How the Jewish Community Defeated the Banks and Stock Exchange in the 2000 Dutch Restitution Negotiations

, April 28, 2010

Jewish Political Studies Review 22:1-2 (Spring 2010)

In the mid-1990s there was a sudden renewed public interest in the issue of looted Jewish possessions during the war and their very partial restitution afterward. In the Netherlands, public interest in restitution issues gradually reemerged after several decades of almost total silence. In the late 1990s, public inquiries focused on the government, banks, insurers, and the Amsterdam Stock Exchange. At the turn of the twentieth century, the Amsterdam Stock Exchange was controlled by the major Dutch banks. The restitution negotiations between the Jewish umbrella-body CJO and the exchange therefore became part of those with the Dutch Banking Association (NVB). After exceedingly low financial proposals by the exchange, the representatives of Dutch Jewry in the Netherlands and Israel involved the World Jewish Congress (WJC) in the negotiations. The WJC in turn approached the Hevesi Committee of American comptrollers. Seeing the American business of their members threatened, the NVB agreed to increase the offered payment more than thirtyfold.

In the mid-1990s there was a sudden renewed public interest in the issue of looted Jewish possessions during the war and their very partial restitution afterward. The international media discussion focused to a large extent on the dormant Swiss bank accounts. Yet in many other countries the restitution issue also reappeared on the public agenda.[1]

In the Netherlands, public interest in restitution issues gradually reemerged after several decades of almost total silence. The first step occurred on 10 March 1997 when Finance Minister Gerrit Zalm appointed a commission of prominent Dutchmen to examine whether, as the government surmised, money belonging to Dutch Jews from the wartime period had remained in foreign bank accounts. The commission was headed by former minister Jos A. van Kemenade and became known as the Van Kemenade Commission.[2] Its official name was Contactgroep Tegoeden WO-II (Second World War Assets Contact Group).

The tasks of the commission were rapidly expanded. One reason was  requests by the Dutch Banking Association (NVB), the Dutch Association of Insurers (VVV), and the umbrella body of the Dutch Jewish organizations, Centraal Joods Overleg (CJO), to investigate the banking and insurance sector.[3] On 17 June 1997, the Official Gazette published a letter from Zalm in which he agreed to the expansion of the Van Kemenade Commission’s tasks.[4]

The letter also said that an independent commission would be established, composed of people who enjoyed the confidence of the NVB, the VVV, and the Dutch Central Bank. Its chairman was a former vice-chairman of the Council of State, W. Scholten. Most members of the group, which became known as the Scholten Commission, were former board members of banks or insurance companies.

The Amsterdam Stock Exchange

In its research and inquiries the Scholten Commission identified an additional target for restitution, namely, the Amsterdam Stock Exchange.

During the war the Vereniging van de Effectenhandel (Amsterdam Stock Exchange Association, hereinafter VvdE) had taken the initiative for major collaboration with the German occupiers.

The systematic looting of Jewish properties started in 1941, well before the deportations of the Jews began. Shortly after the founding of a special looting bank for this purpose – popularly called LIRO – all Jews had to transfer to it their cash, checks, bank deposits, and securities.

About 75 percent of the looted Jewish assets that were handed over to LIRO were securities. Based on Ordinance 148/1941 (the first LIRO ordinance) of 8 August 1941, about five hundred thousand securities were surrendered to LIRO by the Jews. In 1944, LIRO mentioned that these had a sales value of about 300 million guilders.

After the looting process was initiated, the board of the VvdE approached the German representative at the Dutch Central Bank, Anton Bühler, and insisted that the Dutch securities looted from the Jews be traded on the Amsterdam Stock Exchange, rather than in Germany.[5] The VvdE then received German permission to trade looted Jewish securities.

The Scholten Commission’s report stressed that wartime trading on the Amsterdam Stock Exchange of securities looted from Jews was the result of this request to the Germans by the VvdE. After the war, C. F. Overhoff, the stock exchange chairman – and long considered an important resistance figure – falsely declared that this had been done to protect the former Jewish owners. [6] The true motivation for approaching the German authorities, however, was that the members of the VvdE did not want to lose the 4-5 percent of their turnover represented by the Jewish holdings. During the war many Amsterdam stock market traders made good profits on the sale of shares and bonds that had been expropriated from the Jews.

