Netherlands’ rail company to pay reparations to Holocaust survivors
search

Netherlands’ rail company to pay reparations to Holocaust survivors

NS firm says it will compensate victims and their families as it reflects on 'black page in the history of the company', when it was used to transport Jews to camps

A monument at former Nazi transition-camp Westerbork, located in the Netherlands, showing mangled train tracks which brought inmates to the camp
A monument at former Nazi transition-camp Westerbork, located in the Netherlands, showing mangled train tracks which brought inmates to the camp

The Netherlands’ state-run rail firm has said it will pay reparations to Holocaust survivors and their families.

NS transported Jewish people and other minorities to camps in the Netherlands during the Second World War from where they were sent to Nazi concentration camps.

It said in a statement that its role in transporting people to camps on orders of Nazi occupiers during the war is a “black page in the history of the company”.

Job Cohen, a respected former mayor of Amsterdam who led a commission that proposed the reparations, called the payments a moral gesture.

“It is not possible to name a reasonable and fitting amount of money that can compensate even a bit of the suffering of those involved,” Mr Cohen said.

NS chief executive Roger van Boxtel said the decision will affect thousands of Holocaust survivors and direct relatives of victims, costing the company tens of millions of euro.

Some 70% of the Dutch Jewish community did not survive the war. Most were rounded up in cities like Amsterdam and taken by train to camps in the Netherlands before being sent to the border and put on German trains to concentration camps.

The train company apologised in 2005 for its role in the transportations. It set up Mr Cohen’s commission last year to investigate how best to pay reparations.

NS said an estimated 500 living survivors of the Holocaust who were transported by the company will receive 15,000 euro (£13,000) each. Widows and widowers of victims are eligible to receive 7,500 euro (£6,700) and, if they are no longer alive, the surviving children of victims should receive 5,000 euro (£4,400).

French railway company SNCF has also expressed regret for its role in transporting Jewish people during the war, acknowledging that its equipment and staff were used to transport 76,000 to Germany.

SNCF has argued that it had no effective control over operations when France was under Nazi occupation from 1940 to 1944.

France’s government has paid almost £5 billion in reparations to French citizens and certain deportees.

The German government has paid around 70 billion euro (£62 billion) in compensation for Nazi crimes, mainly to Jewish survivors.

read more:
comments