The investigation and prosecution of economic collaborators in the Netherlands was arbitrary; there were no clear-cut guidelines. Some cases were prosecuted while other similar cases were dismissed. The distribution of cases among the special courts, tribunals and investigative committees was also arbitrary. Compared to their political and military counterparts, economic collaborators were given milder sentences, and collaborators in the civil services were seldom, or hardly, punished at all. In this sense, there was inequality before the law. A similar inequality existed, moreover, with respect to the economic collaborators themselves; petty economic collaborators were generally arrested, whereas the ‘big shots’ were rarely detained. The recovery of the Dutch social structure, and particularly the interests of post-war economic reconstruction largely determined the proceedings. Klemann’s arguments are riddled with highly moral judgements. This is remarkable, since he criticises me for employing such judgements, which in his view should have no place in an historical work.
Although I have consistently sought to avoid moral judgements, Klemann obviously confuses the judgements of officials of the special administration of criminal justice with mine. It is true that I have repeatedly reproduced these in the book, without intending to present them as my own. In his contribution Faber stresses, in my view correctly, that precise information about the number of dossiers in the Centraal Archief Bijzondere Rechtspleging (CABR) is missing. For future research, clear answers are indeed needed to answer the question on how many dossiers and suspects we are dealing with here. It is clearly in society’s best interest for more work to be carried out at the CABR and for the data that is found there to be stored in a database. The authorities should accept their responsibility in this matter and be prepared to fund the project.