Background

On 27 November 2018, Dutch Railways (NS) decided to set up a financial compensation scheme aimed at recognising, on an individual basis, the role NS played in the Second World War and the suffering it caused. It was to be an individual compensation scheme for victims of the Second World War (and their immediate surviving relatives) who were transported by NS during the war in trains operated specifically for the purpose of taking them to camps outside the Netherlands by order of the occupying forces, with the aim of that order being the destruction of the population group to which they belonged.

The decision by NS to individually compensate these victims on moral grounds was a result of discussions held with Mr Salo Muller. Mr Muller survived the Holocaust, but lost his parents, who were murdered by the Nazis in Auschwitz.

In light of those discussions, NS established the Committee on Individual Compensation for Victims of WWII Transport by NS on 10 January 2019. This Committee was tasked with providing recommendations on the establishment of an individual financial compensation scheme. From 4 February 2019, the Committee additionally served as the Executive Board of the Foundation for Individual Compensation for Victims of WWII Transport by NS, which was charged with preparing and implementing the scheme.

The Committee offered its recommendation to NS on 26 June 2019. NS adopted that recommendation.

The scheme was made available from 5 August 2019 to 5 August 2020, during which period it was possible to apply for individual compensation. The frameworks for decision-making with regard to applications for individual compensation are laid down in the Payment Scheme of the Foundation for Individual Compensation for Victims of WWII Transport by NS. The Committee received and assessed a total of nearly 7,800 applications. The Foundation, and with it the Committee, will be dissolved at the end of 2021, once all final tasks have been completed.

 

Salo Muller, Amsterdam, 29 november 2018. picture: Marc Driessen

In November 2018, Mr Muller and NS jointly decided to set up an independent committee to ‘pay compensation to victims of the WWII transport operations on moral grounds’.