Dutch railways to compensate Jews transported to Nazi death camps
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Dutch railways to compensate Jews transported to Nazi death camps

Nederlandse Spoorwegen says it’ll pay tens of millions of euros to Holocaust victims for what was a ‘black page in the history of the company’

Illustrative: In this photo from May 9, 2015, a man puts a rose on the railroad tracks at former concentration camp Westerbork, the Netherlands, remembering more than a hundred thousand Jews who were transported from Westerbork to Nazi death camps. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)
Illustrative: In this photo from May 9, 2015, a man puts a rose on the railroad tracks at former concentration camp Westerbork, the Netherlands, remembering more than a hundred thousand Jews who were transported from Westerbork to Nazi death camps. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)

THE HAGUE, Netherlands — The Dutch national rail company said Wednesday it will pay tens of millions of euros in compensation for Jews transported to Nazi death camps during World War II.

The payment by Nederlandse Spoorwegen for what it calls a “black page in the history of the company” and is for survivors who were taken to camps, plus relatives of those who died.

The company earned millions of euros (dollars) in today’s terms after being commissioned by the occupying Nazi forces to transport Jewish families to extermination camps.

“It is estimated that several thousand people are eligible for the allowance, including an estimated 500 survivors. NS will set aside several tens of millions of euros for this in the coming years,” NS said in a statement.

The rail company apologized for its role in World War II back in 2005, but only finally announced that it would make compensation payments in November 2018.

A special commission has since been deciding on the amounts.

Trains belonging to the Nederlandse Spoorwegen national railway company seen at a train station in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. (CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons)

Families led by former Ajax football club physiotherapist Salo Muller, who lost both his parents during the war, have been campaigning for years for compensation.

“It’s 15,000 euros for survivors of the Holocaust and the transportations and then 5,000 to 7,500 euros for children born before, during or after the war and widows or widowers,” an NS spokesman told AFP.

“The total group that is estimated who could get the individual allowance is approximately five to six thousand people.”

NS trains took Jews, Roma and Sinti minorities to transit stations including Westerbork, Vught or Amersfoort before they were sent from there to death camps in other countries.

Those transported to Westerbork included teenage diarist Anne Frank, who passed through in August 1944 after she and other members of her group were betrayed and arrested by the Gestapo.

Some 107,000 of the Netherlands’ 140,000-strong Jewish population were eventually interned in Westerbork before being sent to death camps like Auschwitz, Sobibor and Bergen-Belsen in the east.

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