In his earlier research on the subject, Gerard Aalders had concluded: “Those traders who bought ‘infected’ securities did so consciously.” In his bookRoof  (Plunder) he noted many aspects of the misconduct of the Amsterdam Stock Exchange.[7]

No Charges Pressed

When Overhoff’s firm went bankrupt in 1948, it was discovered that he had been stealing money from it for over ten years. Aalders suggested that this made him more inclined to accommodate the Germans.[8] He was later sentenced to two and half years in jail.[9]

After the war, A.A.L.F. van Dullemen, the prosecutor-general at the Amsterdam court, decided not to press charges against Otto Rebholz, a renaturalized German and one of the key figures in the stock market collaboration regarding Jewish-owned securities. In 1950, he wrote: “The main argument against any further prosecution is that others, purely Dutch financiers, did the same as Rebholz and traded at least ten times more Jewish securities. It should be advised against bringing into disrepute the names of many well-known bankers, perhaps-or very probably-without condemnation.”[10]

After the war the members of the VvdE reached an agreement not to provide data on wartime transactions of securities to the dispossessed, that is, the Jews. This made it almost impossible for the Jews whose securities had been looted to obtain proof that buyers had acted in bad faith.[11]

In 1952, when the VvdE saw that judgments were going against it, it launched a strike on 20 May. On 26 May, Finance Minister Pieter Lieftinck wrote a letter to the VvdE’s board indicating that he would propose measures that were more favorable to the exchange. As a result the VvdE reinstated trading on 28 May. The minister had intended to take measures to suspend part of the restitution legislation. This in turn led to massive protests by jurists as it entailed a breach of the independence of the courts, a fundamental element of Dutch democracy.[12]

The minister then backed down and, in June 1953, his successor Johan van de Kieft proposed a restitution arrangement that was acceptable to both the VvdE and those who had been dispossessed.[13]

Finance Minister Favors Traders over War Victims

The Scholten Commission concluded:

“As far as the restitution of securities is concerned, at crucial moments the VvdE made use of the economic interest of undisturbed stock trading in order to enforce rulings, policies and decisions on property which were not in agreement with the Dutch sense of justice – not then and not today either.”

While they were threatening a stock exchange strike, the stock traders – who acted in bad faith with regard to securities belonging to Jews – claimed that they could no longer be held responsible for these actions. They had very rarely paid restitution.[14] 

The commission expressed its opinion that the successor of the VvdE, the AEX Exchanges (AEX), should declare that the attitude of its predecessor regarding the looting was improper.

The Scholten Commission also held then-minister Lieftinck coresponsible for the fact that by 1953 – eight years after the end of the war – almost nothing had been accomplished concerning legal restitution “in the form of the return of stolen goods-even where bad faith in the purchase of Jewish securities could be assumed.”[15]

The commission’s report concluded that Lieftinck had favored the interests of the security traders over those of the dispossessed Jews: “Apparently the Minister, in 1953, by doing what he considered necessary to continue the stock exchange activities, gave priority to the functioning of the Amsterdam Exchange over the breach of the legal rehabilitation system.”[16]

The Negotiations

At the turn of the twentieth century, the Amsterdam Stock Exchange was controlled by the major Dutch banks. The restitution negotiations between the CJO, on behalf of the Dutch Jewish community, and the exchange can thus not be seen independently from those with the NVB. Contacts between the CJO and the NVB were initiated in early 1998. The negotiations between the two parties began in July 1999. Besides the issue of money left with the banks themselves, they also dealt with the possibility of returning assets transferred to American financial institutions by Dutch banks at the beginning of the war.

Hein Blocks, at the time director of the NVB, described in an article how the investigation and negotiation process progressed.[17] In July 1999, the NVB and the CJO initiated a joint research project. The firm of PriceWaterhouseCooper (PwC) was charged with investigating a number of issues: those about which there was too little information, and those on which the two parties disagreed. A commission from the two sides accompanied the investigations. PwC published its report in March 2000.

On the basis of that report, the two parties agreed that the total amount to be paid by the banks according to the value in wartime guilders was somewhere between 1.4-1.95 million guilders. The question then was how to translate this into currency values of the year 2000. For each of the amounts concerned a multiplier was determined varying between 17 and 28, depending on the issue involved. Thus a total amount of between 28-39 million guilders was reached. The banks declared their willingness to pay the higher figure.

