Amsterdam: Angry Locals don't Want Holocaust Monument


Amsterdam leaders will reconsider location as residents plead 'not in my garden.'

Plans for a Holocaust monument in Amsterdam have been put on hold after angry neighbors told the city it is too large for the park where it was to have been built. Edwin Oppedijk, a spokesman for the city's central district, said that after hearing the complaints, politicians will reconsider whether to place the monument in the Wertheim Park or find an alternative location.

At a public information evening on Tuesday, neighbors shouted that the plan was "ridiculous" and on Wednesday opposition banners were hung at the proposed site. One sign read "trees, not buses" — implying the memorial would reduce green space and bring unwanted tourists to the Wertheim Park in the central Amsterdam area where many Jews once lived.

Libeskind's design, somewhat reminiscent of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., includes walls displaying the names of 102,000 victims.

During World War II, the occupied Netherlands deported most of its Jewish population to die in Nazi concentration camps. Although the country has a monument to all war dead, and the Wertheim Park itself has a small monument to victims of Auschwitz, there is no grave or other public monument bearing the names of Holocaust victims, including Roma or Jews such as Anne Frank, who died in Bergen-Belsen.

"Nobody is against having a Holocaust monument, but they all say 'not in my garden,'" said Jacques Grishaver, chairman of the country's Auschwitz Committee, which originally launched the project in 2007.

"I hope the city says: 'we're standing by the plan.'"

Reuben Vis, a Jewish leader, said he opposes the monument because he thinks it is too big, too expensive and poorly designed.

"The last thing you want to do is put a Holocaust monument in a place where people are opposed to having it," he said.


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