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‘Confession of Guilt’: Dutch State Railway to Compensate Relatives of Holocaust Victims

CC0 / / Jews in a railway car in the way to the nazi death camp during the Second World War in Europe a the time of the Holocaust
Jews in a railway car in the way to the nazi death camp during the Second World War in Europe a the time of the Holocaust - Sputnik International
A Netherlands rail company that received Nazi money for transporting Jews to concentration and extermination camps recently announced how much money would be paid in compensation to the families of some 100,000 Holocaust victims, including survivors.

On Wednesday, Roger van Boxtel, the CEO of Dutch state railway operator Nederlandse Spoorwegen (NS), revealed at a Utrecht Railway Museum event that both Holocaust victims and their families would be receiving a range of multi-thousand dollar payouts as compensation for the railway’s World War II-era transportation deal with Nazi Germany.

During the event, Van Boxtel explained that survivors transported via the railway should expect to receive €15,000 ($17,080) in compensation, while spouses and relatives could get between €5,000 and €7,500 ($5,685 and $8,527), German broadcaster Deutsche Welle reported Wednesday.

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An NS statement notes that "several tens of millions of euros" have been set aside for payments, according to the outlet. At the time, NS is estimated to have received “2.5 million Dutch guilder” from Nazi Germany.

In November, Sputnik reported the NS CEO’s announcement that both his company and the families of Holocaust victims who were transported via the railway would be foregoing future legal disputes and instead forming a committee to “determine how we will pay individual compensations to victims.”

This decision to halt further individual cases and award the families en masse came about due to Salo Muller, an 83-year-old Dutch physiotherapist whose parents were transported by NS trains to a transit camp in Westerbork, Netherlands, before being murdered in Auschwitz.

In 2017, 12 years after the Dutch railway apologized for its involvement in the Holocaust, Muller began legal proceedings in the hopes of achieving individual compensation, which ultimately led to the November 2018 agreement between the families and NS for blanket payments.

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Dutch newspaper Algemeen Dagblad (AD) reported that the Netherlands’ Central Jewish Consultation group (CJO) applauded the move and furthermore considered the compensation proposal a "confession of guilt.” However, CJO also went on to say NS could do more, so that “perhaps something can happen for the Jewish community altogether," explaining that there is nothing that can bring back or directly compensate those who lost their lives.

As of Friday, NS has not acknowledged the CJO statement or expressed any intention to revise its proposal moving forward.

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