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Holocaust Survivor in Holland Asks for Compensation for Forced Labor

A Holocaust survivor is asking for compensation from a Dutch company for forced labor during World War II.

Rene Lijdesdorff, who is asking for $12,500, claims that Heidemij never paid him for his work. “It is impossible to check whether all payments were made correctly,” said a spokesman for Heidemij.

Other Holocaust survivors say they worked for the company without payment in other camps.

Heidemij, now renamed Arcadis, denied responsibility following a similar claim in 1963 and continues to do so now. The spokesman said, however, that the company would try to reach a solution with Lijdesdorff.

Lijdesdorff worked in a camp called Mantinge. Located in the north of Holland, Matinge was one of several camps established in the 1930s for the unemployed, and some 5,000 Jewish men were forced to dig trenches and cultivate land there during the war.

In July 1942, the Jewish laborers of Mantinge were taken to Westerbork — a transit camp for Dutch Jews on the road to Nazi concentration camps. Lijdesdorff managed to escape.

“Heidemij profited from these camps. I’m not claiming this money for myself; I’m doing it for the boys who didn’t return,” said Lijdesdorff.

If the compensation is paid, Lijdesdroff said he would donate it to the Westerbork memorial.

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