THE HAGUE—The Dutch national railway Nederlandse Spoorwegen (NS) has decided 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.
Over 70 percent of Dutch Jewry was deported and murdered in the Holocaust, most of them carted to their deaths by the national railway that collaborated and cooperated with the German Nazis in the brutal attempt to exterminate European Jewry.
The company earned millions by transporting Jewish families to a Nazi transit camp.
Some 107,000 Jews were taken to Westerbork transit camp and deported, mainly to deaths camps at Auschwitz and Sobibor. Only 5,000 survived. Westerbork became a transit camp in 1941 and the first deportees left on 15 July 1942. The final train left on 13 September 1944, with 279 Jews on board.
NS said the deportations were a “black page in the history of the company”.
In 2005, the railway company apologised for its role in helping the Nazi occupiers in World War Two, but it only set up a commission to decide how much to pay in November last year.
Holocaust survivor Salo Muller, whose parents were murdered at 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.