Remembrance of the Dead gets controversial
First, there was the banning of a poem about a teenage boy’s SS uncle deemed inappropriate to be read at the annual Amsterdam ceremony, now the town of Vorden, Gelderland, which has one of the only graves in the Netherlands with German soldiers buried in it that wants to commemorate them. Basically, it’s fashionable to blur the lines between victim and perpetrator: it’s cool to be on the wrong side of things. And there’s so much bad taste going around these days, you need to pick your battles.
The Remembrance of the Dead on 4 May is to commemorate civilians and soldiers of all kinds who died in WWII, Dutch or foreign, but since the 1960s it has also included other wars and major conflicts. The boy’s poem was also meant to commemorate a Dutch volunteer who ended up on the wrong side of things, but after much commotion from Jewish organisations and the public at large, it was pulled. The teenager did well in winning a contest with his poem, but it’s too bad he’s being dragged in the mud for it. Only one line of the poem points to the man being on the German side, it’s not a big pro-Nazi rant or anything.
However, paying tribute to German soldiers flat out is losing the plot in my opinion. Or amnesia. Or dementia.