Dutch Rail apologises for collaboration with Nazis
29 September 2005, AMSTERDAM — Dutch rail company NS has publicly apologised for the first time for its collaboration with the transportation of Jews to Nazi death camps in World War II.
29 September 2005
AMSTERDAM — Dutch rail company NS has publicly apologised for the first time for its collaboration with the transportation of Jews to Nazi death camps in World War II.
NS boss Aad Veenman on Thursday offered an apology "from the bottom of my heart and in all deference" to the Jewish community and all other minority groups rounded up by the Germans and put on trains supplied by the NS. Most of the victims were sent to the death camps at Auschwitz and Sobibor.
Speaking at Muiderpoort station in the east of Amsterdam from where thousands of Jews went to their deaths, Veenman launched an anti-racism campaign.
Organised with the Jewish group Centraal Joods Overleg (CJO), the campaign will run in 66 train stations and uses posters to recall the rail company's dark history during the war.
The campaign features two Dutch-language posters. One asks: "Previously the train to Auschwitz left from here. When will the world become wiser?"
The second poster reads: "Toen moesten de Joden oprotten, wie nu..." This translates as: "Then the Jews had to go. Who is next..." Oprotten can also be translated as piss off, sod off or fuck off.
Over 100,000 Jews were taken from the Netherlands and sent to concentration camps. The last big deportation of Jews took place at the end of September 1943.
The anti-racism campaign begins at Amsterdam Muiderpoort on 29 September, the 62nd anniversary of the transportation of 11,000 Jews from the station.
Veenman said the poster campaign was an opportunity for NS to publicly recognise and close a 'painful' period in its history. By reminding the youth of today about the dangers of hate and fascism, Veenman said "horrible experiences from the past would be given a useful role in the present day".
The director said it had not been a simple choice to admit the company's guilt so publicly. "It could come over as an easy gesture and be written off as the latest example of the 'sorry culture'," he said.
Nevertheless he had decided to go ahead with the public apology. He reminded his audience that the Nazis had forced NS to cooperate with the transports.
"NS workers were also killed during the war and the NS was severely damaged. The company had to be rebuilt from the ground after the war," he said.
[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2005]
Subject: Dutch news