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Activists call for Dutch apology for abuse of war-time 'German girls'

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Activists call for Dutch apology for abuse of war-time 'German girls'
Photo: Wikemediacommons
14:43 CEST+02:00
Activists on Thursday urged the Netherlands to officially apologise to Dutch women targeted for reprisals because of their relations with German soldiers during the country's war-time occupation.

The appeal on behalf of the so-called Dutch "moffenmeiden" (German girls) comes after an apology issued by Norway last week to Norwegian women involved with German troops during World War II.

Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg apologised for the "shameful treatment" of Norwegian women including illegal arrests and detentions and other harsh measures after Europe was liberated from Nazi occupation in 1945.

"We are imploring you as Prime Minister to follow your Norwegian colleague's example," an organisation representing Dutch women and their families said in a letter to Premier Mark Rutte.

"The Dutch government at the time failed to prevent serious human rights abuses committed against these women and girls," the Werkgroep Erkenning Foundation said in the letter on its website Thursday.

The exact number of young Dutch women and girls involved with German soldiers is unknown, but between 13,000 and 15,000 children were born from these relations, said researcher Monica Diederichs.

Many of the women were between 16 to 21 years old during the 1940-1945 occupation.

"For them life simply continued, the only difference that where before it was a Dutch boy, it was now a German soldier," said Diederichs in a 2015 research paper entitled "Socialising with the Enemy!" in which she interviewed 56 such women about their experiences.

After the war, the women were dubbed "moffenmeiden" or "moffenhoeren" -- the word "moffen" a derogatory word for a German soldier and "meiden" meaning girls and "hoeren" meaning whores.

They were publicly shorn, subjected to shameful medical examinations and judicial inquiries.

"These women... were seriously humiliated, raped and incarcerated among others by the Dutch military, which represented the State," the foundation said.

"This treatment had severe and traumatic consequences for them and their children."

Dutch deputy minister Paul Blokhuis -- who deals with war-time issues -- has not yet seen the letter, an official told the Volkskrant daily paper Thursday.

"But already after Norway's apology he (Blokhuis) said it would be logical to speak to this group," the official said.

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