Searchlight – March 2010
On Saturday 30 January, just three days after the 65th anniversary commemoration of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp, the nazi Dutch People's Union (NVU) marched through the streets of Arnhem to commemorate another event: the installation, on 30 January 1933, of Adolf Hitler as German chancellor.
Although announced as what the NVU said would be a huge turnout, the usual 80-strong ragbag of nazis paraded under the guise of the populist slogan "The death penalty for child rapists and murdering pedophiles", a theme they connect with their dreams of a "sound and healthy people's society".
Worried about possible clashes, the city's mayor took extreme measures to maintain public order and, from eight o'clock of the evening before the demonstration, the march was under lockdown and anybody not living there was liable to preventive arrest. On the day itself 32 people were arrested, although no protest actions were reported.
The NVU has a habit of demonstrating on dates that are important in the Nazi calendar, dates that commemorate the Second World War or dates that have significance for the national socialist movement. The party's boss, Constant Kusters, who even got married on Hitler's birthday and calls himself "a private national socialist", always denies this charge but his demonstrations always feature glorification of the Third Reich. In Arnhem, for example, the leader of the National Socialist Action (NSA) openly commemorated the establishment of the Third Reich and called for efforts to install a similar regime.
This is nothing new. The NVU tried to march from Herzogenrath to Kerkrade in 2001, along the same route used by the Nazi Wehrmacht to invade the Netherlands in 1940. On 8 March 2003, the same outfit tried to march provocatively in Apeldoorn, on the day of the commemoration of the execution of 117 Dutchmen in retaliation of the attempted assassination of Dutch SS chief Hans Rauter in 1945. In February 2007, the NVU commemorated the death of brownshirt legend Horst Wessel by singing the Nazi anthem named after him after their demonstration.
During the same year, the nazis marched to mourn the death of the so-called 'Black Widow' Florrie Rost van Tonningen, the wife of one of the top collaborators with the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands. This event was in fact the first openly nazi march in the Netherlands since the Second World War.
These events continue with little effort made by the authorities to stamp them out. As recently as last year, the NVU marched along part of the route that prisoners of the Nazis had to trudge to a concentration camp in Amersfoort. Later, the Racial Volunteer Force boasted on the Internet that they had succeeded in walking the route of "the inferiors".
Many people are legitimately asking what the motto "Never again" is really worth when latter-day nazis can perform their psychological terror in public on the streets, insulting and threatening the victims of the Holocaust and their families and, indeed, anyone else who does not fit their twisted worldview.
Although some members of the Arnhem city council in Arnhem were seen on the streets on the morning of the demonstration, they did not denounce the nazi character of the NVU or its vile activities. Instead, they opted to focus on the 3 March council elections, when the NVU will stand in Arnhem, Nijmegen, Heerlen and the village of Overbetuwe. It is not expected to win a single seat.
Jeroen Bosch for Alert! and Antifa-Net in Amsterdam