Information for Holocaust Survivors and Others Seeking Reparations
Provision for Dutch victims of the Second World War
A large number of Dutch nationals suffered Physical injury or psychological damage or died as a result of the events of the Second World War. These victims suffered under not only the Nazi regime but also under the Japanese Occupation of the former Dutch East Indies. The government and Parliament take the view that the Netherlands has a particular duty to show solidarity with war victims, often seriously afflicted, and their next of kin.
Dutch civilian war victims can be classified in five categories:
- Victims of persecution
- Members of the resistance In the Netherlands
- Members of the resistance in the former Dutch East Indies
- Civilian victims
- Victims of the war at sea
Over the years the obligation of solidarity has been given concrete form in a number of pieces of legislation. There is a separate Act of Parliament for each category. The basic principle underpinning all such legislation Is to guarantee an income for all resistance members, seamen, victims of persecution and civilian victims, and their next of kin, who have become physically or mentally disabled as a result of the War. This Income will enable them to continue, within reasonable limits, to live at the level to which they were accustomed before the consequences of the disasters of war became apparent. The general principle is enshrined in different ways in the various pieces of legislation. Three Acts provide for pensions, on the legal basis of a "notional employment contract". The resistance worker or seaman is dealt with as if he had been in government service during the war. On the basis of this contract of employment, the government is obliged to pay compensation and provide care, if the resistance worker or seaman has become disabled or has died as a result of his active participation in the war effort.
There are two pieces of benefit legislation which have their legal basis in a particular commitment to Dutch societv's solidarity with victims of persecution and civilian war victims. The guiding principle here is that the level of benefit Is based on the income the recipients formerly enjoyed and is related to family circumstances. Further Information on the Victims of Persecution 1940-1945 Benefits Act (Wuv) can be found in a separate paper on legislation on compensation for the victims of persecution.
People born after the war may call on a temporary scheme to cover the costs or psychotherapy for the post-war generation.
Since 1990, a single organization - the Pensions and Benefits Council has been responsible for the implementation of legislation applying to war victims. Even today it employs more than 300 full-time staff. Some 50.000 people currently receive benefit or pension payments under the legislation in question.
There are also a number of government-funded bodies providing non-material assistance to war victims. In 1980, an information and coordination body for services to war victims was set up with the aim of improving the assistance and services provided to them. This body provides information and advice to war victims and mediates in the provision of assistance. A further aspect of its operations is the provision of information on the specific problems of war victims, particularly for the benefit of aid workers and aid organizations.
Four institutions employ social workers who specialize in the specific problems experienced by particular groups of war victims.
In 1973, a centre was set up for the medical and psychological treatment, mainly through psychotherapy, of resistance workers and war victims. In addition to a clinic, the centre offers out-patient and day treatment.
There are psychotherapists who have above-average and in some cases very specialized knowledge and experience in the area of providing help to war victims. A care worker can often benefit from consulting one of them, for instance to find a way of continuing a course of treatment which has reached a difficult stage.
Legislation on compensation for victims of persecution in the Netherlands and the former Dutch East Indies.
Legislation on assistance to war victims in the Netherlands dates back as far as the Second World War itself. A temporary scheme was introduced as long ago as 1944. Under the scheme, financial support was provided for all those who as a result of war or war conditions or actions or measures taken by the occupying forces were wholly or partly unable to provide for their own subsistence.
This scheme was replaced in 196I by the Government Group Scheme for War Victims 1940-1945. Under this scheme, war victims are defined as people who, as a result of war, wartime conditions, actions or measures taken by the occupying forces In the Netherlands have become wholly of partly disabled. The scheme was converted in 1965 into a scheme based an the National Assistance Act, which had meanwhile come into force to provide financial support to all Dutch citizens who were unable to provide for their own subsistence. The opportunity was also taken to extend the scheme to victims of the war in the former Dutch East Indies.
Attention was increasingly being drawn to a special category of war victims, namely those who had been exposed to persecution on the basis of their race, religion, beliefs or sexual preference. This ultimately led to a separate piece of legislation being passed in 1973 for this category: the Victims of persecution 1940-1945 Benefits Act (Wuv). This governs the allocation of benefits to those who suffered persecution under the German or Japanese occupation on account of their race, religion, beliefs or sexual preference and to those who experienced persecution during the Japanese occupation because they were European in origin or pro-European in outlook. The Act defines persecution as follows: deprivation of liberty through confinement in concentration camps, prisons or other places aimed at the termination of life or permanent surveillance. Being subjected to sterilization and going underground to avoid imprisonment are also included in the definition.
The definition therefore encompasses several groups of victims of persecution; Jews, Jehovah's Witnesses, gypsies, homosexuals and political prisoners.
The Wuv guarantees an income which enables the victims of persecution to continue to live, within reasonable limits, at the level to which they were accustomed before being affected by the consequences of persecution.
Apart from a monthly payment, special payments can also be claimed for certain medical expenses, facilities, domestic help, etc.
The Act is unique In its scope, as payments and grants are awarded to victims of persecution in the Netherlands and the former Dutch East Indies who have now made their home elsewhere in the world, for example in the USA, Israel, Canada, etc. In 1997 the Dutch government is still paying benefits and grants to nearly 1400 people living in the USA, 300 in Canada and over 1500 people In Israel.