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Few questions about collaboration of Dutch nationals with Nazis

Holocaust, Holocaust in the Netherlands, Netherlands, Holland, Jewish population, Nazi, Jewish Council, Abraham Asscher, David Cohen

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Few questions about collaboration of Dutch nationals with Nazis

These are few questions about the collaboration of Dutch nationals with Nazis. In an article titled ‘Suppressed stories of the Holocaust in the Netherlands’, which has been published on October 26, 2021, it is mentioned that 105,000 members of the total 140,000 Jewish population in the Netherlands were murdered during the Holocaust. Non-Jewish individuals received 7.50 guilders for reporting a Jew, and they did this enthusiastically. At that time, the Dutch government was administrated by the Nazis, while they created the Jewish Council, which had closely collaborated with the Nazis. Abraham Asscher, a Dutch Jewish businessman from Amsterdam, a politician, and a leader of his community who attained notoriety for his role during the German occupation of the Netherlands – used his power in sending Jews to Westerbork and to death camps.

Reading this extremely disturbing fact, being an investigative journalist who has been fighting anti-Semitism and Holocaust denials for decades, I asked a Dutch Jew to further elaborate how the Jews were traded by the non-Jewish population in the Netherlands and what was role of Dutch Jewish businessman Abraham Asscher in selling Jews to Nazis?

In reply, no one dared to utter even a word fearing further persecution and intimidation in Holland. Yes, in today’s Holland, which is supposed to be freed from the poisonous Jew-hatred, anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial.

According to information available on the internet, Abraham Asscher, a known Nazi collaborator, who hails from an extremely wealthy family in the Netherlands, survived his imprisonment at Bergen-Belsen and returned to Amsterdam after the end of the war. Aside from historian David Cohen, who also survived Theresienstadt concentration camp, all other members of the Jewish Council perished, including the Chief Rabbi of Amsterdam, Lodewijk Sarlouis.

In my opinion, the returns of Abraham Asscher and David Cohen clearly proves they were not imprisoned by the Nazi forces at all. Instead, they were working as collaborators.

As the Dutch government instituted investigations against Asscher and his colleague David Cohen into charges of collaboration, and a Joodsche Eereraad (Jewish Council of Honor or Community Tribunal) was also established to investigate wartime collaboration charges on behalf of the Jewish community.

It was particularly concerned with activity after 15 August 1942, a point from which, according to the accusers’ post-war perspective, it was considered obvious that the Joodse Raad was assisting in a mass-murder of Dutch Jews in German-occupied Poland’s Nazi extermination camps.

Here some historians made frantic bids in covering the notorious acts of Nazi cohorts in the Netherlands stating, the Nazi occupiers went to great lengths to conceal the fate of deported Jews from the Dutch population, including Dutch Jews and the Joodse Raad.

Although in 1947 the Council of Honor ruled to exclude Abraham Asscher and David Cohen from ever holding public office in the Dutch Jewish Community, while Asscher saw such charges as “unjust” and left the Jewish community. When Asscher died in 1950 in accordance with his wishes he was not buried in a Jewish cemetery, but instead at the Zorgvlied cemetery.

But in the same year, the Jewish community tribunal reversed and annulled its decree to exclude both Asscher and Cohen from official posts in the Jewish community, exonerating them completely.

The Dutch government, also followed the decision of the Jewish community and dropped all charges of its own the following year. Nazi collaborator Abraham Asscher has been officially exonerated of all charges.

At this point, one may ask – what was the mystery behind the Jewish community tribunal’s reversing and annulling its decree to exclusive Abraham Asscher and David Cohen from official posts in the Jewish community and exonerating them completely? Was it due to undue pressure from the non-Jewish community, or was it any under-table negotiation reached between the wealthy Asscher family (the diamond merchants) and the leaders of the Jewish community?

In his book, Hans Knoop described the role of Abraham Asscher and Joddse Raad stating: “They issued deportation notices and urged the Jews in Het Joodsche Weekblad to obey these summonses to the letter…Cohen declared after the war that ‘thanks to our efforts no Jew suffered from hunger in occupied Holland’. That is the case. But thanks to Asscher and Cohen the deportation of the Jews in the Netherlands achieved a greater measure of perfection and efficiency than anywhere else in occupied Europe”.

