Amsterdam Jews mark 60th anniversary of Dutch liberation

Amsterdam Jews marked the 60th anniversary of the end of the German occupation of the Netherlands during World War II in a ceremony Monday attended by Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende and several leaders of the local Muslim community.

More than 100,000 Dutch Jews were sent to die in German death camps during the war, representing around 70 percent of Dutch Jewry.

Balkenende urged tolerance and peaceful debate among all ethnic groups in a brief speech at the ceremony held at the Rav Aron Schuster synagogue. Jews and Muslims have been holding talks in the past year to ease frictions between their communities.

Monday's ceremony was held two days before the first anniversary of the murder of filmmaker Theo van Gogh by a Muslim fanatic. Van Gogh's killing set off a spate of attacks on mosques and Islamic religious buildings in a country once renowned for its live-and-let-live attitude, AP reports.

A. A.