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Schools rewarded with exhibit recognition in Resistance Museum

Participants ĎAdopt a monumentí program

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

LEEUWARDEN - A special, permanent exhibit was unveiled recently in the city's Resistance Museum to honour the 108 Frisian elementary schools, which since 1985 have adopted a war monument in the province. A temporary exhibition in the museum pays attention to the popular adoption program.

Set up through a grant from the Jewish Gilbert family, the adoption program was an initiative of the February 1941 Foundation, formed to keep alive the memory of the famed February 1941 strike. Workers in Amsterdam and a number of neighbouring industrial communities went on strike against the persecution and roundup of Jews, which the German occupation forces in the Netherlands just had begun.

The adoption program encourages students per school to participate in annual commemorations and the laying of wreaths at a particular local monument, which they then also tend to during the course of the year. The number of adoptive schools represents about one-sixth of the number of elementary schools in the province. The adoption program involves 53 monuments in Friesland. They include one in Dokkum at the site where 20 prisoners were executed in 1945, and one in Bergum where five Allied airmen are buried. Other monuments in the province can be found in Leeuwarden, Sneek, Oosterwolde, Middelaar and Donjum, the site of another reprisal execution of five imprisoned resistance men.

The Amsterdam strike was among the first incidents of open defiance against the Naziís aniti-Jewish decrees but was brutally put down. Earlier, in November 1940, Leiden University legal scholar Cleveringa had openly protested public sanctions against Jews.