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Nederlandse Spoorwegen is the national Dutch railroad company. During the German occupation, its management attempted to retain control of its trains. The occupying authorities acquiesced to this request in return for the use of its trains to deport slave labourers to Germany and, above all, for the deportation of Jews. The company agreed to these demands with no objections whatsoever. It also operated the trains that carried Jews from collection points such as the Dutch Theater (Hollandsche Schouwburg) and the crèche to the Westerbork and Vught transit camps and thence to the east. The cooperation between the railroad company and the occupying authorities was highly successful: the trains always arrived at their appointed times. On one occasion, Adolf Eichmann, Head of the Department for Jewish Affairs and Evacuation (Department IV B4) even commented that the trains ran fantastically (“Rollten, daß man sagen kann, es war eine Pracht”). However, on September 17, 1944, the Dutch government-in-exile announced a countrywide general railroad strike to keep German forces from crossing into western Holland, so the Allies could carry out Operation Market Garden near Arnhem. The response to the call for the strike was overwhelming with 30,000 Nederlandse Spoorwegen employees taking part. Most went into hiding and all received financial aid from the Dutch government-in-exile. The strike, however, failed to attain its goal; the Germans brought their own trains into the Netherlands to move equipment and personnel and prevented the transport of food and agricultural products. Consequently, those living in the occupied Netherlands experienced a severe famine in the winter of 1944 which killed thousands.

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