In 1941, when Mr. Salo Muller was five years old, his parents were transported by train from Amsterdam to camp Westerbork; after a short stay there, they were transported to death camp Auschwitz where they were gassed. The trains in which his parents, and with them around 102,000 Jews, were transported from Dutch cities to Nazi-camps belonged to the Dutch Railways (in Dutch: Nederlandse Spoorwegen, NS). The NS received money from the occupier for these transports.
Yesterday evening, in a meeting between executive-director Roger van Boxtel, Salo Muller and his lawyer Liesbeth Zegveld, the NS committed itself to compensating individual survivors of these death-transports, as well as widows and biological children born during the war of NS transportees who did not survive. This is not a legal acknowledgement of liability or of a duty to compensate damages, nor a waiver of prescription by the NS, but a financial compensation on moral grounds with a view to the the suffering that these groups have had to endure and are still enduring.
Though the decision of principle has now been made, the exact contours of the scheme must still be worked out. To that end, the parties will create a commission together that will investigate how many victims and surviving relatives are still alive; a decision will also be made about how high the compensation sums will ultimately be. The latter will also depend on the amount of requests that the NS ultimately receives on the basis of the scheme.
- 'NS gaat schadevergoeding betalen aan Holocaust-slachtoffers’ | TV-report by Nieuwsuur on 27 November 2018
- 'Dutch rail to pay compensation for transporting Jews to Nazi death camps' | The Guardian on 28 November 2018
- 'Pays-Bas: la société de chemin de fer va indemniser les proches de juifs déportés' | Le Monde on 28 November 2018
- 'Dutch Rail Company to Pay Reparations for WWII Deportations' | New York Times on 28 November 2018
[Photograph: Salo Muller and his parents. Source: collection www.ntr.nl]