The Protestant Church in the Netherlands (PKN) has admitted that it failed to properly combat Antisemitism during World War II. In a confession due to be submitted to the Jewish community ahead of the commemoration of Kristallnacht next month, the PKN stated that it "fell short in speaking and in silence, in acting and in omitting, in attitude and in thoughts".
"Guilt is the deepest word you can use for failure," said the scribe of the PKN, René de Reuver. "We do not distance ourselves from the past, but we take responsibility and acknowledge our mistakes.
"The Protestant Church in the Netherlands wants to recognise without hesitation that the church helped prepare the breeding ground in which the seeds of Antisemitism could grow."
Reuver lamented that the church's acknowledgement has come "75 years late".
"I say it, as it were, with shame on my cheeks. The fact that we are late makes it heavier rather than lighter," he said.
"Even during the war years itself, the church authorities often lacked the courage to take a position for the Jewish inhabitants of our country. It is a confession of the church institute for the church institute."
De Reuver also noted that the confession will have an impact on the future of the church and its campaigning against antisemitism. "You look back with an eye to the present and future. This has consequences for relationships now, we must also fight against Antisemitism now."
Last July, the PKN released a joint statement with the Dutch Roman Catholic Church (RKK) urging the government and wider society to do everything in their power to combat antisemitism across the country.
The statement, which was welcomed by The Dutch Jewish community (NIK), also urged a "continuing conversation with the Jewish community in the Netherlands" as being "of great importance for the churches”.