Dutch halt reparations to Holocaust survivors receiving them elsewhere
The Netherlands has decided to stop payments to Dutch survivors who already receive a payment from Israel; Israel's Holocaust Survivors' Rights Authority sent notice to survivors stating that survivors already receiving a payment cannot be paid by Israel.
During a hearing Tuesday, the Knesset Finance Committee found out that the Dutch government's decision was made following their finding out that an equivalent benefit was given to survivors from Israel’s Finance Ministry.
Following talks conducted between the Dutch authorities and Holocaust survivors’ organizations in Israel and the Finance Ministry’s Holocaust Survivors Rights Authority, survivors received a notice at the end of December. Channel 10 reported that those who receive a monthly payment from the Dutch government will not receive the payment from the Israeli Ministry of Finance.
In the letter sent by Ofra Ross, director of the Holocaust Survivors' Rights Authority it was noted that by law the benefit cannot be paid to survivors already receiving a survivor’s allowance.
The letter ended by saying: “we apologize for the inconvenience and wish you good health and longevity." In addition, the elderly survivors were told that they had to report to the authority within two weeks if they receive a payment from the Dutch government.
Abraham Roth, 87, a Holocaust survivor from the Netherlands, testified Tuesday in the Finance Committee hearing. Roth, who survived the ghetto in Amsterdam and whose two sisters were murdered in Auschwitz, said that many Dutch Jewish Holocaust survivors would rather give up the Israeli Ministry of Finance’s allowance provided the government in Amsterdam does not stop its payment to survivors.
"The Dutch government is trying to find a technical loophole to save a few bucks on the backs of Holocaust survivors, while the Israeli government announced the termination of the allowance," said Roth. "The Dutch have a responsibility to the survivors and the crimes committed in their territory, and they cannot shirk it. The two governments cannot deny their obligations towards the survivors."
As far as is known, the Dutch government's decision has not yet been put into practice. However, the chairman of the Finance Committee, MK Moshe Gafni (United Torah Judaism) announced Tuesday night that he would turn to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to urge him to intervene in the Dutch government’s decision. "I am determined to resolve the matter and will definitely not let it pass just like that.”