Paul Kruger School: A Safe Haven For Children


There is a Dutch school that survived the Nazi occupation during the Second World War. The school has halted their plan to create a memorial plaque because they fear the reaction of the local Muslim community.  The Paul Kruger high school in The Hague, Netherlands, prepared to design a plaque to honor the Jewish children who were killed during the Holocaust; but according to one of the teachers, the Muslims who are living in the neighborhood argued that the memorial would not be accepted.

The school was eager to play down the suggestion about religious tensions, with Gerard Brasjen—who is a spokesman for the Paul Kruger School. He tells the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that the Christian-affiliated school’s board had discussed a plan that would place a commemorative plaque on the school’s façade. The plan was halted “not because of the Jewish-Muslim issue but because it may not be wise in the neighborhood, which was not a peaceful place.”

Last week, the De Telegraaf daily reported that the school dropped the plan following objections by the local residents. The residents said a Holocaust plaque may not be acceptable to some members of the Muslim population. They believe that a sign advertising an exhibition about the Jewish history behind the school had to be put inside in fear of upsetting the locals.

Before the Holocaust, the building of the Paul Kruger School, in the Schilderswijk neighborhood, housed the Joodsch Lyceum—a Jewish high school. According to the Commentator, the high school was a place for the Jewish children that had to leave their schools because of the orders given by the Nazis. The school was a safe haven for many of the children.

The Center for Information and Documentation on Israel, A Hague-based watchdog for anti-Semitism wrote a statement in May of 2013 that “it seems that the school feared there would be protests,” but “there is little reason to fear violence against memorial monuments for Jewish children in the area.” Earlier this month, Schilderswijk became national news after a Dutch newspaper reported that part of the neighborhood had become a “Sharia triangle” that police dare not enter.

Evette Champion

Evette Champion is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE