Dutch National Railway Compensation to Holocaust Survivors ‘Important Step,’ Jewish Restitution Organization Says
A leading Jewish organization advocating on behalf of Holocaust survivors affirmed on Friday that the Dutch National Railway — Nederlandse Spoorwegen (NS) — had taken an “important step” with its announcement of an application process aimed at compensating Dutch Holocaust survivors, their spouses and their children for NS’s role in deporting Jews to Nazi death camps during World War II.
“The Dutch National Railway (NS) compensation program is a significant acknowledgement of the role the NS played during WWII in the suffering endured by Dutch Jews transported on NS trains,” said Gideon Taylor — chair of operations of the Jerusalem-based World Jewish Restitution Organization (WJRO) in a statement.
Taylor added that “in consultation with WJRO and the representative body of the Dutch Jewish community, the NS should now designate additional funds to fulfill its Committee’s recommendation to provide a ‘collective expression of recognition of the suffering and fate’ of the vast majority of Dutch Holocaust victims who did not survive following transport by NS or are not covered by NS’s compensation program.”
Last November, NS announced that it would establish a compensation program for Holocaust survivors and their families transported by the NS. In January, NS appointed the Committee on Individual Compensation for Victims of WWII Transport by NS to provide advice on the level of benefits and on who should be eligible for them.
Based on NS’s announcement, each Holocaust survivor is eligible to receive €15,000 ($16,700), and surviving spouses of someone transported by the NS will receive €7,500 ($8,400). Surviving children born before May 8, 1945, the day World War II ended in Europe, will also receive €7,500 ($8,400), those born after VE Day will receive €5,000 ($5,600).
The profit NS made for operating the trains to transport victims of the Nazis is estimated at a present-day €2.5 million ($2.8 million).
The NS officially apologized for its role during the Holocaust in 2005.