French, Dutch towns commemorate Alfred Dreyfus and Holocaust survivor Jules Schelvis

Cnaan Liphshiz

(JTA) — A French municipality has honored the persecuted Jewish soldier Alfred Dreyfus with a statue and a Dutch town honored the Holocaust survivor and writer Jules Schelvis with a street sign.

Dreyfus, a French army captain who was wrongfully convicted of spying for Germany in 1894, was commemorated earlier this month in his native city of Mulhouse in eastern France. On Oct. 9, the day Dreyfus was born in 1859, one of his grandsons unveiled a statue of him at a local park during a ceremony attended by the mayor, France 3 reported.

Paris, the city where his show trial was held and where he was eventually exonerated in 1906, has no street named after Dreyfus, who was exiled to a French colony in South America for the false charges brought against him.

On Wednesday, the municipality of Amstelveen, south of Amsterdam, where several thousand Jews live, inaugurated a street sign bearing the name of Schelvis, who survived seven Nazi concentration and death camps. He died earlier this year in Amstelveen.


The sign will be installed in 2018 in a neighborhood that is still being constructed, according to the municipality’s official blog.

The University of Amsterdam gave Schelvis an honorary doctorate in 2008 for his research of the Sobibor death camp in Poland, which he survived. His 1993 book “Extermination Camp Sobibor” is considered one of the most detailed documents ever written on the death site, which fewer than 50 people are believed to have escaped and which the Nazis largely obliterated to cover up their atrocities.

An amateur historian who has researched the near annihilation of Dutch Jewry during the Holocaust warned last week that lacking documentation about the victims could lead to spelling errors and other mistakes in commemorative projects, including a memorial wall planned to be unveiled in Amsterdam in 2018 with 102,000 victims’ names.

Jim Terlingen said the Netherlands, which lost approximately 75 percent of its Jews during the Holocaust — the highest percentage in Nazi-occupied Western Europe — has only kept partial lists of Holocaust victims. His op-ed published Oct. 15 in the Volkskrant daily was titled “Check war victims’ names before they are set in stone.”

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