Oud-verzetsstrijders dagen Duitse generaal uit voor gesprek na bezoek aan nazibegraafplaats | OPEN LETTER TO GENERAL TORSTEN GERSDORF

By webmaster19 juli 2018Laatste nieuws, Pers, Tweede wereldoorlog

NIJMEGEN, 19 juli 2018 – De bond van oud-verzetsstrijders AFVN-BvA daagt in een open brief de Duitse generaal Torsten Gersdorf uit voor een gesprek op vrijdag. Aanleiding is Gersdorfs omstreden bezoek aan nazibegraafplaats Ysselsteyn (Venray), afgelopen maandag. Het steekt de AFVN vooral dat de generaal de Holocaust niet noemde.

Morgen is het 20 juli, de dag waarop in 1944 een aantal Wehrmacht-officieren onder leiding van graaf von Stauffenberg een aanslag op Hitler pleegden, die echter mislukte. De Duitse overheid herdenkt deze dag door halfstok te vlaggen van alle overheidsgebouwen.

Generaal Gersdorf nam maandag ondanks Duitse, Franse en Nederlandse protesten toch deel aan de kranslegging voor de nazidoden op Ysselsteyn door de Bundeswehr. Ook de Duits-Franse nazi-jagers Beate en Serge Klarsfeld protesteerden vanuit Parijs tegen dit bezoek. De reden voor de bezwaren is dat de generaal en zijn 400 mannen daar kransen leggen en salueren en zodoende de 31.000 nazisoldaten, SS-ers en zware Nederlandse verraders en oorlogsmisdadigers eren, zo stellen de bezwaarmakers.

Onder de nazidoden onder meer een man als Antonie van Dijk, Jodenjager en politiecommissaris van Nijmegen, verantwoordelijk voor de deportatie van 500 Nijmeegse Joden. Er liggen verder ongeveer 6.000 SS-ers en zo’n 500 Nederlandse verraders, beulen en oorlogsmisdadigers.

Ook aan het gesprek neemt deel prof mr Herman Loonstein, de voorzitter van Federatief Joods Nederland, en verder woordvoerder Arthur Graaff van de AFVN-BvA en bestuursleden van de bond.

De generaal en zijn mannen nemen deel aan de Vierdaagse en ‘misbruiken’  volgens de protesteerders de gelegenheid voor dit ‘kwetsende en grievende’ bezoek, zo menen de bezwaarmakers.

Ook wijzen de protesterende organisaties, waaronder ook de Europese koepel van verzetsstrijders FIR uit Berlijn, dat alle voorstanders van zulke bezoeken steevast vermijden de Holocaust te noemen, terwijl het juist om de ‘ongekende terreur en de Holocaust’ gaat, wat de nazi’s onderscheidt.

De bezwaarmakers stuurden ruim een week terug brandbrieven aan de Duitse minister van Defensie, dr Ursula von der Leyen. Zij wijzen erop dat er geen enkele noodzaak bestaat voor het eren van wat zij aanduiden als ‘medeplichtigen van de Holocaust’. De minister heeft niet gereageerd.
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OPEN LETTER TO GENERAL TORSTEN GERSDORF

Concerning his honouring Nazis, SS-men and Dutch war criminals on the Nazi-cemetery of Ysselsteyn on 16th of July 2018

Why do you honour Nazis, SS-men and Dutch traitors and war criminals?

Sir,
To our great regret and sadness, we have seen you honouring Nazis, SS-men and very serious Dutch war criminals on the Nazi-cemetery of Ysselsteyn on 16th of July 2018. You have attended a wreath laying of your Bundeswehr on that day and you have saluted the dead perpetrators of terror and the Holocaust. In the published interview, you do not once mention the Holocaust. We do absolutely not understand how you omit this.
We do not appreciate at all that you will not take into regard the sadness and pain this evokes among us the family relations, friends and descendants of the victims of these Nazis, SS-men and Dutch war criminals and traitors. Our organisation counts among its members a number of sons, daughters and other relations of very serious victims of the Nazi-crimes.
We stress, that the Nazi-dead in Ysselsteyn have all aided and abetted in some way or other, the Nazi terror towards the Dutch and the Holocaust. They have all died in this capacity, most of them even bearing the swastika still on their uniforms.
Of course, you have no business saluting the Dutch war criminals buried here. Please explain to us why you feel to be in a position to raise your hand in honour of for instance the Nimwegen police commissioner and Jew hunter Antonie van Dijk. one of our dead lying in Ysselsteyn , which is Dutch territory, and who was instrumental in the deportation of the 500 Nimwegen Jews and so in their murder.
It struck us as particularly unsensitive on your part, that you did not mention the Nazi-terror and Holocaust in your comments, both of which are unforgiveable. This omission in the best case, or conscious negation, is what we find the most hurting.
Your brazen action was totally unnecessary in our view.
Can you explain why it has become necessary? Have you thought about discussing this beforehand with us or other Dutch groups of victims or their descendants? We know of no initiative on your part.
You action has contributed seriously to complicating the relations between the Dutch and the Germans. Must we conclude, that all German soldiers now support your stance that all Nazi dead can be saluted?
We have set out, in an action that started in March, what our position was and is. Please inform us, which part you do not understand.
Just to be sure, we repeat our principle: nowhere and never can Nazis be honoured, honourably remembered or otherwise made part of any ceremony, that may be misunderstood to disregard the Nazi-terror and the Holocaust. Do not forget, the 31,000 Nazis, SS-men and Dutch war criminals you have saluted, are not only co-responsible for the Holocaust, but also for the total of the 275,000 Dutch war dead.
We stress that we are also very concerned that the Bundeswehr sees it as opportune to go against the spirit of Dr Ursula von der Leyen’s March ruling that the BW should distance itself from anything Nazi, as a reaction to the Neonazi scandals in several of your barracks that came to light last year. Of course, the actions of the BW on Ysselsteyn come in a time that Neonazism and extreme right are on the rise, especially in Germany. And now your BW is performing exactly the same ceremonies on Ysselsteyn that Neonazis also like to perform, and from time to time do perform…. We also point to the fact that the end of conscription invariably means that the army becomes more rightist.
You cannot in any way, in our country, ever salute Dutch war criminals or traitors from the Nazi-period. You have even saluted the first Dutchman to voluntarily enlist in the SS, Willem Heubel. Our estimate is that there are some 2,000 Dutch SS-men buried here. We do hope you will not try to pardon these traitor and war criminals on the grounds that they were ‘only’ in the Waffen-SS, because it is well-known that the Waffen-SS structurally performed mass murders and other war crimes on the eastern front, and had the task of eliminating Jews, communists and intellectuals there. Which they did. All Dutch Waffen-SS had to serve om the Eastern front.
We urge you to meet up with us so we can discuss the matter, if you dare – as you have dared to salute Dutch war criminals as a guest of the town of Nimwegen, the province of Gelderland and the state of the Netherlands, surely you will not be afraid of meeting with a few elderly descendants of resistants and Nazi-victims?
Our delegation will consist of

Prof mr H. Loonstein,
lawyer, chairman of Federatief Joods Nederland

Mr. P. van Griensven,
treasurer of the Dutch Anti-fascist and Former Resistance Fighters’ League AFVN-BvA

Mr S. Lespoir,
alderman of the town of Landgraaf in Limburg, member of the Dutch Anti-fascist and Former Resistance Fighters’ League AFVN-BvA

Mr. Arthur E.A.J. Graaff,
nat. spokesman for the Dutch Anti-fascist and Former Resistance Fighters’ League AFVN-BvA, son of a decorated resistance fighter, cousin of a decorated Dachau murder victim