Monday, 23 March 2020

The economy über alles virus

Local and national authorities in the Netherlands collaborated in the persecution and deportation of Dutch Jews during the Second World War.
The local police rounded the Jews up and the national railways transported them to a transit camp and later to the German border. 
There was not one case of sabotage.
Eichmann praised the Dutch effusively for the efficiency of the operation. He is reported to have said: "The transports run so smoothly that it is a pleasure to see."

The Germans paid for the collaboration. If they did not pay on time they were sent a reminder.
This is not as strange as it sounds. The deportations took place early in the war when the Germans were still trying to lure the Dutch into becoming junior partners in their new empire.

In 1941 the German occupiers established a Dutch bank known as the Limor bank. The purpose of this bank was to systematically register and then rob Jewish property (money, securities and valuables).
Money from the Limor Bank was used, among other things, to pay Dutch authorities for their collaboration in the deportation of Jews from the Netherlands.

After the end of the war, on 17 September 1945, the new Dutch Minister of Transport, Steef van Schaik, addressed a group of railway workers in Utrecht.
He praised them for their collaboration in the deportation of the Jews. He said the income was essential for the economy and more important than the lives of the Jews ("the unfortunate victims").
The sacrifice was necessary to save the economy.

We are now in the midst of the coronavirus crisis.
I was reading a Dutch article about the negative economic consequences of restrictions that had been imposed to save lives.
The writer called for the removal of these restrictions. He realized that this would lead to many more deaths.
However, the sacrifice was necessary to save the economy.

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