Blocks wrote:

“In April 2000 the CJO and the NVB agreed to an additional payment by the banks of 12 million guilders over and above the 38 million. This was meant to cover additional inadequacies in the restitution, other issues possibly undiscovered and as an allowance for the suffering caused by the banks. With that the total payment agreed on to be paid by the NVB reached 50 million guilders.[18]”

Ernst Numann is currently a judge on the Dutch Supreme Court and was chairman of the CJO for part of the negotiations. He remarks:

“Blocks was the chairman of the banks’ delegation. However, he had no leeway. There were three or four representatives of the large Dutch banks present. They were not willing to make concessions and hardly allowed Blocks to even negotiate. This made the negotiations very difficult. It was hard to reach a deal with four people on the other side, each of whom had a different opinion.[19]”

Delaying Signature of the Agreement

Numann adds: “We knew from the beginning that the biggest problems would be with the stock exchange, controlled by the major banks which, at the turn of the century, were the dominant traders there. We thus decided to proceed step by step. When we had concluded the more straightforward negotiations with the banks, we were supposed to sign the agreement with them.” Both Ronny Naftaniel, who was the official CJO negotiator and Numann relate that Avraham Roet, chairman of the Stichting Platform Israel (SPI), the umbrella body of the Dutch Jewish organizations in Israel, suggested that the CJO link the signing of the agreement with the NVB to that with the stock exchange.[20]

Numann recalls:

“In a meeting with the banks I said that we agreed to the 50 million guilders they had proposed. But we were not willing to sign the contract unless there was also an agreement with the exchange. The bank representatives were furious. I could well understand them. It is normal procedure that once people reach an agreement they sign a contract. Yet we had a good reason not to do so. We told them: “Just keep the money for a few months, but we want to be paid interest.” The banks said that this was unacceptable.”

As far as the banks were concerned one could say that perhaps it was not their fault that the money had not been reimbursed to the Jewish account holders after the war. The stock exchange situation was different. They had been major collaborators with the German occupiers and continued to misbehave after the war.[21]

The Stock Exchange’s Initial Offer

The Scholten Commission had concluded in its report that “it would be entirely correct if either the VvdE or the AEX Exchanges would make available an amount to the Jewish community…of several million guilders in order to conclude their part in the effective restitution for securities.”[22]In February 2000, the CJO had started negotiations with the AEX whose predecessor, the VvdE, was in liquidation.

The offer by the AEX of 8 million guilders was only a tiny fraction of what the representatives of the Dutch Jews were claiming. Naftaniel remarks that they had started even lower with an offer of 4 million guilders.[23] Numann says: “We thought about a large multiple of that figure. Then the representative of the stock exchange said cynically: ‘In that case, you might as well take over the exchange.’ I responded that we had no interest in doing so.”[24]

Apologies

As noted earlier, the VvdE had consistently acted in bad faith toward the Jews during the war and, in the immediate postwar years, systematically sabotaged restitution efforts.

The Scholten Commission had concluded that the exchange should bring to the public’s attention that it had taken a “far from positive” attitude toward the claims of those who had been dispossessed. Furthermore, the commission stated, the exchange should express its regret for exerting pressure on the authorities after the war by going on strike. The commission’s expression “far from positive” was a misplaced euphemism.

In line with this, on 10 February 2000 H. Heemskerk, the liquidator of the VvdE and G. A. Moeller, president of the AEX, offered their organizations’ apologies to the Jewish community, which was represented by the CJO and SPI .[25]

Assessment of What Was Due

The CJO considered the amount offered to be totally insufficient. The discrepancy between the offers of the two parties would lead to the main conflict in the renewed restitution process. The CJO then requested that the accountancy firm Paardekooper & Hoffman prepare a report on how the money connected with securities, for which the Jewish community had been shortchanged after the war, should be expressed in contemporary values.

The CJO gave the accountants a number of inputs. A key one was that the initial owners of the securities had not been reimbursed for 15 million guilders in 1953. The CJO also told the accountants that they should make a number of assumptions, including that 80 percent of this damage, or 12 million guilders, was supposed to have been incurred by Jews. A second assumption would be that the composition of the securities for which there had been reimbursement of 90 percent at the time consisted of 50 percent of shares and 50 percent of debentures.

