- Pete Hoekstra, the U.S. ambassador to the Netherlands, visited a Dutch cemetery on Thursday, where members of an elite Nazi unit involved in the Holocaust are buried.
- "A terrible reminder of the cost of war and why we always have to work towards peace," Hoekstra tweeted when he visited the Ysselsteyn cemetery.
- It is unclear whether Hoekstra knew that members of the Waffen SS, the elite Nazi unit, were buried in the cemetery.
- Trump named Hoekstra 2017 US Ambassador to the Netherlands.
- His tenure began rocky as he made anti-Muslim commentary on the Netherlands in 2015.
- You can find more stories on the Business Insider homepage.
President Donald Trump's ambassador to the Netherlands, Pete Hoekstra, visited a Dutch cemetery where many Nazis are buried on Thursday and described it as "a terrible reminder of the cost of war".
"Walked between the graves in Ysselsteyn, a cemetery for German soldiers from the First and Second World War. A terrible reminder of the cost of the war and why we always have to work towards peace," Hoekstra tweeted.
Many members of the Waffen SS, an elite Nazi military unit, are buried in the Ysselsteyn cemetery. The Waffen SS was responsible for numerous war crimes and closely involved in the Holocaust.
– Ambassador Pete Hoekstra (@usambnl) July 30, 2020
Neo-Nazis are known to visit the cemetery to honor dead Nazi soldiers. after the time of Israel.
The German ambassador to the Netherlands was criticized by Jewish groups in 2014 for visiting the cemetery. The Jerusalem Post reported at the time.
It is unclear whether Hoekstra, a Republican who previously represented Michigan's 2nd congressional district in the House of Representatives, knew about the connection between the cemetery and the Nazis during his visit and while tweeting the photo.
The U.S. ambassador to the Netherlands did not immediately respond to an insider request. The State Department has not yet commented on this issue.
Hoekstra was selected by Trump as U.S. Ambassador to the Netherlands in 2017. He was sworn in on December 11, 2017.
His tenure began with a controversy over anti-Muslim comments that he made about the Netherlands in 2015. Hoekstra wrongly said at the time that there were "exclusion zones" in the Netherlands.
When the Ambassador was confronted with what he said from a Dutch journalist in December 2017, he dismissed his own words as rejecting it "wrong news." The journalist then played a clip from Hoekstra in which he made the comments and proved the opposite. And just moments after describing what he said in 2015 as "false news", Hoekstra denied ever using the sentence, even though the entire exchange was recorded on camera.
Hoekstra was born in the Netherlands, but his family moved to Holland, Michigan as a child.