(JTA) — The City of Amsterdam earmarked $1.18 million from its budget to pay back fines it unjustly collected from Holocaust survivors.
The allocation, which Mayor Eberhard van der Laan announced Thursday, is for fines that the city had imposed on hundreds of Jewish Holocaust survivors for properties they owned but for which they had failed to pay ground lease fees after the German army invaded the Netherlands in 1940, the Het Parool daily reported.
The money is to be transferred to a fund the city will set up in the near future to handle reimbursement claims by survivors or their descendants.
The city also intends to transfer to the same fund the equivalent of the actual ground lease fees unjustly levied from Jews when they were in hiding from the German occupation forces or in concentration camps, Het Parool reported.
The reimbursement comes after the submission last month of a report by the Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies, or NIOD, finding that the municipality unjustly collected more than $10 million from Holocaust survivors.
“The NIOD report shows that the taxation of war victims was formalistic and inappropriate [not only] in hindsight but also at the time,” van der Laan said in a statement to the Dutch news agency Novum on Thursday.
Nazi authorities began in 1942 the deportation and murder of 75 percent of the 140,000 Jews living in the Netherlands then.
Many of the houses in question were used by Nazi occupation officers and local collaborators, Het Parool reported. The city pursued Holocaust survivors for missed payments as late as 1947 and imposed fines on them for missing payments, according to the daily, whose publication on the issue last year prompted the investigation.
The NIOD researchers estimate the city received a total of $14.5 million from fines unjustly levied against Jews during the relevant period, according to Ronny Naftaniel, a former chief negotiator for the Dutch Jewish community in restitution talks and a member of the supervisory committee of the NIOD research.