Dutch school stalls Holocaust monument over vandalism fears

A Dutch school has reportedly stalled or cancelled plans to build a Holocaust memorial monument due to fears of vandalism from the local community

by The Commentator on 31 May 2013 17:52

Schilderswijk

A Dutch school that survived Nazi occupation during the Second World War has reportedly halted its plan to create a memorial plaque due to fear of the local Muslim community reaction.

The Paul Kruger high school in The Hague, Netherlands, prepared a design for a plaque honouring Jewish children who were murdered during the Holocaust but according to one of the teachers, Muslims living in the neighborhood argued that memorial would be unacceptable.

The school was eager to play down the suggestion about religious tensions, with Gerard Brasjen, a spokesman for the Paul Kruger School, telling the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that the Christian-affiliated school’s board had discussed a plan to place a commemorative plaque on the school facade, but the plan stalled “not because of the Jewish-Muslim issue but because it may not be wise in the neighborhood, which is not a peaceful place.”

Last week, the De Telegraaf daily reported that the school dropped the plan following objections by local residents who said a Holocaust plaque might not be acceptable to some members of Schilderswijk’s sizable Muslim population. A sign advertising an exhibition about the school’s Jewish history also had to be placed inside for fear of upsetting locals, a co-organiser of the event told De Telegraaf.

Before the Holocaust, the building of the Paul Kruger School, in the Schilderswijk neighborhood, housed the Joodsch Lyceum, a Jewish high school.

During the Nazi occupation, the Paul Kruger high school was a place for Jewish children that had to leave their other schools because of Nazi orders. The school was regarded as a safe haven for many children.

The Center for Information and Documentation on Israel, a Hague-based watchdog on anti-Semitism, wrote in a statement Monday that “it seems that the school feared there would be protests,” but “there is little reason to fear violence against memorial monuments for Jewish children in the area.”

Earlier this month, Schilderswijk became national news after a Dutch newspaper reported that part of the neighborhood had become a “Sharia triangle” that police dare not enter.

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