Dutch town transfers ancient cemetery to Jewish community

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (JTA) — A town near Rotterdam has signed over its ancient Jewish cemetery to the Dutch Jewish community.

City officials from Werkendam re-registered the 19th century cemetery as belonging he Dutch Israelite Religious Community, or NIK, the municipality said this week.

The mayor of Werkendam, a town of 25,000, signed the deed of ownership last month. It was the fourth time in less than a year that property belonging to Dutch Jews before World War II was returned to the community.

According to NIK’s website, the community and city officials had been working since 2012 to finalize the arrangement, which was complicated by the need to obtain permission from relatives of people buried at the cemetery who could not be tracked down.

The NIK and the city had to present assurances that they had tried to contact the relatives but failed.

In March, an ancient Amsterdam synagogue was returned to the capital’s Jewish community after it had been sold in the years following World War II.

And last year, two Dutch Jewish cemeteries in the area of Vlissingen were returned. The municipality had taken possession of the cemeteries after the local Jewish community was destroyed in the Holocaust.

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