Europe

Dutch railways to pay 'tens of millions of euros' for Holocaust victims

Salo Muller (L), chairman Job Cohen (C) and president director of NS Roger van Boxtel (R) during a presentation, in Utrecht, Netherlands, 26 June 2019. Source: ANP

The Dutch national rail company will pay tens of millions of euros in compensation for Jews transported to Nazi death camps during World War II.

The Dutch national rail company said on Wednesday it will pay tens of millions of euros in compensation for Jews transported to Nazi death camps during World War II.

The payment by NS for what it calls a "black page in the history of the company" is for survivors who were taken to camps, plus relatives of those who died.

The company earned millions of euros (dollars) in today's terms after being commissioned by the occupying Nazi forces to transport Jewish families to extermination camps.

Children in 1945 at Oswiecim (Auschwitz) Nazi concentration camp. After the Holocaust the push for a Jewish state intensified.
Children in 1945 at Oswiecim (Auschwitz) Nazi concentration camp. After the Holocaust the push for a Jewish state intensified.
AAP

"It is estimated that several thousand people are eligible for the allowance, including an estimated 500 survivors.

NS will set aside several tens of millions of euros for this in the coming years," NS said in a statement.

The rail company apologised for its role in World War II back in 2005, but only finally announced that it would make compensation payments in November 2018.

A special commission has since been deciding on the amounts.

Families led by former Ajax football club physiotherapist Salo Muller, who lost both his parents during the war, have been campaigning for years for compensation.

"It's 15,000 euros for survivors of the Holocaust and the transportation and then 5,000 to 7,500 euros for children born before, during or after the war and widows or widowers," an NS spokesman told AFP.

"The total group that is estimated who could get the individual allowance is approximately five to six thousand people."

NS trains took Jews, Roma and Sinti minorities to transit stations including Westerbork, Vught or Amersfoort before they were sent onward to death camps in other countries.

This is an undated photo of Anne Frank, the young Jewish girl who, with her family, hid from the Nazis in Amsterdam, Netherlands, during World War II.
AAP

Those transported to Westerbork included teenage diarist Anne Frank, who passed through in August 1944 after she and other members of her group were betrayed and arrested by the Gestapo.

Some 107,000 of the Netherlands' 140,000-strong Jewish population were eventually interned in Westerbork before being sent to death camps like Auschwitz, Sobibor and Bergen-Belsen in the east.

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