Netherlands cabinet approves new measure criminalizing Holocaust, genocide denial

23 percent of Millennials and Generation Z, and 12 percent of all respondents, believe the Holocaust is a myth or that the number of Jews killed has been largely exaggerated.

By The Algemeiner

The Dutch cabinet on Friday agreed on a new measure that will criminalize denying, trivializing or condoning the Holocaust, along with other genocides, with offenders facing a maximum prison sentence of one year.

Announcing the decision, the Netherlands Minister of Justice, Dilan Yeşilgöz, expressed concern that “denial of these kinds of heinous crimes against humanity is the order of the day.”

Yeşilgöz said that the revival of the “monster of antisemitism” could not go unanswered “because the lesson of the Holocaust is not a history lesson. This is also about the here and now. It is about discrimination, exclusion and ultimately: destruction. It’s about humanity and compassion.”

He continued: “It’s about good and evil, and raising your voice when you see one turn into the other. Let us continue to tell these stories, now that the victims of these crimes are less and less able to do it themselves. Not timid and whispering, but confident and full of conviction.”

A statement from the Dutch cabinet separately explained that “with this specific criminal law prohibition, the government is implementing European obligations to explicitly criminalize certain forms of public condoning, denial or far-reaching downplaying of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.”

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The ban comes during a year when education experts have expressed concern about the growing phenomenon of denying or downplaying the Holocaust in Dutch schools.

In January, a survey conducted by the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany revealed that 23 percent of Millennials and Generation Z, and 12 percent of all respondents, believe the Holocaust is a myth or that the number of Jews killed has been largely exaggerated — a figure that was higher in the Netherlands than in any country previously surveyed.

Another survey conducted among school teachers by the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam the following month revealed that 42 percent of respondents said they had been confronted with antisemitic rhetoric and the trivialization of the Holocaust in their classrooms.