War monument will get names right

Mayor Dijsselbloem and 18 September Foundation Chair Peter Kemp look at the monument. Picture credit: Studio040

The 22 names of those with a ‘wrong past’* on the war monument on the Eindhoven Stadhuisplein are to be removed. These are the names of six SS soldiers, three members of the NSB (the collaborating party) and thirteen names of Dutch men who had joined the German army.  After their removal, the names of 155 people who have every right to be included on the monument will be added.

This decision is the outcome of months of deliberation between the municipality and the 18 September Foundation. This organisation is responsible for activities related to the commemoration of the liberation of the city. They were the ones who discovered the ‘wrong names’ on the monument, after years of research. When they published their findings in April, the publication was met with anger and grief. “The fact that changes now need to be made is painful, according to the mayor. “We want to respect the monument, and the work that needs to be done has an emotional component. But we are certain that these 22 names belong to people who had an SS past or were affiliated”, mayor  Jeroen Dijsselbloem explains.

“Of course we were not there when the list of names was drawn up, but perhaps it was not possible to know at the time that some of the names should never have made it onto that list. As years go by, more and more information becomes public and archives are opened.  Perhaps at the time there was simply much less information than we have now”, says 18 September Foundation chairperson Peter Kemps.

Historian Paul van der Grindt’s suggestion to remove all names from the monument has been rejected.  “We did discuss it as it is a practical and easy option, but the relatives find this far too emotional. We also want to show that this is part of our history and that we honour those stories”,  Kemp explains.

Names will disappear

And so, much work is about to be done to the monument. Some work has already started. “The names will not actually be removed. Instead, new slabs will cover the original stone in alphabetical order. The new slabs will not contain any names that have no place there. In this way, the monument remains. The 155 names to be added will be chiselled into different slabs. We will indicate clearly that these were added later. So those names will not be inserted among the earlier names”, says Kemp.

“I realise that relatives may feel strong emotions. Some people never knew that a loved one or relative made the wrong choices in the war and now see these names removed. We will not give those any publicity. Should people have questions, they can turn to us”, Dijsselbloem emphasises.

Besides the new slabs and names, more adaptations will be made, according to the mayor. The first slab, with the inscription: ‘All the citizens in the Eindhoven municipality who died in the Second World War’ will be changed. “The words ‘all’, ‘citizens’, and ‘municipality’ will go, to avoid any unclarity. The dead were people who were somehow connected to Eindhoven at the time.

New names

The 155 Eindhoven citizens whose names should have been on the monument but were left out, will now have their place on it. They are the Sinti and Jews who were arrested in the city and murdered. And it does not end there. “Every five years we will investigate if more names should be added or removed.  As more and more archives are opened, more information becomes available”, Kemp explains.

“To prevent yearly adaptations, we have decided to meet every five years. Funds have been made available to cover the cost of any additional work on the monument”, Dijsselbloem adds. “Om te voorkomen dat we niet ieder jaar het monument moeten aanpassen, hebben we besloten om iedere vijf jaar bij elkaar te komen. Uiteraard is daarvoor budget beschikbaar gesteld, om mogelijk aanpassingen aan het monument te kunnen bekostigen”, vult Dijsselbloem aan.

Dijsselbloem and Kemp emphasise that for any additional names it will always be made clear that they were added later. This preserves the integrity of the monument.


Every year the place of the moument is the spot where wreaths are laid during the traditional torchlight parade. The municipality hopes that the work will be completed before September 18.


Souce: Studio040

Translator: Greta




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