King of the Netherlands acknowledges his grandfather’s Nazi past

06.10.2023, The Hague.

It is important that we face the past, including all the not-so-attractive pages, said King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands in response to a report the previous day that his grandfather Prince Bernhard had a membership card of the NSDAP, the political party of Adolf Hitler. The ANP news agency wrote on October.

“I can very well imagine that this news has had a huge impact, arousing a lot of emotions, especially in the Jewish community,” the king said. “But I am convinced that we must face the past, including its less beautiful parts.”

The king had earlier decided to make public state archives up to and including September 6, 1948. “I have the option of removing anything from the archives, but I have decided not to do so. I believe that the entire archive should be as transparent as possible in the interest of historiography.”

The existence of an NSDAP membership card belonging to Bernhard was confirmed on Wednesday by the government information service RVD. Historian Flip Maarschalkerweerd, former director of the Royal Archives, found the membership card in the prince’s personal archives in Sustdijk, which he had to inventory after Bernhard’s death in 2004.

Bernhard always denied that he was a member of the NSDAP party, even when confronted with evidence to the contrary. In a pre-death interview with the newspaper de Volkskrant, the prince said, “I can state with my hand on the Bible: I was never a Nazi. I have never paid for party membership. I never had a membership card.”

As ANP writes, important representatives of the Jewish community in the Netherlands have expressed the wish that the cabinet investigate the prince’s past. However, outgoing Prime Minister Mark Rutte has said he sees no need to do so.

Source: Rossa Primavera News Agency