Dutch railway company to compensate Holocaust survivors

Dutch railway company to compensate Holocaust survivors
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A Dutch rail company announced Wednesday that it would compensate Holocaust victims and their families for its role in transporting people during Nazi occupation to concentration and extermination camps.

Roger van Boxtel, CEO of Nederlandse Spoorwegen, unveiled the multimillion-euro proposal during an event in the Utrecht Railway Museum, German outlet Deutsche Welle reported.

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Several thousand people, including an estimated 500 Jews, Roma and Sinti survivors who were transported to the extermination camps but lived, will be eligible to receive 15,000 euros, according to the company. 

Relatives and spouses of those who died after being relocated to the camps could receive between 5,000 and 7,500 euros.

The company said it has “several tens of millions of euros” for the payments.

The Netherlands was under German occupation in May 1940 when Nederlandse Spoorwegen was directed to deport Jews to the Westerbork transit camp, the outlet noted.

An estimated 107,000 Dutch Jews, including teenage diarist Anne Frank, were then sent to other concentration and extermination camps, including Auschwitz and Sobibor.

The rail company did not block the transport and earned an estimated 2.5 million Dutch guilder as a result, Deutsche Welle reported.

Nederlandse Spoorwegen set up a committee to evaluate the compensation fund but acknowledged that “there is no reasonable or appropriate amount of money that can compensate in any way for the suffering inflicted on the persons covered by the scheme,” The New York Times reported. 

The committee noted that the Nederlandse Spoorwegen was an “essential link” of transportation but cannot be held responsible for the existence of the camps.

The compensation payments are “a moral gesture by which NS wishes to express the recognition of its share in the individual suffering inflicted by the occupying forces on those involved and their direct surviving relatives,” the committee said.

France’s state rail company SNCF made a similar move to compensate Holocaust survivors and their families in 2014. 

Written by Alan Smith

Alan Smith

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