The percentage of Jews from the Netherlands and Poland killed in the Holocaust is staggering. Much more than in Belgium! Most of the Gentiles did nothing. There seems only one conclusion possible: they both were Europe’s worst anti-Semites.
However, the Poles and the Dutch have the greatest percentage of Gentiles in Nazi-occupied Europe that resisted the Nazis and especially helped Jews. There seems only one conclusion possible: they both were Europe’s best allies of Jews.
The above statements are both true. That, for some people, is hard to grasp. Let’s then put it like this:
- Most people in Poland and the Netherlands did nothing against the Holocaust.
- However, a small but significant number of Gentiles in both countries fought against the rounding up of Jews, AND
- A small but significant number of Gentiles in both countries collaborated with the Nazis if not outdid them.
- Don’t let anger about the minority of collaborators make you forget the exceptional heroes who risked their own lives to save Jews.
- Don’t let pride about the exceptional heroes make you forget the minority of collaborators who killed Jews as if they were vermin.
- And never forget that most Jews were killed by the majority’s indifference and silence:
A lack of caring enables all evil, including the Holocaust.” (Eli Wiesel). “The world is in greater peril from those who tolerate or encourage evil than from those who actually commit it.
Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: G-d will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.
- Pastor Dietrich Bonhöffer, a rare German church leader who kept speaking out against the Nazi regime
The road to Auschwitz was built by hate, but paved with indifference.
- Renowned Holocaust Scholar Sir Ian Kershaw
History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transformation was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people.”
- Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
Yet, there are still many differences between the Poles and the Dutch:
Anti-Semitism was much more obvious in Poland, which had much more Jews before the War, if only because the Dutch dislike noise and fanaticism.
The Nazis considered the Poles Untermenschen and the Dutch pure Aryans, and killed the former and tried to erase their culture.
The Dutch, after the War, never went out to kill Jews. Their Jew hatred was much more verbal – more sly and confusing but less fatal.
After the War, the Dutch were fond of Israel, as long as it was the underdog, while Poland under Soviet occupation was fed Communist anti-Semitism.
Despite all these differences, the above similarities stand. Try to remember that both peoples disliked Jews, were indifferent about their fate seeing them as foreign nuisances, that there were heroes and collaborators but that the vast majority enabled by doing nothing.
About my vision for the future, see: What do Germans, Poles and Japanese have to do with Arab Palestinians?
MM is a prolific and creative writer and thinker, an almost daily blog contributor to the Times of Israel, and previously, for decades, he was known to the Jerusalem Post readers as a frequent letter writer. He often makes his readers laugh, mad, or assume he's nuts—close to perfect blogging. He's proud that his analytical short comments are removed both from left-wing and right-wing news sites. *
As a frontier thinker, he sees things many don't yet. He's half a prophet. Half. Let's not exaggerate. He doesn't believe that people observe and think in a vacuum. He, therefore, wanted a broad bio that readers interested can track a bit about what (lack of) backgrounds, experiences, and education contribute to his visions. *
If you don't know the Dutch, get an American peek behind the scenes here: https://youtu.be/QMPp6h6r72M *
To find less-recent posts on subject XXX among his over 1600 archived ones, go to the right-top corner of a Times of Israel page, click on the search icon and search "zuiden, XXX". One can find a second, wilder blog, to which one may subscribe, here: https://mmvanzuiden.wordpress.com/. *
Like most of his readers, he believes in being friendly, respectful, and loyal. Yet, if you think those are his absolute top priorities, you might end up disappointed. His first loyalty is to the truth. He will try to stay within the limits of democratic and Jewish law, but he won't lie to support opinions or people who don't deserve that. He admits that he sometimes exaggerates to make a point, which could have him come across as nasty, while in actuality, he's quite a lovely person to interact with. He holds - how Dutch - that a strong opinion doesn't imply intolerance of other views. *
