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Yad Vashem Responds to Remarks Made by Wife of President of European Central Bank

12 January 2003

Yad Vashem strongly objects to the comparison between Israeli activities in the territories and Nazi actions during World War II made by Gretta Duisenberg, wife of the president of the European Central Bank.

In its Friday edition, Dutch newspaper Algemeen Dagblad quoted Duisenberg during her visit last week to the Palestinian Authority: “The Holocaust excepted, the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories is worse than the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands.” Duisenberg added that while the Israelis blow up Palestinian homes, the Nazis “never went so far during the Nazi occupation.”

Yad Vashem rejects this comparison in no uncertain terms and wonders whether it was made out of sheer ignorance or blatant antisemitism.

“Duisenberg should have educated herself about those violent chapters in Dutch history before making senseless comparisons,” says Chairman of the Yad Vashem Directorate, Avner Shalev, “including the collaboration of the Dutch police and railway workers-among others-who knowingly assisted the Nazis in sending tens of thousands of innocent Dutch Jews, to the gas chambers.”

“Any attempt to differentiate between the Holocaust and the Nazis is both artificial and absurd,” says Yad Vashem’s Chief Historian Professor Dan Michman. He adds that the Nazis did not blow up Dutch homes during the German occupation because “the Nazis simply murdered dozens of Dutch hostages each time there was resistance to the occupation, not to mention the deplorable Nazi activities throughout the rest of Europe.”