Amsterdam to Compensate Jews for Fines From WWII

September 6, 2015  

The Dutch capital Amsterdam will compensate the descendants of Holocaust survivors who were fined for not paying their rent while imprisoned in Nazi concentration camps. 

“Starting today, the families’ descendants could get reimbursed for the penalties exacted for overdue rent payments during the Second World War, which were unfairly collected,” said a statement issued by the municipality on Friday.

The issue first made headlines in April 2013 when a student working at the Amsterdam archives discovered letters written by Dutch Jews who returned to the city after the war complaining of the overdue rent bills, city taxes and other fines they were forced to pay

“I felt these documents were too important to just let them lie there,” the student, Charlotte van den Berg, said. “It’s an injustice, not something you can just set aside and forget.”

Van den Berg’s finding prompted a study by the NIOD Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies, who found over 200 such cases. 

Approximately 140,000 Jews lived in Holland when the Germans invaded the country in May 1940. Only 18,000 Jews survived, and an even more meager 5,000 returned to Holland after the war.

According to the statement, average compensation is estimated at $1,800, although this will vary on a case by case basis. 

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