Jewish groups angry at Dutch railway company reparation

FILE — In this file photo dated Monday May 9, 2015, roses are symbolically placed on the railroad tracks at former concentration camp Westerbork, the Netherlands, remembering more than a hundred thousand Jews transported from Westerbork to Nazi death camps during WWII. The NS railway company, announced that it will donate 5 million euros (dollars 5.6 million U.S.) to Dutch Holocaust memorial centers as a gesture of collective recognition, but Jewish organizations criticized the company Monday June 29, 2020, for not adequately consulting them in discussions. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong, FILE)

AMSTERDAM — Jewish organizations criticized the Dutch national railway company Monday for not adequately consulting them in discussions to work out a form of recognition for Holocaust victims the company transported to camps in the Netherlands during World War II — from where they were sent to Nazi concentration camps.

The anger came after the railway company, NS, announced Friday that it would donate 5 million euros ($5.6 million) to four Dutch memorial centers as a gesture of collective recognition.

More than 100,000 Dutch Jews — 70 percent of the Jewish community — did not survive the war. Most were deported, along with Roma and Sinti, and killed in Nazi concentration camps.

Most of the Dutch victims were rounded up in cities and taken by train to camps in the Netherlands before being sent to the border and put on German trains to concentration camps.

Gideon Taylor, Chair of Operations of the World Jewish Restitution Organization, called the decision a major disappointment for Jewish groups.

“This was an opportunity to sit down with the Jewish community and survivors ... to come to terms with a history that led to the death of over 100,000 people,” Taylor said in a telephone interview from New York.

“This is something to be dealt with in discussion, in consultation, in cooperation with representatives of victims and find a way to honor the memory of those who perished,” he added.

NS apologized for its role in the deportations in 2005. A year ago, the company said that an estimated 500 living survivors of the Holocaust who were transported by the company would receive 15,000 euros each. Widows and widowers of victims were eligible to receive 7,500 euros and, if they are no longer alive, the surviving children of victims were to receive 5,000 euros.

In addition, the company pledged to reach a collective form of recognition for those who were not eligible for reparations, including some 20,000 children murdered.

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