A further assumption was that the shares should be assessed in current values according to the increase in the share index, while payment for the debentures should be based on the compound interest of long-term state debentures. On this basis Paardekooper & Hoffman reached a multiplier of slightly over 64 for shares, and about 20 for debentures. They concluded that, accordingly, the Jewish community should receive 505 million guilders.[26]

Involving the Banks

The CJO’s external adviser Chris van Gent remarks, “These were complicated negotiations. We had quickly realized that it was useless to talk with the AEX and that the only meaningful counterpart was the NVB. Blocks did his best to avoid that for some time.”[27] The CJO, however, insisted that the NVB participate in the negotiations with the stock exchange organizations, in view of the dominant role of the banks on the exchange. The NVB finally accepted this.

The major point of discussion was what should be the basis for the amount to be paid. Blocks writes:

“The banks wanted to use the same principle as that which had been accepted in the agreement concerning the banks themselves: reimbursement of all financial benefits which the banks – according to contemporary definitions of injustice – had enjoyed. The reimbursement of the shortfall in restitution was seen by the stock exchange and the banks as a repetition of the securities restitution in 1953. They were only willing to do this if all parties involved in that restitution – thus including the Dutch state – would participate in these discussions. For the Jewish organizations this was unacceptable because the agreement they had concluded with the government shortly before was a final one.[28]”

The banks would later agree with what the Jewish community had claimed. That meant the entire shortfall of 12 million should be paid in money values of the year 2000. However, their position was that, in 1953, the members of the stock exchange had not caused the entire shortfall. Furthermore, they did not want to pay for those members of the stock exchange that were not banks and also not for members who no longer existed.

On 31 April 2000, Minister Zalm appeared on the television program Buitenhof. He said he was willing to mediate in the unsuccessful negotiations between the CJO and the stock exchange. On behalf of the CJO, Naftaniel responded that mediation was not so “useful” at this moment. He added that the Amsterdam Stock Exchange should first do its homework and that it made sense to wait for that.[29]

The CJO and its advisers took a very negative view of the banks’ approach to the negotiations on the stock exchange restitution matter. Van Gent says:

“When the banks came to the negotiating table, they did so rather poorly. They sent people who were not of the highest level and could not make decisions. These negotiators had to return to their board of directors each time to ask what they should do. They probably got instructions to give in as little as possible. Then they had to reach agreements with colleagues from other banks, and ask themselves how to reach a settlement. It was only due to the pressure later coming from the United States that we could reach an agreement.[30]”

Involving the World Jewish Congress

Henri Markens, who was chairman of the CJO at the time of the negotiations with the stock exchange remarks:

“They said that they had no money and thus couldn’t pay. That was a fiction, because the banks controlled the exchange and they had money. Roet saw early on that we needed to involve the World Jewish Congress. We at the CJO were initially opposed to bringing the WJC into the negotiations.”

Numann and I contacted Tom de Swaan – a Jewish member of the Van Kemenade Commission – in his capacity as director of the large ABN AMRO bank and told him: ‘If you don’t come up with a solution, it will only cause trouble. The banks are manipulating us and in turn the WJC will start to manipulate the banks. The net result will be that the Dutch banks will soon be seriously hampered in their business in the United States. All this because they don’t want to pay a few hundred million guilders, which is not so much for them.'”[31]

These contacts, however, yielded no results. Naftaniel observes that they were a private initiative that had not been authorized by the CJO.[32]

De Swaan recalls the meeting with Markens and Numann:

“They took the initiative and the conversation had an informal character. I did not want to get involved in the negotiations, which were conducted on behalf of the banks by the NVB. I had no mandate to discuss figures nor did I want to have one. I told my colleagues about this meeting. It was clear to me that ABN AMRO, which had major U.S. interests, took the threat of the WJC, as indicated by Markens, very seriously.[33]”

Roet had in the meantime established contact with Israel Singer, the secretary-general of the WJC. Through the pressure and mediation of the SPI, the CJO changed its mind and agreed to an approach to the WJC.[34] This was concluded at a meeting of Naftaniel and CJO deputy chairman Rob Wurms with SPI representatives in Jerusalem. Thereafter, on 21 May 2000, the three organizations agreed to coordinate their efforts.[35] Naftaniel remarks that this approach to involve the WJC was not shared by part of the CJO board.[36]

Approaching Hevesi

Elan Steinberg, the executive director of the WJC then brought the matter before Alan Hevesi, the Jewish comptroller of New York City on 25 May. Hevesi had earlier arranged to discuss a boycott of the Swiss banks on behalf of eight hundred state comptrollers and financial officers.[37] It was decided to give the Dutch bodies thirty days to make an acceptable offer, with the implication that sanctions might be instituted after that date.

