It is very easy to judge in retrospect. It is true that the Dutch could have and should have done more for their Jewish neighbours. However when even speaking out about the Nazi regime could get you arrested and even killed, it is understandable that people were reluctant to act, To be honest I would have second thoughts .
Nanne Zwiep was a pastor of the Dutch Reformed Church in the town of Enschede. On Sunday 19 April 1942, during a sermon in church he spoke out against the Nazi regime and the persecution of Jews.
The following day he was arrested and after 5 months of interrogation in prison in Arnhem and Amersfoort he was transported to Dachau. On 24 November 1942, two months after his arrival at the camp, he died of exhaustion and malnutrition.
It had not been the 1st time he had spoke out against the Nazis . After an act of sabotage, the cutting of cables, the Nazis raided the town of Enschede on the night of 13/14 September 1941 where about 100 Jews were arrested as a retribution and were deported to Mauthausen, within a few weeks 64 of them were murdered.
Immediately after the raid the clergy of the churches in Enschede got together to voice their protest and demanded the release of the Jewish prisoners. Pastor Zwiep was sent as a representative of the clergy men to deliver the letter of protest in the Hague, to General Friedrich Christiansen. the supreme Commander of the Wehrmacht in the Netherlands. The protest was ignored.
After the death of Jewish Surgeon Julius van Dam in December 1941, Pastor Zwiep did not hold back his criticism about the Nazi regime in the Netherlands, he was convinced that the death of Surgeon Julius van Dam was caused by the terror committed to the Jews in the Netherlands.
His sermon on April 19,1942 must have been the last straw for the Nazi regime.
He died in Dachau on November 24,1942 because he voiced his opinion, not because he suggested to take up arms or endorses violent protests, no he only voiced his opinion and that was enough reason to be killed.
On May 1, 1945 the biggest scout group was named after Pastor Zwiep in his honour and to this day still carries his name.
Ending this blog with a quote by Pastor Zwiep.
“One conquers small things with humour and big things with faith”
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