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July 1, 2019 9:30 am

Dutch National Railway Company to Pay Compensation to Holocaust Victims

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The main gate at the Auschwitz concentration camp. Photo: Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum. – The Dutch national railway Nederlandse Spoorwegen (NS) last week revealed its plan to offer financial compensation to the survivors and relatives of Holocaust victims who were transported via Dutch rail to Nazi concentrations camps during World War II.

According to German public broadcaster Deutsche Welle, NS CEO Roger van Boxtel revealed the multimillion-dollar proposal during an event in the Utrecht Railway Museum.

Over 70 percent of Dutch Jewry was deported and murdered in the Holocaust, most of them carted to their deaths by the national railway. The company earned millions by transporting Jewish families to a Nazi transit camp.

Some 107,000 Dutch Jews were taken to the Westerbork transit camp, from which they were deported, mainly to the deaths camps at Auschwitz and Sobibor. Only 5,000 survived. Westerbork became a transit camp in 1941 and the first deportees left on July 15, 1942. The final train left on Sept. 13, 1944, with 279 Jews on board.

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NS said the deportations were a “black page in the history of the company.”

In 2005, the company apologized for its role in helping the Nazi occupiers during the war, but it only set up a commission to decide how much restitution to pay in November of last year.

Holocaust survivor Salo Muller, whose parents were murdered in Auschwitz, initiated the campaign to confront NS and urge it to embrace its responsibility in collaborating with the German Nazis.

World Jewish Congress President Ronald S .Lauder said he “deeply welcomed’’ the Dutch national railway’s decision.

“Across Europe over the last decade, we have seen the national railways of several European countries, including Hungary, France, and Germany, publicly admit their part in transporting their citizens of Jewish, Roma, and Sinti descent at the behest of their governments, and offer reparation,” Lauder said.

“It is critical, and should be non-negotiable, for every single European government to acknowledge and take responsibility for their role in the mass murder of so many Jews and other minorities. Indeed, without the willing involvement of these national companies, millions of innocent lives might have been spared from the tentacles of the Nazis’ Final Solution,” he added.

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