Amsterdam Housing accused of hiking rents on Jews forced into ghettos

Gatehouse of the degrated reeducation school Asterdorp in Amsterdam-Noord, now the property of Ymere (Photo: Aquilo/Wikimedia Commons)Gatehouse of the degraded reeducation school Asterdorp in Amsterdam-Noord, now the property of Ymere (Photo: Aquilo/Wikimedia Commons)

The Amsterdam Housing agency increased the rents in the ghettos Asterdorp and Transvaalbuurt with 25 to 30 percent when Jews were forced to move there during World War II. The Housing agency likely never gave the 10 guilders deposit charged back to the Jews who lived in the ghettos, but did declare the expenses for housing the Jews three times, according to the Book Asterdorp, Het Parool reports.

The book Asterdorp was written by political scientist Stephan Steinmetz. He received his doctorate at the University of Amsterdam on Thursday.

According to the book, some 300 Jews were housed in the former "reeducation camp" Asterdop in Amsterdam-Noord from the summer of 1942. This was to make the deportation to concentration camps more efficient.

Amsterdam Housing increased the rents in Asterdorp because they were afraid they would lose out on the annual government subsidy for social housing. The subsidy came with the condition that no one in social housing lived below or above the rents they can afford. The officials did not know what the Jews' income were so worried that the subsidy would not be paid. Amsterdam housing also increased the rents in the Transvaalbuurt, where the Germans took homes to rehouse Jewish families.

The Germans did not ask for the rent increases and did not seem to care about it at all, according to the book.

A year after the Jews left Asterdorp, Amsterdam Housing declared (converted) 2.8 million euros to the government for extra costs for housing the Jews. This included transportation, storage and lost rent due to vacancy, among other things. The Housing agency then also declared 1.5 million euros to the ministry for war damage,including loss expenses for housing the Jews. Declarations were also filed with Lirobank in bits and pieces.

The Amsterdam municipality and housing corporation Ymer, the successor for Amsterdam Housing, told Het Parool that they will not comment until they've read through the entire dissertation.