Dutch who during the Second World War fought in the German Waffen-SS were involved in the murder of Jews in the Soviet Union. Historian Evertjan van Roekel has found evidence for this in their diaries. In Historisch Nieuwsblad (3 /2010),
Later in this article, number 2/2010 is mentioned, which very probably is the correct number.
Van Roekel demolishes the claims of Dutch eastern front veterans that they were just ordinary soldiers.
In the Dutch Institute for War Documentation (NIOD), Van Roekel studied diaries of Dutch people who fought in the SS-Division “Wiking“. In three of them he found shocking descriptions of massacres of Jews in the Soviet republic Ukraine. In and around the city of Tarnopol, Dutch soldiers participated on 4 and July 5, 1941, in torturing, shooting and burying Jews.
The Dutch SS men took the killings for granted. One of them wrote in his diary: “It will be obvious to everyone that we SS men act ruthlessly against the Jews.” Another one recalled: “How beautiful it was to see in Tarnopol a chief rabbi hanging from the tower of his synagogue, and then set fire to the synagogue. ” Also in Mariupol city, the SS went into a murderous frenzy. “Mariupol fell into our hands and the finest booty we had dreamed of was to get the 13,000 Jews who were living there into our fingers alive, but of course they did not come out of them alive.”
According to Van Roekel, the diaries shed new light on the Dutch eastern front soldiers’ share of the Holocaust. The claims of veterans, who say that they had heard only after the Second World War about the German crimes against the Jews and that those crimes then supposedly scared them, is invalidated by the diaries.
That historians are new to this evidence against Dutch SS soldiers is blamed by Van Roekel on the poor legibility of the diaries. “They were extremely difficult to decipher,” he says. “I’ve worked at that for months. This will probably be the reason why everyone, including renowned researchers, has not mentioned the passages about the gruesome murder of the Jews previously.”
For the complete article by Evertjan van Roekel, see Historisch Nieuwsblad No. 2, 2010, which appears on Thursday, February 25.
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