Steinberg told the media that “the postwar Dutch government and Stock Exchange [were] accomplices in an effort to prevent the rightful owners from acquiring their assets.”[38] The WJC also threatened to approach U.S regulators to block the multibillion-dollar takeover of the American insurer ReliaStar Financial Corporation by the major Dutch banking and insurance group ING.

The secretary of the CJO, Joop Sanders remarks: “Hevesi’s pressure, which may have been no more than a publicized draft letter, helped greatly in reaching a good conclusion. The CJO, on its own, would have obtained far more than the initial amount offered, but much less than what was finally agreed.”[39]

Steinberg relates the developments from his vantage point. He mentions that Naftaniel had initially asked on behalf of the CJO that the WJC would stay out of all Dutch negotiations. Steinberg adds that the CJO soon found out that their efforts to go it alone with the stock exchange resulted in an impasse in the negotiations. Then, in order to break it, Naftaniel

“played “the WJC card” telling the press that the WJC would call for a boycott of Dutch companies if the Dutch remained intransigent. Obviously, when the press called I could not confirm this. Naftaniel then called me in desperation and withdrew his previous request that we stay out.”

At the end of the day we made an agreement with both the CJO and the SPI that we would work together on this issue. I then approached the Hevesi Committee of American comptrollers. Hevesi thereupon wrote a letter to the Dutch banks telling them to settle the matter quickly.

Afterward a delegation of Dutch bankers came to see Hevesi’s assistant in New York. While they were waiting in the anteroom, what they didn’t know is that I was on the phone with Naftaniel in Amsterdam asking him what payment from the banks would be satisfactory to the CJO. He gave me the figure of 264 million guilders. I called Hevesi’s assistant. When the bankers came in he informed them of this figure and they agreed to it.[40]

Media Support

The pooling of Jewish forces against the banks and the stock exchange found support in leading Dutch dailies. The financial daily Het Financieele Dagblad wrote about the looted securities: “Shortly after the war, 90 percent of the financial damage was restored. That there is again a conflict about this 50 years later is justified because the compromise at the time was only reached after the securities traders went on strike in order to prevent their being dealt with severely [by the government].”[41]

The NRC Handelsblad said:

“The role of the stock exchange in and after the war is documented in ink-black pages, whereas for the insurers grey is the dominant color…. It may be incidental, but at almost the same moment a report was published in New York that was prepared by the American government in 1946. In it, LIRO and other looting organizations in the Netherlands are indicated to have been “the most fantastic thieves in modern history.” The loot is estimated at about 3 billion guilders, which is substantially more than the 1.65 billion guilders that the British expert Helen Junz calculated for the Volcker Commission and the sum of 1 billion that the Van Kemenade Commission arrived at.[42]”

With their major U.S. business interests threatened, the Dutch banks rapidly caved in. On 15 June 2000, they reached an agreement with their Jewish counterparts. The banks, the AEX, and its legal predecessor consented to pay 314 million guilders, including the 50 million guilders earlier agreed for the banks.[43] The money paid for the claims against the stock exchange – 264 million guilders – was thus more than thirty times the initial offer.[44]

Blocks summarized this process very briefly and embellished it:

“After mutual consultation the banks and the stock exchange finally proposed to jointly reimburse the entire shortfall of 12 million guilders with the multiplier of 20. This also included the share of those members of the exchange who did not exist anymore. The multiplier was based on the compound interest of long-term state debentures for the period 1953-2000. This resulted in 240 million guilders. In order to reach a rapid conclusion, which was important for all those involved, an additional payment was agreed upon. Thus the parties reached an agreement of 264 million guilders.[45]”

Roet observes that the agreement with the NVB was not reached so easily:

“A meeting took place in New York between an American representative of the Dutch banks, a lobbyist for them and an assistant of Hevesi. During that meeting the agreement was reached to pay 264 million guilders. However, when we later met with the representatives of the NVB in Amsterdam, they tried to negate this agreement. One of them mistakenly showed me the protocol of the New York meeting, which mentioned the agreement on 264 million guilders. I returned the document to him and when I asked to see it again, he said he had torn it up. But, as I had already seen it, the banks could no longer go back on it.[46] “

