AMSTERDAM (Jul. 18)
The Hague Public Prosecutor will drop criminal proceedings against Johan A. Van Tilburg who allegedly betrayed wealthy Dutch Jews to the Nazis during World War II so that he could appropriate their art treasures when they were deported to death camps. The Prosecutor concluded after an investigation of more than two months that insufficient evidence exists because none of the eye-witnesses is alive. The case file will not be closed.
Van Tilburg, 88, was formerly an Alderman in Dordrecht, south of Rotterdam. A Dutch de-Nazification court sentenced him to 13 months imprisonment after the war for collaborating with the Germans. He has lived in Pretoria, South Africa, for the past 25 years. The investigation was ordered by The Netherlands Minister of Justice after articles appeared in The Times of London and the South African Star describing his alleged wartime activities. The articles were published after Van Tilburg bequeathed his art collection, valued at some 20 million Guilder, to the University of Pretoria.
According to the papers, Van Tilburg befriended certain Dutch Jews and convinced them to place their valuables in his safe-keeping after which he reported their hiding places to the Gestapo.