A new monument, the 'Gates of Remembrance', consisting of five columns, has been unveiled at the German war cemetery in Ysselsteyn, Limburg, in memory of all victims of the Nazi regime in the Netherlands during the Second World War. The monument, initiated by the director of the cemetery, serves as a memorial for victims who often had no grave of their own, in stark contrast to the nearly 32,000 buried German soldiers, SS members, collaborators, and civilians.
The unveiling was performed by the Dutch Chief Rabbi Binyomin Jacobs, who had previously criticized the commemoration of war criminals at Ysselsteyn. Jacobs spoke of the importance of acknowledging that people can transform into monsters and the necessity of discussing this history.
The Gates of Remembrance
The 'Gates of Remembrance' bear the names of the places where Dutch citizens were imprisoned, such as Scheveningen, Amersfoort, Vught, and Westerbork. One column carries a text commemorating the Jewish, Sinti and Roma victims, and thousands of other victims of the Nazis. The monument stands amidst the grave fields, a poignant reminder of the atrocities committed during the Second World War.
Jacobs refers to the cemetery as an acknowledgment that people can mutate into monsters, but also emphasizes the importance of communication about this painful past. 'Something has been broken: time and spirit. And that's essential and important.