Bart Wallet is assistant professor in political and religious history at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. He serves as director of the HDC Centre for Religious History at the same university. Moreover, he also lectures in Jewish and Middle Eastern history at the University of Amsterdam. His field of specialization is Jewish history, in particular of early modern and modern Dutch Jewry.

To Forget or to Remember: Social History and Zeeburg Jewish Cemetery

In the east of Amsterdam, the largest Jewish cemetery of the Netherlands is to be found: Zeeburg Jewish Cemetery. Opened in 1714, it served the city’s Ashkenazi community for over three centuries as an active cemetery, until a new one in Diemen was opened. Since then, the future of ‘Zeeburg’ has been questioned more than once, not in the least because of the Second World War and its consequences. In this presentation the history of the cemetery will be taken as a lens for reconstructing the social history of the Amsterdam Ashkenazi community throughout the ages. What can be told about the less well-to-do members of the community, about the poor, children, migrants, criminals, and prostitutes? Likewise, the cemetery will be addressed as a question for the preservation of Jewish heritage in the 21st century.