Amsterdam central train station
Amsterdam central train stationiStock

Amsterdam’s public tram company, GVB, will place memorials at three central locations where it transported Dutch Jews into the clutches of the Nazis during the Holocaust.

The city of Amsterdam is also donating 100,000 Euros — and potentially more in the future — to local Jewish groups to divest itself of its revenue from collaborating with the Nazis.

The announcement, from the office of Amsterdam Mayor Femke Halsema, comes shortly after researchers revealed that the company had not only collaborated with the Nazis to transport Jews to their deaths but sought repayment for its services even after the war.

“GVB would now like to express its generous and sincere regret for the role that the Municipal Tram and the Municipal Transport Company played in the Second World War,” Halsema’s office said in a statement issued Friday. “GVB calls it horrible and cruel that the Municipal Transport Company has sent invoices for carrying out the journeys to transport Jewish Amsterdammers to Central Station and Muiderpoort Station. The municipality and GVB therefore want to part with the money earned by participating in these deportations.”

This week, officials from the city of Amsterdam, GVB, and Centraal Joods Overleg, the main Dutch Jewish organization, met to discuss the research in the book and documentary, “The Lost City,” which concluded that GVB had transported 48,000 Jews from the city into the hands of the Nazis.

The announcement of the memorials and donation is a first step in responding to the research, which the mayor’s office says is ongoing and will result in a broader response next year.

According to the announcement, GVB will rename one stop to reflect the new National Holocaust Museum, which opened this month. Halsema also indicated that she would consider a proposal by Itay Garmy, a Jewish City Council member, to make the museum free for all Amsterdam secondary school students. And the mayor signaled that the donation — the equivalent to what it received from the Nazis, adjusted for inflation and rounded up significantly — could end up being only the first step in restitution for the city’s role in persecuting its Jews, of whom the vast majority were murdered.

“The mayor has expressly informed the CJO that this amount is not intended as compensation, but is merely the return of money that the municipality should never have received,” the announcement said. “After the publication of the [forthcoming] report, the council will consider the financial consequences of the total findings.”

Gideon Taylor, president of the World Jewish Restitution Organization, which seeks the recovery of Jewish assets lost during the Holocaust, said in a statement that Amsterdam’s announcement represented a meaningful step.

“We acknowledge these important measures taken today. We look forward to continuing steps to address the past,” Taylor said. “Acknowledging history helps shape a better future.”