The Dutch railway service NS is to pay “tens of millions” in compensation for its role in transporting 100,000 people on their way to death camps in the Second World War.
A commission established last November has recommended the railway pay €15,000 to each direct survivor, €7,500 to widows or widowers and €5,000 or €7,500 to children of the victims.
NS was commissioned by the Nazis to run special trains to Westerbork, Vught and Amerfoort – something the firm describes as “a black page” in its history.
The state-owned company was paid €2.5million in return.
Around 500 of the Jewish, Roma and Sinti people transported out of the Netherlands during the Holocaust still survive, said chairman Job Cohen.
The commission estimates that there are up to 5,500 next of kin entitled to payment, meaning the total is likely to exceed €35 million.
Roger van Boxtel, chief executive of the NS, said in a press conference that the company will make these payments. “We want to make a gesture towards those directly involved, and the question of how the NS deals with its war history is a difficult one,” he said.
“We realise though that any amount of money does not take away individual suffering.” The tax office has agreed the money will not be subject to income tax or affect any other benefits, he added.