Amsterdam to look at compensating Jews hit by WWII taxes

Amsterdam officials are to look at ways to compensate Jews who returned from World War II concentration camps and were fined for not paying property taxes while they were ‘away’.

The revelations that dozens of camp survivors were sent bills for non-payment of ground rent (erfpacht) during the war years were made in Saturday’s Parool.

The bills were sent to Jews who were driven from their homes during the Nazi occupation, who went into hiding or were transported to the death camps, the Parool said. Students discovered evidence of the bills and payments while digitalising city council records.

‘It is a serious situation that needs to be examined,’ the city’s mayor Eberhard van der Laan is quoted as saying in the Parool. ‘The legal aspect [of the charges] was looked at with formality, bureaucracy and coldness rather than empathy towards the victims,’ Van der Laan said.

The Netherlands is still struggling to come to terms with the way it treated Jews who returned home in 1945 and whose property and possessions had been stolen or lost. Only 35,000 of the country’s Jewish population of 140,000 survived the war and 102,000 of the 107,000 who were deported to death camps were killed.

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