The Netherlands opens a Holocaust museum. The presence of the Israeli president raises concern

AMSTERDAM (AP) — The Netherlands' National Holocaust Museum opened Sunday in a ceremony presided over by the Dutch king and Israeli President Isaac Herzog, whose presence sparked protests over Israel's actions. A deadly attack on the Palestinians in Gaza.

the Museum in Amsterdam It tells the stories of some of the 102,000 Jews deported from the Netherlands and murdered in Nazi camps, as well as the history of their structural persecution under German occupation in World War II before the deportations began.

Sunday's ceremony comes against the backdrop of devastating Israeli attacks on Gaza following deadly incursions by Hamas into southern Israel on October 7.

Thousands of pro-Palestinian demonstrators gathered amid tight security measures in Waterloo Square in central Amsterdam, near the museum and the synagogue. They waved Palestinian flags, chanted against the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories and demanded an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.

Protest leaders stressed that they were protesting Herzog's presence, not the museum and what commemorates him.

“For us Jews, these museums are part of our history, of our past,” Joanna Cavaco, an anti-war activist with the Jewish group Erev Rav, said, addressing the crowd before the ceremony. She added: “How can such a sacred place be used to normalize genocide today?”

Three-quarters of Dutch Jews were among the 6 million Jews murdered by the Nazis, the largest proportion of any country in Europe.

Dutch King Willem-Alexander and Herzog will visit the famous Portuguese Synagogue in Amsterdam and open the museum. The ceremony will also be attended by Austrian President Alexander van der Bellen, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, and German Federal Council President Manuela Schwiesig, along with Jewish leaders from around the world.

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Herzog was among the Israeli leaders cited in an order issued by the Supreme Council in January United Nations court Israel must do everything in its power to prevent death and destruction and anything Acts of genocide in Gaza. He accused the International Court of Justice of distorting his comments in the ruling. Israel has strongly rejected claims made by South Africa in the lawsuit that the military campaign in Gaza violates the Genocide Convention.

“I am disgusted by the way they distorted my words, using very partial and fragmented quotes, with the aim of supporting a baseless legal dispute.” Herzog saiddays after the ruling.

A Dutch pro-Palestinian organization, the Rights Forum, described Herzog's presence as “a slap in the face to Palestinians who can only watch helplessly as Israel kills their loved ones and destroys their land.”

In a statement issued before the opening of the Jewish Cultural District on Sunday the museum She said she was “deeply concerned about the war and the consequences that this conflict has had, first and foremost on the citizens of Israel, Gaza and the West Bank.”

“It is even more disturbing that the National Holocaust Museum is opening while the war continues to rage,” she said. “This makes our mission even more urgent.”

The museum is located in a former teachers' training college that was used as a secret escape route to help about 600 Jewish children escape the clutches of the Nazis.

Exhibits include a prominent photograph of a boy walking past corpses in Bergen-Belsen after the liberation of the concentration camp, and mementos from the lives lost: a doll, an orange dress made of parachute material, and a set of 10 buttons excavated on the camp grounds. Sobibor camp.

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The walls of one room are covered with the texts of hundreds of laws that discriminated against Jews and were enacted by the German occupiers of the Netherlands, to show how the Nazi regime, with the help of Dutch civil servants, dehumanized Jews before their arrests.

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