The ceremony, held at the former children’s concentration camp in Vucht, was an annual event held to remember the last transport of children to Poland where they were sent to death camps.
The ceremony remembers the 3,000 Dutch children who were taken from their parents and sent to be murdered by the Nazis in places in the death camps. There were several convoys from Vucht to the death camps located in Germany and Poland. For example, in June 1943, hundreds of Jewish children were sent to the Sobibor extermination camp. There were also transportation of Jews to death camps in November 1943 and June 1944. In July, as the Allied forces approached the camp, the number of executions increased dramatically.
Holland's Chief Rabbi Binyomin Jacobs was giving a speech in memory of those who died when the bikers shouted their obscene comments. After pausing for a few moments, Rabbi Jacobs, a senior member of the Rabbinical Centre of Europe (RCE), an organization dedicated to the spiritual and religious needs of European Jewry, carried on with his speech, recited Kaddish (a memorial prayer) and then held a two minute silence.
Rabbi Jacobs expressed outrage at the comments, but said that they were a pertinent lesson for the participants at the memorial. “I was shocked to hear the words ‘Heil Hitler’ in the middle of my speech, especially at such a memorial service,” Rabbi Jacobs said. “However, in a certain way I was pleased it happened as it was an important lesson for those present.”
“We continued the memorial service as if nothing happened but the unspoken message was that we should be cognizant to the continuing threat of anti-Semitism. Nevertheless, we should carry on with our lives and not let the anti-Semites win.”
The event was attended by many prominent Dutch officials including Gerdi Verbeet, President of the Dutch House of representatives, Rabbi Menachem Sebbag, Chief Chaplain of the Dutch army, the secretary general of the Inter Provencial Chief Rabbinate (IPOR) and many other dignitaries.
The local police were alerted and are looking into the issue.
This is just the latest anti-Semitic incident in Holland. Only last week the doors of the 280 year old Synagogue in Amersfoort, the town where Rabbi Jacobs resides, were smeared with red paint. As a result of the event, the Mayor of Amersfoort, Albertina Van Vliet, expressed her shock and concern. However, no arrests have been made.
According to research released earlier in the year, anti-Semitism has dramatically risen in recent years.