AFP: Amsterdam Made Jews Pay Back Rent Accrued While in WWII Nazi Camps
AMSTERDAM — Amsterdam council has vowed to probe revelations that it forced Jews returning from World War II concentration camps to pay rent arrears, even if their homes had been destroyed or occupied by Nazis.
The scandal, involving an unknown number of Jews and non-Jews living in city-owned properties, was uncovered by a young art history student in Amsterdam’s archives.
Less than a quarter of Amsterdam’s Jewish population survived the war, with the Netherlands occupied by the Nazis from 1940 to 1945.
“On their return, Jews received letters from Amsterdam council demanding the settling of their back rent,” the art historian, Charlotte van den Berg, 23, told AFP.
The council even issued fines for late rent payments for homes that were confiscated and occupied by Nazi forces or members of the Dutch collaborationist NSB movement.
Van den Berg was a student at Amsterdam Free University when she made the discovery while digitising Amsterdam’s municipal archives in 2010.
She decided to dig deeper.
“I wanted to know if the city had ever corrected these measures taken in 1946,” Van den Berg told AFP.
“Unfortunately all I could find was a reduction in fines from 1947,” some of which were levied on homes destroyed by Second World War bombings, she said.
Holocaust survivor David Bonte, 91, told Amsterdam’s Het Parool newspaper that demands for back rent from Jews were widespread at the time.
His family received a bill in 1946 for unpaid back rent on their council-owned property.