Jacob Presser’s history of the Holocaust in the Netherlands, Ondergang (Destruction, published in English as The Destruction of Sutch Jews, or Ashes in the Wind: The Destruction of Dutch Jews) has criticized Abraham Asscher and David Cohen, while balancing this with a defense of their “good intentions and courageous attempts” within “realities of their own perceived situation”, to “lessen Nazi measures”.

Jacob Presser stated firmly that: “No one has accused the two Presidents and the Jewish Council” of being collaborators in the strict sense of being corrupt and immoral willing tools of the Nazis, much less as partisans for them, as were the Dutch Nazis, Quislings, Petains and Francos, but the accusations after the war rather were about the degree to which they as victims had naively or mistakenly, despite their best efforts to preserve as much as they could, conceded too much to Nazi pressures to collect together and help to transport the Jewish community to unknown destinations in “the East”.

Jacob Presser, acknowledging that they sought to preserve as many as possible of the Jewish community by haggling numbers deported down as far as possible, even adds, “The Jewish Council played for time. Was that wrong? … Even the most unselfish people would surely have hesitated to shelter and hide Jews if they had known that their self-sacrifice would drag out over so many long years. And it has been said that had the war in fact ended in 1942 the Jewish community would have built a monument to Asscher and Cohen, as the brave and resourceful leaders by whose hands Dutch Jewry was saved”.

I could not find anyone in the Netherlands or any Dutch Jew in anywhere in the world, including Israel to comment on what Jacob Presser has mentioned in his book and his attempt of defending Abraham Asscher and David Cohen.

Another writer named Leni Yahil in her book titled The Holocaust: The Fate of European Jewry wrote: While Visser’s opposition to cooperation [of any kind whatsoever] with the Germans bespoke a political orientation”, (he had led a rival Jewish ‘Coordination Committee’ that the Nazis had disbanded, which had urged that the Jewish community resist any cooperation with the Nazis and only address itself to the Dutch government, which, (according to Yahil) ignored the fact that the heads of the Dutch administration were now carrying out orders issued by the Germans), Abraham Asscher and especially David Cohen invoked the humanitarian principle and believed it was necessary to negotiate with the Germans in order to mitigate the suffering of the Jews through intercession on their behalf. Thus, they essentially held to the approach that had been employed prior to the war to obtain aid for the refugees, except that now they were tending to the Jewish community as a whole.

No one is ready to comment on Leni Yahil’s statement.

The most disturbing fact is – the company owned by the infamous Abraham Asscher and his brother Joseph Asscher was awarded the Royal title by Queen Juliana of the Netherlands in 1980. The company currently is known as Koninklijke Asscher Diamant Maatschappij (Royal Asscher Diamond Company). Abraham Asscher’s grandson, Edward Asscher, is the current President of the company. His great-grandson Lodewijk Asscher was the Dutch Minister of Social Affairs and Employment until 2017.

There is no one to answer my question about royal patronization of a company owned by an individual who has collaborated with Nazis and sent over hundreds and thousands of Jews to Hitler’s death camps.

While I will continue to look for answers to my questions, I do understand the degree of fear and insecurity the Jewish population in the Netherlands or those Dutch Jews around the world are even facing today. For most of them, even addressing such questions would bring unimaginable miseries and sufferings. Still the world needs to know the truth, and unfortunately, in today’s world where majority of the media outlets have already sold their sold their souls to neo-Nazis or enemies of Jews and Israel would hate to touch these topics. They instead would make every effort and attempts in twisting fact and even molest the truth and finally join voice with the evils stating – Israel is not a Jewish country. Unfortunately, Israel and Jews are being deprived from the attention of the due attention of the media. And unfortunately, several so-called pro-Israel or pro-Jewish think tanks and media outlets in the Western countries are using their influence and efforts in promoting religious hatred instead of defending the Jews and the State of Israel.

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An internationally acclaimed multi-award-winning anti-militancy journalist, research-scholar, counter-terrorism specialist, and editor of Blitz. Follow his on Twitter Salah_Shoaib

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Johannes

    October 29, 2021 at 23:01

    Abraham Asscher was a Dutch Jewish businessman from Amsterdam. He has helped thousands of people during his entire life. Writer of this oped has tried to damage the image of respected Abraham Asscher. Don’t believe this writer.

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