Arie de Froe Monument
Arie de Froe Monument
Arie de Froe Monument
2014 - 2018
University of Amsterdam

Arie de Froe Monument 2014 - 2018

The University of Amsterdam (UvA) and the Royal Netherlands Academy of Sciences (KNAW) commissioned a monument to be erected in 2015 in honor of Prof. Dr. Arie de Froe (1907-1992), a former professor of Physical Anthropology and Genetics at the UvA. A physical anthropologist, de Froe committed academic fraud, resisting the German occupiers during World War II. Specializing in ethnology and held in high academic esteem by the Nazis, he fraudulently identified Sephardic Jews as non-Jews in order to prevent their deportation during the racial 'purification' of the Netherlands. In these circumstances, academic integrity yielded to human morality.


Erecting this monument raises several crucial concerns regarding time and timing. On the one hand, the commemoration of Arie de Froe must stand the test of time; as befits a monument, an attempt is being made to keep the memories of this scholar alive, to save him from oblivion. On the other hand, no timeless paradigm exists to evaluate de Froe's work, because ethics shift over time. The way we should remember de Froe is not determined by history. On the contrary, his memorialization is inextricably connected to the contemporary discourse on academic integrity. The starting point for this monument is not only the celebration of the individual, the scholar Prof. Dr. A. de Froe, but also the intrinsic academic dilemma he embodies. This posthumous monument will in fact render Prof. Dr. A. de Froe the embodiment of ethical dilemmas in science.     


This proposal returns the human bones acquired by physical anthropologists for science during the first half of the 20th century, now resting untapped and stigmatized in the depots of the National Museum of World Cultures, to the university where these remains will again be available for scientific research as a monument in honor of Arie de Froe.