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"These are the days when the Christian is expected to praise every creed except his own." G.K.Chesterton

"You cannot grow a beard in a moment of passion." G.K.Chesterton

"As you perhaps know, I haven't always been a Christian. I didn't go to religion to make me happy. I always knew a bottle of Port would do that."C. S. Lewis

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Thursday, August 07, 2003

those darned Calvinists

from the forgotten history files:

(T)he years of German rule in the Netherlands are full of contradictions, illustrating the extent of the choices that could be made. At the outbreak of war Holland was home to 140,000 Jews, including 30,000 refugees from Austria and Germany, including Anne Frank and her family. Of these, 110,000 were killed in the death camps, a total of 75 per cent. With the aid of Dutch officials and police, the Nazi extermination machine operated extremely effectively in the Netherlands. Yet those same Dutch skills of organization that helped doom Holland's Jews also saved the lives of thousands. A nationwide underground network sprang up, to hide, shelter and feed Jews. Many of the rescuers were Calvinists, who took strength from their faith that obedience is only given to God, and a government blessed by God. The Nazis clearly did not fall into this category.

The Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem awards the Netherlands the second highest number of Righteous Among the Nations at 4174. These were non-Jews who risked their own lives to save Jews. Only Poland has a higher count, at 5264. And while Poland had 3.3 million Jews before the Second World War, and so many more opportunities to do good, Holland's total Jewish population was less than 25 per cent of Poland's, meaning the Netherlands had proportionately many more rescuers.

Adam LeBor and Roger Boyes, Surviving Hitler: Choices, Corruption and Compromise in the Third Reich, London, Simon & Schuster, 2000 p161.

9:24:00 am