Holocaust denial will result in criminal proceedings in the Netherlands

Holocaust denial in the Netherlands will be punishable under criminal law, and the law banning racism and discrimination will be extended to cover denial of other war crimes, the Dutch provisional government has decided.

The Dutch demissionary cabinet has decided that Holocaust denial, along with the denial of other war crimes, will be legally punishable under criminal law. In a press release, Justice Minister Dilan Yesilgöz stressed that the law was being amended because „denial of horrific crimes has unfortunately become commonplace in the Netherlands. It is worrying that the monster of antisemitism has reared its head in our country. We cannot leave this unanswered,” reports the MTI.

According to a press release from the ministry, the change in legislation is in line with EU legislation and will specifically address the relativisation of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, which will now be punishable by up to one year of imprisonment under the amendments.

According to a survey carried out last December by the Jewish Claims Conference (JCC), an international NGO that pursues reparations claims against Germany, almost 23 per cent of Dutch residents born after 1980 believe that the Holocaust is a „myth” and that the number of Jewish people murdered is greatly exaggerated.

Fifty-four per cent of Dutch respondents were unaware that 6 million Jewish people lost their lives in the Holocaust, and 29 per cent believe that the death toll is less than 2 million. The JCC said it was alarming that 22 per cent of respondents under the age of 40 considered neo-Nazi views to be acceptable.

The last survey of this kind was conducted in the Netherlands in 2018, which found that a third of the 1,500 young people surveyed did not know what the Holocaust was.