Sometimes he's misunderstood because his wide and diverse field of vision seldomly fits any specialist's box. But that's exactly what some love about him. He has written a lot about Psychology (including Sexuality and Abuse), Medicine (including physical immortality), Science (including basic statistics), Politics (Israel, the US, and the Netherlands, Activism), Oppression and Liberation (intersectionally, for young people, the elderly, non-Whites, women, workers, Jews, LGBTQIA+, foreigners and anyone else who's dehumanized or exploited), Integrity, Philosophy, Jews (Judaism, Zionism, Holocaust, and Jewish Liberation), the Climate Crisis, Ecology and Veganism, Affairs from the news, or the Torah Portion of the Week, or new insights that suddenly befell him. *
His most influential teachers (chronologically) are his parents, Nico (natan) van Zuiden and Betty (beisye) Nieweg, Wim Kan, Mozart, Harvey Jackins, Marshal Rosenberg, Reb Shlomo Carlebach, and, lehavdil bein chayim lechayim, Rabbi Dr. Natan Lopes Cardozo, Rav Zev Leff, and Rav Meir Lubin. *
One of his rabbis calls him Mr. Innovation [Ish haChidushim]. Yet, his originalities seem to root deeply in traditional Judaism, though they may grow in unexpected directions. In fact, he claims he's modernizing nothing. Rather, mainly basing himself on the basic Hebrew Torah text, he tries to rediscover classical Jewish thought almost lost in thousands of years of stifling Gentile domination and Jewish assimilation. (He pleads for a close reading of the Torah instead of going by rough assumptions of what it would probably mean and before fleeing to Commentaries.) This, in all aspects of life, but prominently in the areas of Free Will, Activism, Homosexuality for men, and Redemption. *
He hopes that his words will inspire and inform, and disturb the comfortable and comfort the disturbed. He aims to bring a fresh perspective rather than harp on the obvious and familiar. He loves to write encyclopedic overviews. He doesn't expect his readers to agree. Rather, original minds should be disputed. In short, his main political positions are among others: anti-Trumpism, anti-elitism, anti-bigotry and supremacy, for Zionism, Intersectionality, and non-violence, anti those who abuse democratic liberties, anti the fake ME peace process, for original-Orthodoxy, pro-Science, pro-Free Will, anti-blaming-the-victim, and for down-to-earth, classical optimism, and happiness. *
He is a fetal survivor of the pharmaceutical industry (https://diethylstilbestrol.co.uk/studies/des-and-psychological-health/), born in 1953 to parents who were Dutch-Jewish Holocaust survivors who met in the largest concentration camp in the Netherlands, Westerbork. He grew up a humble listener. It took him decades to become a speaker too. Bullies and con artists almost instantaneously envy and hate him. *
He holds a BA in medicine (University of Amsterdam) – is half a doctor. He practices Re-evaluation Co-counseling since 1977, is not an official teacher anymore, and became a friendly, empowering therapist. He became a social activist, became religious, made Aliyah, and raised three wonderful kids non-violently. For a couple of years, he was active in hasbara to the Dutch-speaking public. He wrote an unpublished tome about Jewish Free Will. He's being a strict vegan since 2008. He's an Orthodox Jew but not a rabbi. He lives with his library in Jerusalem. Feel free to contact him. *
His writing has been made possible by a (second-generation) Holocaust survivors' allowance from the Netherlands. It has been his dream since he was 38 to try to make a difference by teaching through writing. He had three times 9-out-of-10 for Dutch at his high school finals but is spending his days communicating in English and Hebrew - how ironic. G-d must have a fine sense of humor. In case you wonder - yes, he is a bit dyslectic. If you're a native English speaker and wonder why you should read from people whose English is only their second language, consider the advantage of having an original peek outside of your cultural bubble. *
To send any personal reaction to him, scroll to the top of the blog post and click Contact Me. *
His newest books you may find here: https://www.amazon.com/s?i=stripbooks&rh=p_27%3AMoshe-Mordechai%2FMaurits+van+Zuiden&s=relevancerank&text=Moshe-Mordechai%2FMaurits+van+Zuiden&ref=dp_byline_sr_book_1