Today April 27, 2016, is King’s Day in The Netherlands, that is to say it is the birthday of King Willem-Alexander. For more than 100 years this was Queen’s Day in Holland so this is a new thing for me. This is what it looks like Amsterdam. Joyous bedlam.
I forgot how close the day is to the remembrance of Liberation Day on May 5. These days Memorial and Liberation are remembered on 4 and 5 May, next week, with a huge number of events and tens of thousands of visitors. I hope to be in Jerusalem, where it will be Yom Hasho’ah on May 5. Celebration and Remembrance walk side by side.
How we remember appropriately is not always easy to determine. Here in Holland children interview people who still remember the liberation from war in 1945. There are long processions, flowers are placed at memorial sites, discussions, films and concerts, debates; all take place in the context of remembering.
The last photo in this post is of German soldiers during the war admiring the monkeys in the Amsterdam Zoo, Artis, where unbeknownst to them Jewish citizens were hiding.
I thought of the column “A Time of Bullies” by Roger Cohen in the New York Times of April 1, 2016, who observed:
“I feel a great unease. We have embarked on the 21st century with the painful yet essential knowledge of the last one slipping from us. Last month some American Jews cheered a dangerous demagogue. Two thousand years ago Hillel admonished us: “If I am not for myself, who will be for me? But if I am only for myself who am I? If not now, when?” It is incumbent on all the inheritors of the silence of the lost to raise their voices against the barbarians and bullies before it is too late.”