Engineering firm Arcadis apologizes for predecessor's role in WWII labor camps
Arcadis apologized for the role played by the company’s predecessor, the Nederlandse Heidemaatschappij (NHM), in job creation projects during the Second World War. New research into the NHM’s wartime past confirms that the company supervised the employment of Dutch Jews from labor camps from January to October 1942, Arcadis reports.
In the war years, unemployed men were used for, among other things, the reclamation of heathland, forestry, and the construction of ditches and canals. Contractors like NHM supervised this work on behalf of the government.
Research showed that the company did not object to the fact that workers received lower wages than usual, could not or hardly go on leave, and received a smaller ration. Arcadis acknowledged that it continued to work on projects “where the segregation of Dutch Jews was introduced” and “did not oppose the increasingly racist measures” in the camps. “For these matters, even now in 2023, it is appropriate to make apologies for our predecessors,” the company said.
Arcadis also expressed regrets that after the war, it “gave only limited account of its involvement in putting Jewish people to work” and showed “little compassion for workers and their surviving relatives.”
Reporting by ANP