Naftaniel says: “The figure of 264 million guilders wasn’t known only in the CJO board, but had already spread to the outside. It was also known to some journalists who were waiting outside to hear the results of our meeting with the NVB representatives. One of them was Jos Hagers of the Telegraaf, the largest Dutch daily.”[47]

Looking back many years later, former minister Zalm remarked: “I encouraged the banks to solve the matter quickly. In the end the pressure from the United States to conclude the issue cost them unnecessary money from their point of view. If, from the beginning, the banks had taken a reasonable position and received the Jewish community decently, they would have paid less. I didn’t pity them.”[48]

Advertisements

There was also a nonmaterial point in the agreement with the stock exchange bodies. They committed themselves to place an advertisement in a number of international media, expressing their apologies. This advertisement bore the heading “Amsterdam Stock Exchange Association and Amsterdam Exchanges express regret for the conduct of the exchange during and after World War II.”

The announcement said, among other things:

“The Amsterdam Stock Exchange Association agrees with the conclusion reached by the Scholten Committee and the Van Kemenade Committee that it acted in a way that is contrary to society’s understanding of what is considered to be just and fair. The Amsterdam Stock Exchange Association is thoroughly aware that the attitude condemned by the Scholten and Van Kemenade Committees needlessly caused additional suffering to many members of the Jewish community in the Netherlands. It now wishes to express its sincere regrets about its past conduct and to apologize to the Jewish community, while stating that it is aware that an apology can never compensate for what happened to the Jewish community.”

Amsterdam Exchanges N.V., the Dutch exchange organization since 1 January 1997, and therefore the successor to the Amsterdam Stock Exchange Association, has stated that it condemns and regrets the actions of its predecessor during and after World War II and wholeheartedly supports the statement made by the Amsterdam Stock Exchange Association….

On 15 June 2000, the Netherlands Bankers’ Association (Nederlandse Vereniging van Banken), the Amsterdam Stock Exchange Association and Amsterdam Exchanges signed an agreement with the Central Jewish Council, Platform Israel, and the Central Jewish Council’s advisory body on restitution and distribution concerning the refund of amounts that were not distributed in 1953 in the context of the restitution of securities rights to the Jewish community, partly as a result of the conduct of the Amsterdam Stock Exchange Association. The World Jewish Congress has expressed its approval of the agreement signed by the organizations representing the Jewish community in the Netherlands. This agreement stipulates that the Netherlands Bankers’ Association, the Amsterdam Stock Exchange Association and Amsterdam Exchanges will provide an amount of 314 million guilders to the Jewish community as a final settlement for the restitution of securities rights. This settlement includes an amount of 50 million guilders based on agreements reached previously by the Netherlands Bankers’ Association and the Jewish community.[49]

A Memorial Stone

Furthermore, it was agreed that a memorial stone would be ensconced in the building on Sarphati Street where the LIRO offices had been. As with so many elements of the negotiations with the banks, this matter did not pass without difficulties. Today there is a branch of the ABN AMRO bank in that building. The bank initially opposed the placing of the memorial, as it thought it would imply that it was somehow associated with LIRO.

The text of the memorial stone, on which the two parties agreed, says: “In this building, during the German occupation from 1941 the looting institution ‘Liro’ was housed. Liro had as its aim to systematically rob the Jews of all their worldly possessions.”[50] Below that is the text of Isaiah 42: 22-24 in both Hebrew and Dutch.

In 2003, a ceremony for the setting of the stone took place. On that occasion Blocks said: “It is incomprehensible that only 58 years after the war are we giving attention to the looting…with this stone we want to make our contribution to the emotional restitution.”[51]

 

*     *     *

Notes

 

* This article is part of a research project on the Dutch restitution process, which was made possible through the support of the Stichting Collectieve Marorgelden Israel (SCMI ) and the Conference on Jewish Material Claims against Germany (Rabbi Israel Miller Fund for Shoah Research, Documentation and Education).

[1] See, e.g., Avi Beker, ed., The Plunder of Jewish Property during the Holocaust: Confronting European History (Houndmills, UK: Palgrave, 2001).

[2] Commissie Van Kemenade, Tweede Wereldoorlog: Roof en Rechtsherstel. Eindrapport van de Contactgroep Tegoeden WO II, Amsterdam, 27 January 2000, 6. [Dutch]

[3] Ibid.

