International Justice

CJ354 Endicott College

Amsterdam to mark Jews’ WWII homes

This post follows along something which I talked about in class a month or two ago. Essentially in Amsterdam, the May 4-5 Committee (named for when the Netherlands were liberated in 1945) is asking residents of houses that were owned by Jewish owners before World War II to post a poster saying, “1 of the 21,662 houses where Jews lived who were murdered in World War II.’’ To find out if their home was once owned by a Jewish family, they can look on the website to see if their house once was. This is a form of temporary memorialization in the sense that the posters will not be up there indefinitely whereas a plaque on the side of the building is more likely to stay up for decades. In the cities of Hamburg, Berlin, Bonn, Bremen, Essen, Frankfurt in Germany, there has been a program called Stolpersteine, which essentially consists of bronze plaques embedded into the sidewalk outside of the houses and workplaces of Jewish people of the city. This form of memorialization is as good as a plaque on the side of the building but it also improves upon that by being more in your face in terms of memorializing those lost.


2 responses to “Amsterdam to mark Jews’ WWII homes

  1. umassastick April 25, 2011 at 12:30 am

    I think this is a really innovative way of recognizing the people who were affected during the Holocaust. As I mentioned in class, I got to visit some of the sites in Europe which are dedicated to the Jews who were either killed or displaced during the Nazi regime, but I didn’t see anything like this. That being said, I feel like this could be received either really well or really poorly depending on who lives in the houses now. That is to say, although I assume it will not be a problem in most cases since we are talking about Amsterdam, there’s no way to tell how people will react to having a poster put up outside their house. For one thing, they might not want the attention that might come from the poster– even worse, they might disagree with this type of memorialization because it is a little bit on the blatant side. I mean, I would think most people would embrace it or at least not mind having the poster outside of their home but there are also people who just want to forget it ever happened (and even still, those who deny it did happen at all). In all, I’m just curious to see how the community will receive the idea.

  2. marinagans April 25, 2011 at 3:10 pm

    This is incredible. I visited the former Jewish section of Amsterdam this summer and can visualize in my head what this will look like. I think this is an excellent form of memorization. It will help those who reside in these homes as well as neighbors and tourists(as Amsterdam is a hugely touristy place) imagine what once went on in these houses, and more importantly the Nazi’s tried desperately to de-humanize there victims, to remove there purpose for living and make them unknown. With this form of memorials you know names and and you give an identity to the victim, never to be forgotten. Also Amsterdam is widely known for the Ann Frank house however most people tend to forget the thousands of other Jewish people among other kinds of people who hid from the Nazis in Amsterdam, and were found and deported to camps, this is a good way to help people remember all the victims that have previously been unknown.

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