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Dutch Red Cross apologises for doing 'little or nothing' to help Jews in WWII

The Dutch Red Cross has issued “deep apologies” after a report it commissioned into its wartime conduct found that it had done “little or nothing” to help Jews in the Netherlands persecuted by Nazi occupiers.

    Members of the Eindhoven Resistance, September 1944 (Wikipedia Commons)
    Members of the Eindhoven Resistance, September 1944 (Wikipedia Commons)

    The Dutch Red Cross has issued “deep apologies” after a report it commissioned into its wartime conduct found that it had done “little or nothing” to help Jews in the Netherlands persecuted by Nazi occupiers.

    The four-year report was undertaken by the Regina Grueter of the NIOD Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide studies. Her work has been published as a new book called "Questions of Life and Death: The Netherlands Red Cross in the Second World War".

    "The central board of the Red Cross in The Hague, bluntly put… abandoned the Jewish population," Ms Grueter said regarding her research.

    "On the one hand it… clearly unwillingly, carried out anti-Jewish measures of the occupiers. On the other hand, it did little or nothing to help Jews."

    There were approximately 140,000 Jews living in the Netherlands when the Nazis occupied the country in 1940. Over the next five years, more than 90,000 were murdered, including Anne Frank, the teenage girl whose wartime diary would go on to be translated into more than 60 languages.

    Inge Brackman, the chairwoman of the medical organisation, referred to the wartime period as “a black stain on the pages of our 150-year history.”

    She added that the organisation had “offered our deep apologies to the victims and their relatives.”

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