WWII survivors call Dutch gov't to take in child refugees

Child asylum seekers in Greece
Child asylum seekers in GreecevverveDepositPhotosDeposit Photos

Twelve Dutch who had to go into hiding as children in the Second World War wrote a letter to parliament, calling for the Netherlands to take in children from Greek refugee camps. The Tweede Kamer, the lower house of Dutch parliament, will vote on whether or not to shelter some of these children later today, NOS reports.

"We ourselves were once saved as children, often by total strangers. We were persecuted as Jewish or Sinti children during the Second World War and had to go into hiding. We were taken care of by families of all kinds, often Christian inspired, at a time when they themselves were at great risk," the WWII survivors wrote. Among the signatories are socialist Abram de Swaan, writer Chaja Polak, and journalist Hanneke Groenteman.

"The Netherlands is now at no risk and does not have to sacrifice to help the unaccompanied refugee children stranded in the Greek camps, for example by taking in 500 of them," the WWII survivors wrote. "All that is required of this country is compassion and very ordinary human mercy." And yet "the Netherlands has refused to take responsibility so far and is not prepared to admit a single child."

The signatories pointed out that multiple Dutch municipalities have shown willing to shelter these children, and that a number of European countries have already rescued children from the refugee camps in Greece. They called on the parliamentarians and the government to show this same mercy and compassion. 

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