[4] Brief minister van Financien aan de voorzitter van deTweede Kamer der Staten-Generaal nr. BGW 97/1491-M, 13 juni 1997 (Kamerstuk 25 806 nummer 3), Scholten Commission, first report, 6. [Dutch]

[5] Scholten Commission, Final Report, 247. [Dutch]

[6] Ibid., 270ff.

[7] Gerard Aalders, Roof (The Hague: Sdu, 1999), 191. [Dutch]

[8] Ibid., 180.

[9] Scholten Commission, Final Report, 389.

[10] Gerard Aalders, Berooid (Amsterdam: Boom, 2001), 295.

[11] Scholten Commission, Final Report,  253.

[12] Ibid., 390.

[13] Ibid., 391-397.

[14] Ibid., 15.

[15] Ibid., 12.

[16] Ibid.

[17] Hein G. M. Blocks, “De overeenkomst tussen de joodse organisaties, de banken en de beurs,” Bank- en Effectenbedrijf, July/August 2000. [Dutch]

[18] Ibid.

[19] Personal communication, Ernst Numann.

[20] Personal communications, Ronny Naftaniel and Ernst Numann.

[21] Personal communication, Ernst Numann.

[22] Scholten Commission, Final Report, 16.

[23] Personal communication, Ronny Naftaniel.

[24] Personal communication, Ernst Numann.

[25] See: Advertisement, “Amsterdam Stock Exchange Association and Amsterdam Exchanges express regret for the conduct of the exchange during and after World War II,” Jerusalem Post, 9 August 2000.

[26] Paardekooper & Hoffman, letter to the board of CJO, 26 April 2000. [Dutch].

[27] Personal communication, Chris van Gent.

[28] Blocks, “De overeenkomst.”

[29] “Zalm bereid te bemiddelen in joods-geldzaak,” Volkskrant, 1 May 2000. [Dutch]

[30] Personal communication, Chris van Gent.

[31] Personal communication, Henri Markens.

[32] Personal communication, Ronny Naftaniel.

[33] Personal communication, Tom de Swaan

[34] Personal communication, Chris van Gent.

[35] NRC Handelsblad, 26 May 2000. [Dutch]

[36] Personal communication, Ronny Naftaniel.

[37] Manfred Gerstenfeld, interview with Israel Singer, “Restitution: The Second Round” Post-Holocaust and Anti-Semitism, 14, 2 November 2003.

[38] Reuters, 31 May 2000.

[39] Personal communication, Joop Sanders.

[40] Personal communication, Elan Steinberg.

[41] Het Financieele Dagblad, 30 May 2000. [Dutch]

[42] NRC Handelsblad, 16 June 2000. [Dutch]

[43] For the headlines of the agreement concerning the stock exchange restitution payments to the Jewish community, see Aalders, Berooid, 393-394.

[44] NRC Handelsblad, 16 June 2000. [Dutch]

[45] Blocks, “De overeenkomst.”

[46] Personal communication, Avraham Roet.

[47] Personal communication, Ronny Naftaniel.

[48] Manfred Gerstenfeld, “Leading Dutch Ministers Look Back on End-of-Century Holocaust-Assets Restitution,” interviews with Wim Kok, Gerrit Zalm, and Els Borst, Post-Holocaust and Anti-Semitism, 93, 15 January 2010.

[49] Advertisement, “Amsterdam Stock Exchange Association and Amsterdam Exchanges express regret for the conduct of the exchange during and after World War II”, Jerusalem Post, 9 August 2000.

[50] The original Dutch text is: “In dit gebouw was tijdens de Duitse bezetting vanaf 1941 de roofinstelling ‘Liro’ gevestigd. Liro richtte zich op de stelselmatige beroving van de Joodse bevolking van al haar aardse  bezittingen.”

[51] ANP, “Monumentje bij roofbank LIRO,” Het Parool, 27 May 2003. [Dutch]

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Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld is chairman of the Board of Fellows of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. He is an international business strategist who has been a consultant to governments, international agencies, and boards of some of the world’s largest corporations. Among the sixteen books he has published are Europe’s Crumbling Myths: The Post-Holocaust Origins of Today’s Anti-Semitism (JCPA, Yad Vashem, WJC, 2003), Behind the Humanitarian Mask: The Nordic Countries, Israel and the Jews (JCPA and Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies, 2008), andThe Abuse of Holocaust Memory: Distortions and Responses (JCPA and ADL, 2009).