents. And what warning that must have been shown by this place? That will not be necessary, I thought rather naively, because everybody will understand that by now.

When I was in school I learned that are is some kind of rodents, somewhere in Scandinavia, who commit collective suicide every now and then, by running into the sea just to get drowned. I thought that they are very stupid. When I grew older however I saw the same destructive behaviour also among those ‘intelligent’ creatures called ‘Man’.

  • During the first days of May 2.200 military were killed.
  • Between 1940 and 1945 a number between 225.000 and 250.000 Dutchmen lost their lives.
  • Of the 107.000 deported Dutch Jews 104.000 are gassed.
  • 240 Sinti and Roma are killed in Auschwitz.
  • The liberation of the Netherlands cost 6the lives of 50.000 military.
  • In total about 55 million people passed away between 1939 – 1945.

Last week we could not tear ourselves form the radio and TV because of the attack in London, where eight people fell.

While at the same time myriads others are killed or abused, we make a law in the Netherlands that prohibits verbal intimidation in the public domain (rightly so!) and we look away from human trafficking of hundreds of women who in our so decent country are compelled to sell their bodies for prostitution. By means of the social media extortion is booming of even worse…

But luckily our government is against discrimination and she protects her citizens. Unfortunately a member of the city council of The Hague allowed himself to express his in unacceptable way and propagated anti-Semitic hatred instead of appeasement that makes me thinking:

Where are we going to? Let us understand well that the Jews had the wrong religion in the period of the crusades, When the Plague broke out somewhere, they were to be destroyed because they were equal to a destructive virus. During the World War II the Jews were of the wrong race. The ultimate evil which must be fought against rightly or wrongly is now Israel. And all Jews are Zionists!?

My aunt Lene, almost 90 years old, told me last week for the first time How lowly she and her family were treated by the Consul of Kingdom of the Netherlands in France, Where they fled to. How painful was the welcome when back in the Fatherland, bills to be paid for and possessions that were not given back, not to mention the survivors from the concentration camps who came in camps in the Netherlands again because they became stateless due to all misery.

Two weeks ago I heard the story during the unveiling of a monument in Venlo about Mr. Philip Cohen who was visited after the war by a bailiff because of an overdue waterbill. It was for the private house of Mr. Cohen, but because of a leakage in 1943 in synagogue. He was Jewish so he had to pay the due waterbill of the synagogue which was not used anymore, and there was any Jew left anymore to pay to bill. This is comparable with my liability for what could go wrong in Israel and for which I can be scorned. Of course we do not talk about the surrounding countries.

Still we read yesterday the weekly Parashah in which the High Priest Aaron had to lighten the menorah in the Temple, in all synagogues in the World. In that Parashah we are called of people of priests. We are a people of public servants, from everybody of us is expected a positive contribution to society will we really remain human beings. We human beings must kindle the lights bring light to banish darkness. Therefore it is of utmost importance that we, our children grandchildren and greatgrandchildren keep coming to this place to remember.

The names of 1269 children, my children, our children, are on this monument, a monument for children, one thousand two hundred and sixty nine names of murdered children. They died to early. It is incomprehensible and not acceptable.

When the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Joseph Jitschak Schneerson, stood in front of a KGB-agent, who threatened to execute him, he answered as follows: Death is threatening for those who think that after this, this earthly existence is over. But for those who know that there is also an afterlife after this earthly life, death is only a matter of change of place. The lights of the souls of our Children of the Children’s transport, will keep burning and fighting against the gloom of darkness. They are eternal, not to be abated, just like the eternal light in the Temple of Jeruzalem. Here at this monument the give us the light, pain and warnings, because only their bodies were taken away. Their souls, their neshommes could not be taken away by the enemy, not then, not now and not tomorrow! Here at this monument they will support us from higher worlds in the nearness of the Highest and remain us constantly of our duty to remain Human, also in dark times.


June 11, 2017 Chiefrabbi Binyomin Jacobs