Holocaust centre investigates role of local authorities during WWII

Rotterdam was heavily bombed in World War II
Rotterdam was heavily bombed in World War II

Holocaust and genocide study centre NIOD has announced the start of a comprehensive investigation into the role played by the Dutch association of local authorities VNG during and after World War II.

The research, commissioned by the VNG, will be focusing on how Dutch local authorities functioned between 1933 and 1946. It comes after a preliminary probe initiated by the four big cities of the Netherlands into the role of the local authorities in issues such as the disenfranchisement of Jews, the expropriation of their homes and goods, and the restoration of their rights.

In Amsterdam the investigation was prompted by Dutch Rail’s decision to compensate relatives of those put on transport to the camps. This threw up questions about the role of public transport company GVB’s role in helping the Nazis transport Jews in the capital.

The city earlier agreed to donate €10m to the city’s Jewish community to compensate for the way survivors of the Nazi death camps were forced to pay missed taxes on their return.

‘The history of the association during wartime has been documented in a fragmentary way. It has never been properly looked at and that makes it of great social and scientific importance,’ NIOD director Frank van Vree said.

‘At the heart of this investigation lies accountability, or how war and occupation affected public administration in the Netherlands.’

The final report is expected in 2024.

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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