dinsdag 31 mei 2016


To recall what anti-Semitism and Holocaust may mean for Jews is not easy. Such we could experience once more during the last few weeks after comments by Ken Livingstone (“Hitler was a Zionist”), the fuss around Abou Jahjah and unhappy reactions from Leon de Winter.

Who in my opinion sets a good tone, is the historian Auke Kok. Probably that has to do with the absence of any stereotyping of Jews which he presents in his columns. While in commemoration texts quite often there is a reverent kind of whispering about the victims; and where with Leon de Winter it always turns into good guys versus bad guys – with predictably Jews in the role of first – ; there Kok  just paints real-life people.

Thus he wrote on the occasion of the commemoration of the Amsterdam Februarystrike of 1941 about the fighting culture in poor Jewish neighborhoods in the twenties and thirties. There were Jewish “boxers, weightlifters and wrestlers: street boys who formed gangs in the war. With everything that was hard and sharp they beated on the WA. Because, also when it comes to Jews, not all of them were – or are – sweethearts, really”.

And on the occasion of May 4, Liberation Day, he presented Han Hollander. Hollander was since the thirties a nationally known football commentator, who in 1936 had enthusiastically reported on the Olympic Games in Berlin for the Dutch radio. In return he had received an expression of thanks, signed by the Fuehrer himself , that at Hollander’s home hung on the wall and on the basis of which he imagined to be protected against transport. Until he and his wife were arrested in July 1942 and killed in Sobibor.

Auke Kok reduces victims to the correct human proportions. Jews were and are ni ange ni bête. They are just people with all the habits and bad habits that come with it.

And indeed, also such people simply want to live in a safe country.

Also see Countries without borders