Last year, Salo Muller successfully secured €50 million from a Dutch railway company for its participation in the Holocaust
A man who previously successfully secured €50 million from a Dutch railway company for Holocaust survivors is now pursuing legal action against a German railway company over its alleged role in the decimation of the Dutch Jewish population.
The parents of Salo Muller ended up in Auschwitz, taken there by train from Amsterdam when he was a boy. Muller, now 84 years old, wants an apology and financial compensation for nearly 500 Dutch survivors and about 5,500 next of kin, the Guardian reports.
During the Second World War, the Deutsche Reichbahn operated Germany’s railways and transported about 107,000 Dutch Jews to concentration camps where they were murdered. Victims often funded their own travel, while the company earned the modern equivalent of €16 million.
“I blame the railway company for knowingly transporting Jews to the concentration camps and for killing those Jews there in a terrible way,” Muller, a one-time physiotherapist with famed Dutch soccer club Ajax, told the Dutch current affairs programme Nieuwsuur. “I can’t give up because this hurts me every day. Every day I have to think about this and it hurts me. And I want that pain to finally pass.”
“I want recognition from them and recognition always comes with an allowance”, Muller said.
Muller’s lawyer has written to German chancellor Angela Merkel, saying the heirs of Germany’s wartime railways have a moral obligation, as well as a legal one, to recognize their role in the killing of millions of Jews, Sinti and Roma people.
Last year, Muller secured an apology and €50 million in compensation from the Nederlandse Spoorwegen (NS), a Dutch railway company, to be divided among survivors and their families.
The German railway ran more than a hundred so-called Holocaust trains from the Netherlands to extermination camps like Auschwitz and Sobibor. Heinrich Himmler, head of the Nazi SS, is said in 1943 to have pleaded for more trains to rapidly transport would-be victims. Railway boss Albert Ganzenmuller was the only Nazi from the German train network taken to court, but had a heart attack on his first day in court in 1973 and was deemed medically unfit to sit trial. He died in 1996.
“The Dutch Jews transported by the Deutsche Reichsbahn have simply been forgotten,” said lawyer Axel Hagedorn, representing Muller. “The state is a 100 per cent shareholder in the railways. Germany’s moral responsibility always remains.”
Postwar, the German Democratic Republic in East Germany assumed control of the Deutsch Reichsbahn. In 1994, the Deutsche Bahn was recreated into the entity it is today after German reunification.
In 2017, Muller published two books called See You Tonight and Promise to be a Good Boy. Both were named in honour of the last words his mother said to him.