Amsterdam honours Jewish Holocaust victims

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A ceremony has been held in Amsterdam to commemorate a mass strike staged in February 1941 in protest at the deportation of Dutch Jews by German troops during World War II.

The ceremony was opened by Sijbolt Noorda, who heads the Amsterdam War Commemoration Committee and chairs the Federation of Dutch Universities. A number of poems were recited by actress Soundos el Ahmadi. The gathering ended with a silent procession.

As usual, the event was held at the Jonas Daniël Meijerplein, a central square near Amsterdam's former Jewish quarter. Tens of thousands of people went on strike on 25 and 26 February 1941 after German troops had rounded up 427 Jewish men at the square, which now features a sculpture, called “The Dockworker”, commemorating the event. The strike began in Amsterdam and soon spread across the region as far as Utrecht.

The strike is now seen as one of the few open protests the Dutch staged against the deportation of Dutch Jews. At the time, the Netherlands numbered some 140,000 Jews. Over 105,000 of them were killed by the Germans. That comes to nearly 75 percent, a far higher percentage than in most other European countries.

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