The Jewish people put up “very little resistance” in World War II, exacerbating the Holocaust, according to Toine Beukering, a 60-year-old former brigadier general in the Netherlands.
Beukering has never served in politics, but has been put forward by far right wing nationalist party Forum voor Democratie as a candidate to lead the Dutch senate.
In speaking about his reasons for pursuing a career in the military, he pontificated on his admiration for Napoleon and thoughts on World War II, particularly the Holocaust.
Even as a child, he said he read many books about the Shoah.
“I’ve always been intrigued how that is possible. That the Jews – such brave, [combat-ready] people – were just chased into the gas chambers like docile lambs. That has always fascinated me,” he said, adding that he never understood why that happened. He then pledged that it would never happen again.
“That is why I have worn a uniform for forty years and have travelled all over the world,” he said.
When pressed to explain what he meant by “docile lambs,” he said it was because “there was very little resistance,” and clarified that he did not mean they died voluntarily.
“I am not offending anyone with that,” he stated, pointing also to a recent occasion where he wore a kippah in support of Jewish people wanting to openly show pride in their religion.
His comments were denounced rapidly by many Dutch organisations.
“There was resistance everywhere. Lack of knowledge, education about the Holocaust is a failure,” said Maria van Beurden Cahn of the NIOD Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies in Amsterdam.
The Jews were not “docile lambs”, but rather the “victims of disinformation, government cooperation and the German destruction machine. The truth is that it was unavoidable,” said Esther Voet, editor of the Nieuw Israëlietisch Weekblad.
Politician Jan Paternotte was equally disappointed. “What an insane slap in the face of so many survivors. And what an insane historical falsification”, the D66 Member of Parliament said on Twitter.