"Such trivialization is a subliminal step towards recurrence."
Paris, 8 February 2013
In a letter to Belgian Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre's Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, declared that "our Centre is horrified to learn that on Sunday 10 February there is to be a parade in the city of Aalst, featuring a railway wagon with participants dressed as SS officers holding canisters of Zyklon B gas, led by an actor made up as Hitler."
Samuels noted that, "according to Flemish VTM network and the Facebook page of the group FTP, this represents Flemish nationalists deporting French speakers from Flanders. Reportedly, one of the organizers, Jacques Jacquemin, stated ‘this is our deportation wagon and we are going to deport anything French’, apparently as a satirical attack on the leaders of the Flemish nationalist N-VA Party."
Samuels recalled that "on 8 May 2012, when Belgium held the Presidency of the Task Force for International Cooperation on Holocaust Education, Remembrance and Research, Di Rupo led 1,000 young people on a memorial train journey from the Schaerbeek station - from which the Jews were deported - to their final destination at Auschwitz-Birkenau."
The letter argued, "If these reports are correct, your ‘train of 1,000' - a magnificent educational initiative - on Sunday will be blown asunder by an act of Holocaust revisionist terrorism".
The Centre urged the Prime Minister "to investigate the circumstances and stop this abomination", suggesting that "the very idea be presented to Belgian youth - both French and Flemish speaking - as a case study of genocide banalization".
"Such an abomination would be a subliminal step towards recurrence", concluded Samuels.