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Amsterdam Municipality fined Jews for not paying taxes while they were in concentration camps

by Rhonda Spivak, April 4, 2013


Recently Charlotte van den Berg, a 23-year-old university student discovered documents bundled with an elastic band in the archive section of one of the city of Amsterdam's departments while she happened to be conducting research on Jewish home owners.

The documents reveal that the City of Amsterdam fined hundreds of Jewish Holocaust survivors for failing to pay taxes while they were in concentration camps or in hiding.

This episode was exposed on March 30 in an article in Het Parool, a local daily.

Het Parool reported that many of the houses in question were confiscated and used by members of the NSB Dutch Nazi party while the Jewish owners were in hiding or in camps. The city of Amsterdam pursued getting money form survivors as late as 1947, the report said, unlike other Dutch municipalities who waived such debts, according to the newspaper.

In 1948, the city of Amsterdam agreed to reimburse only half of what it charged to some Jewish survivors who were taxed in absentia.

According to the report in Het Parool , the city’s archives contain 342 requests from Jews for reimbursement.

The report indicates that Jewish survivors were even fined for late payment.

About 75-80 percent of Holland’s Jewish population was killed during the Holocaust.

According to Ronny Naftaniel of the Centre for Information and Documentation on Israel (CIDI), a watchdog that monitors anti-Semitism based in The Hague, after the war the Amsterdam municipality also unlawfully collected overdue dog-license fees. “The same thing happened with gas and electricity companies, which were owned by the city.”

According to the Jewish Telegraph Agency, the mayor of Amsterdam called this a serious matter and said "we will see how we can put right that which must be put right."

There are approximately 15000 Jews living in Amsterdam today.

Almost a year ago, on May 4, 2013, the national Dutch Memorial Day, the Jewish Telegraph agency reported that Amsterdam’s municipal transport company, GVB, was investigating an incident involving Amsterdam’s Holocaust-era history.

On May 4, 2013, the national Dutch Memorial Day, streetcar that had a number 8 as its line number was seen. Number 8 is significant as the deportation of thousands of Amsterdam Jews began on Line 8 streetcars. Jews rode the trams to Central Station where trains then transported them to concentration camps.

Amsterdam’s municipal transport company decided to do away with number 8 from its list of active lines out of consideration for the feelings of Holocaust survivors.

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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

Opinions expressed in letters to the editor or articles by contributing writers are not necessarily endorsed by Winnipeg Jewish Review.