Dutch city renames park named for mayor who betrayed Jews to the Nazis

There were 250 Jews on the list given to the Nazis, and by 1951, only 27 remained in the city


A Dutch city has renamed a park that was named in honour of a wartime mayor who gave a list of Jews living in the area to the Nazis.

The municipality of Hoogeveen renamed Mayor Tjalma Park last month, news site reports changing the name to "Municipal Park."

The city is located approximately 80 miles northeast of the Dutch capital of Amsterdam, and has a population of about 55,000 people.

Jetze Tjalma had been mayor of Hoogeveen for 30 years until around 1958. A local historian discovered in 2020 that he was the first mayor in Nazi-occupied Holland to give a list of local Jews to the Nazis following the invasion in 1940.

(ABOVE: Jetze Tjalma pictured circa 1935)

There were around 250 on the list given to the Germans. By 1951, only 27 Jews resided in Hogeveen, according to the Jewish Historical Museum of Amsterdam.

According to Brand van Rijn, a local politician whose party, SGP, initiated the research into Tjalma’s record, the list was shared with the Nazis voluntarily.

Tjalma was considered an excellent mayor by the town's residents according to broadcaster RTV. The park was named for him a short while after his death in 1985.

SGP has reportedly spent years lobbying for a more critical approach to Tjalma’s record.

Under Tjalma’s mayorship, the city paved a road over part of the local Jewish cemetery a number of years after World War II. It was only returned to Jewish hands in 2019, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA) reports.

The Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies, based in Amsterdam, reportedly confirmed earlier this year the research done in Hogeveen by local historian Albert Metselaar, which prompted the move to change the park’s name on July 26.

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