Dutch king apologizes for behavior of great-grandmother during Holocaust

The king made his remarks during his annual speech at the national memorial ceremony to Dutch war victims in Amsterdam.

By World Israel News Staff

Dutch King Willem-Alexander acknowledged his “great-grandmother’s perceived indifference to the fate of Dutch Jews during the Holocaust,” during a Memorial Day speech on Monday, JTA reports.

He made his remarks during his annual speech at the national memorial ceremony to Dutch war victims in Amsterdam, the news wire reports.

Willem-Alexander referred to Queen Wilhelmina, who reigned for 58 years (1890 – 1948) longer than any other Dutch monarch. Although she was praised in the middle of World War II during her exile in London, she only mentioned the plight of Dutch Jews three times in her 48 radio speeches.

This was not an oversight. “The Dutch queen regularly filtered out mention of what was happening to Dutch Jewry from the speeches prepared by her speechwriter, while she spent the war safely in London,” writes Israeli pundit Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld, quoting Dutch journalist Hans Knoop.

The Netherlands saw the highest death rate of Jews in Western Europe – 75 percent of its 140,000 pre-war Jewish population was wiped out by the Nazis.

King Willem-Alexander is trying to make amends.

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“Fellow human beings felt abandoned, insufficiently heard, insufficiently supported, even with words,” Willem-Alexander said. “Also from London by my great-grandmother, despite her steadfast resistance [to the Nazis.] It’s something that won’t let go of me.”

In January, Willem-Alexander visited Yad Vashem, Israel’s official memorial to the victims of the Holocaust. He also attended the World Holocaust Forum in Jerusalem. Over 40 countries attended.

This year the King, Queen Maxima, and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte went to Poland to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau.

The Netherlands did have 5,778 Righteous Among the Nations, non-Jews who rescued Jews during the Holocaust.