Moshe-Mordechai van Zuiden
Psychology, Medicine, Science, Politics, Oppression, Integrity, Philosophy, Jews

The Dutch, the Poles and the Holocaust

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.


  1. Don’t let anger about the minority of collaborators make you forget the exceptional heroes who risked their own lives to save Jews.
  2. Don’t let pride about the exceptional heroes make you forget the minority of collaborators who killed Jews as if they were vermin.
  3. 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.

  • Albert Einstein

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?

About the Author
The author is a fetal survivor of the pharmaceutical industry (DES - Diethylstilbestrol), born in 1953 to two Dutch Holocaust survivors who met in the largest concentration camp in the Netherlands, Westerbork, and holds a BA in medicine (University of Amsterdam). He taught Re-evaluation Co-counseling, became a social activist, became religious, made Aliyah, and raised three wonderful kids. He wrote an unpublished tome about Jewish Free Will. He's a vegan for 8 years now. * 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 lehavdiel bein chayim lechayim: Rabbi Dr. Natan Lopes Cardozo and Rav Zev Leff. * Previously, for decades, he was known to the Jerusalem Post readers as a frequent letter writer. For a couple of years he wrote hasbara for the Dutch public. His fields of attention now are varied: Psychology (including Sexuality and Abuse), Medicine (including physical immortality), Science, Politics (Israel, the US and the Netherlands, Activism - more than leftwing or rightwing, he hopes to highlight Truth), Oppression and Liberation (intersectionally, for young people, the elderly, non-Whites, women, workers, Jews, GLBTQAI, foreigners and anyone else who's dehumanized or exploited), Integrity, Philosophy, Jews (Judaism, Zionism, Holocaust and Jewish Liberation), Ecology and Veganism. Many people can't understand or like him because he has such a wide vision that he never fits any specialist's box. But that exactly what others love about him. Many of his posts relate to affairs from the news or the Torah Portion of the Week or are new insights that suddenly befell him. * He hopes that his words will inspire and inform, reassure the doubters but make the self-assured doubt more. He strives to bring a fresh perspective rather than bore you with the obvious. He doesn't expect his readers to agree. Rather, original minds must be disputed. In short, his main political positions are: anti-Trumpism, for Zionism, Intersectionality, non-violence, democracy, anti the fake peace process, for original-Orthodoxy, Science, Free Will, anti blaming-the-victim and for down-to-earth optimism. Read his blog how he attempts to bridge any discrepancies. He admits sometimes exaggerating to make a point, which could have him come across as nasty, while in actuality, he's quit a lovely person to interact with. He holds - how Dutch - that a strong opinion doesn't imply intolerance of other views. * His writing has been made possible by an allowance for second generation Holocaust survivors 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. November 13, 2018, he published his 500st blog post with the ToI. * He likes doing age-appropriate and age-inappropriate things and looks forward to getting to know his timeless mature out-of-the-box soul mate. * To send any personal reaction to him, scroll to the top of the blog post and click Contact Me.
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