Groningen pays Jewish heir €328,000 for state-bought home

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The town hall of Groningen has compensated the heir of a Jewish couple whose house was bought by the state after being deported and murdered by the Nazis.

The mayor of Groningen, Koen Schuiling, admitted that the large detached house, bought according to the archives as a mayor’s official residence of the time, was acquired in the rules of the time but for a song, reports RTV North.

The house was requisitioned by the Nazis during the war, sold privately in 1944 and then expropriated by the Netherlands Institute of Management (NBI), according to Dutch media. It was purchased by the state from the rightful Jewish owner in 1952, but the family were unable to refuse and were never allowed back into the house.

Decency

The grandson of the Jewish Serphos-Menko family, Hubert van Blankenstein, brought a claim, which has been reviewed by a special committee. He said the compensation was an acknowledgment of pain and suffering from the past and that he would donate it to an anti-discrimination foundation that has yet to be established.

“For years I struggled with the question of why my parents, my sisters and I couldn’t live in our house,” he reportedly wrote in a press release from Israel, where he now lives. “The house that my grandmother and later my mother owned.

It is understood that the mayor of Groningen has personally contacted Van Blankenstein to apologize and offer compensation.

“Although the legal rules of the time were applied after the war, in terms of decency and morality, things did not go the right way,” Schuiling told RTV Noord. “This is the reason why I followed the opinion of the commission of inquiry.

In 2016, Amsterdam announced a 10 million euro fund to compensate Jews for housing taxes they were unfairly charged while in German death camps – but there was no enough survivors to take the money, so it was donated to Jewish causes.

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