State Secretary for Health, Welfare and Sport announces support for International Holocaust Memorial Day

State Secretary for Health, Welfare and Sport Marlies Veldhuijzen van Zanten has pledged to provide additional funding for the annual programme in the week of International Holocaust Memorial Day (27 January). At her request, the National 4 and 5 May Committee, which organises events on National Remembrance Day and Liberation Day, will also provide organisational support. This additional assistance comes in response to a request by the Dutch Auschwitz Committee.

Ms van Zanten informed the House of Representatives of her intention in a letter today. She views the Committee’s request as a call to keep alive the memory of the systematic annihilation of the Jewish, Sinti and Roma populations during the Second World War. Ms Van Zanten: ‘The moving accounts I have heard from survivors affirm my conviction that we must keep the stories of the Holocaust in our hearts and continue to pass them on to future generations. Never again.’

With this additional support, Ms Van Zanten attests to the continuing importance of remembering and commemorating the Holocaust prominently and solemnly in the Netherlands. 4 May will remain our National Remembrance Day, but ‘because of the unprecedented, industrial scale of the Holocaust it is important to reflect separately on this episode in international history’. Like the special remembrance day for the Dutch East Indies (liberated on 15 August 1945), Holocaust Memorial Day reinforces our knowledge and awareness of everything we commemorate on 4 May.

Ms Van Zanten also believes there are opportunities to involve young people in remembering and reflecting on the Second World War in an international perspective. To that end, she has asked the National Youth Council (NJR) to devote attention to remembrance. An NJR survey, commissioned by the state secretary, shows that young people feel that commemoration is meaningful to them.