Dutch boy who praised Holocaust sentenced to study anti-Semitism

THE HAGUE (JTA) — A Dutch boy of Turkish descent who said he was “glad about what Adolf Hitler did to Jews” was sentenced to mandatory classes on anti-Semitism.


A spokesperson for the Dutch justice ministry told reporters Friday that the 15-year-old boy from Arnhem will have to “undergo mandatory educational activity” at nongovernmental organizations fighting racism and anti-Semitism.  

The sentence imposed on the boy, who was not named but made the statements in a filmed interview in February,  was deemed too lenient by the Center for Information and documentation on Israel, the Dutch Jewish community’s watchdog on anti-Semitism. The Hague-based organization, known locally as CIDI, filed a complaint with the ministry over its handling of the case, which CIDI termed “unsatisfactory.”

In the interview, the boy also said he hated Jews. The interview with the boy and several other boys who made similar statements was broadcast nationally in February. It prompted a reaction from Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and other politicians, who promised to take steps to teach anti-Semitism in schools and address it.

The interviewer, Mehmet Sahin, is a researcher at Amsterdam’s Vrije Universiteit. He left his home in Arnhem for several days last month amid threats and at the advice of the mayor, Pauline Krikke.

The boy in question “clearly already has some knowledge of the Holocaust.” The ministry’s “mild attitude sends the wrong message and creates an unacceptable precedent,” CIDI said in a statement released Saturday, “

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