Johannes Houwink ten Cate, The Return of the Jews: Jewish Owners of Amsterdam Real Estate and the Ground Rent, 1938–1949, Historein, 18|2019,

The most recent public discussion on the return of deported Jews to the Netherlands took place in April 2013. On 30 March of that year, the Amsterdam daily Het Parool broke the forgotten story of how Amsterdam municipality in 1947 had imposed a fine of 3 percent per year on Jewish leaseholders, upon their return from Nazi captivity or from hiding, on any ground rent arrears that had accrued in their absence. The two authors who have written most extensively on this topic, Hinke Piersma and Jeroen Kemperman, have wrongly interpreted this fine as a typical example of the lack of solidarity of the municipality with the persecuted Jews. My findings – based on the original documents – suggest pretty much the exact opposite: the decision by local Amsterdam politicians to reduce these fines from six to three percent for Jews in particular was in reaction to Jewish protests and intended as a symbolic gesture to acknowledge the plight of the persecuted and decimated Jews.

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