By John Donovan
An article published hours ago by the GUARDIAN ONLINE website, which will also appear in The Observer newspaper on Sunday 25 January, was prompted by a petition I recently launched objecting to the Nazi name of The Pieter Schelte, claimed to be the largest-ever ship according to its owner, the Allseas Group.
Included in the extracts below are references to my involvement.
(The story has now been picked up by UPI)
Leaders of Jewish communities and Holocaust memorial groups in Britain and the Netherlands have reacted with rage and despair at the arrival in Rotterdam of the world’s biggest ship, the Pieter Schelte, named after a Dutch officer in the Waffen-SS.
The vice-president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, Jonathan Arkush, said: “Naming such a ship after an SS officer who was convicted of war crimes is an insult to the millions who suffered and died at the hands of the Nazis. We urge the ship’s owners to reconsider and rename the ship after someone more appropriate.”
Cidi cited a petition organised by a British-based website monitoring the affairs of Royal Dutch Shell, the energy group, which trumpeted the ship’s arrival in Rotterdam and which Allseas confirms in a press release to be among its early clients. The site, Royaldutchshellplc.com, is run by John Donovan, a former Shell contractor who is completing a book on the history of the company’s relations with the Third Reich. His petition reads: “Please change the ship’s name so that it no longer sails under the name of a former Waffen-SS officer jailed for war crimes.”
Donovan told the Observer: “This public homage by Edward Heerema as the wealthy son of a Nazi war criminal is an affront to the relatives of tens of millions of souls who perished at the hands of Nazi Germany. The name is unacceptable.”
Donovan has unearthed an extraordinary case in the high court in London last summer, brought after Allseas fell victim to a fraud scam.
The judge, Mr Justice Peter Smith, asked a witness about Pieter Schelte Heerema: “He was in the Dutch SS, was he?” “No, he was in the German SS,” came the reply. Counsel then asked: “And then he left the SS, you say, in the middle of the war?” Whereupon the judge remarked: “I didn’t know you could leave the SS. I thought it was a job for life.”
FULL ARTICLE PUBLISHED BY GUARDIAN.COM