April 9, 2013

Remembrance of the Dead gets unsavoury German flavour

Filed under: History by Orangemaster @ 11:04 am

Remembrance of the Dead on 4 May is respected to commemorate all kinds of civilians and soldiers who died in WWII, Dutch or foreign, but since the 1960s it has also included other wars and major conflicts. And like last year, the controversies are starting up again.

The town of Bronckhorst, Gelderland, near the German border wanted to commemorate German soldiers buried in nearby Vorden last year, but the courts shot them down at the very last minute. However, the town has won its appeal and can celebrate as they see fit, providing it is done ‘with care’. They plan on having an alderman walk along the German graves to commemorate, well, Nazis.

I still believe that paying tribute to Nazis is blurring the lines between the good guys and the bad guys of WWII solely to provoke and get media attention. Younger generations, including myself, are not old enough to grasp the intensity and damage of war in Europe at that time, and to act like everybody was a victim today is extremely distasteful at the very least.

As well, much like the run of comments we had about good things the Nazis did and a neighbourhood built for Nazis in Heerlen, Limburg, sure it’s allowed to talk about anything in a free country including Hitler and Nazis, but we don’t have to approve of what Bronckhorst is doing.

(Link: www.refdag.nl)

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May 1, 2012

Remembrance of the Dead gets controversial

Filed under: History,Literature by Orangemaster @ 11:29 pm

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.

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May 7, 2011

What have the Nazis ever done for you?

Filed under: History by Branko Collin @ 11:48 am

I grew up in Blerick, a town with a town hall but without the political body to inhabit it. See, in 1940 the town was added to the neighbouring city of Venlo by the Nazi occupier, which made the possession of a town hall moot.

Interestingly the previous municipality that Blerick belonged to, Maasbree, once had three different town halls, and the council would rotate among them until in 1904 the Blerick town hall was made the permanent one.

In celebration of Liberation day, daily De Pers summed up 6 of the changes the Nazis made that stuck:

  1. Child support (the Nazis wanted the Arian race to flourish)
  2. Corporate tax (funnily enough, these days our low corporate taxes make us a tax haven, according to the Berserker of Abbottabad)
  3. Central European Time (before that, we had our own sliver of a time zone)
  4. The Frisian islands of Vlieland and Terschelling (formerly of Noord Holland)
  5. Rent control and renter protection (including the right to live in a house forever)
  6. Job protection (including the right to keep a job forever)

In a number of these cases the occupier made into law what was already on the books. In other cases the law was kept because it made sense. For instance, with housing shortages being rather prominent after the war, it made eminent sense to protect renters from price gouging. In such cases the Germans had unwittingly produced both the diseases and the cures.

(Photo of the Blerick town hall by Wikimedia user Torval, some rights reserved)

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January 8, 2009

Town outlaws use of metal detectors in ‘war forest’

Filed under: General,History by Branko Collin @ 8:05 am

The municipality of Haren in Groningen is considering outlawing the use of metal detectors, Groninger Internet Courant reports (Dutch). The town council wants to prevent people from digging up corpses and ammunition in the Appelbergen forest, where the Nazis buried 34 people they shot in retribution. Fifteen of those victims were never found.

A spokesperson of the municipality told GIC.nl that “The police regularly discover treasure hunters who think its exciting to search the forest. Though the chance is small, we don’t want them to start digging and find human remains. There’s a much bigger possibility they will find ammunition, also because the forest is a practice area for the army. That could lead to dangerous situations.”

Photo of the Appelbergen war monument by Wikipedia user Lampje, some rights reserved.

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