France compensates SNCF deportees

Rail operator sent 76,000 to concentration camps - and non-French survivors will now be entitled to payout

7 December 2014

France has agreed to pay almost €50 million in compensation to non-French Holocaust survivors who were deported to Nazi concentration camps by the SNCF during the Second World War.

The state rail operator was responsible for transporting 76,000 Jews to concentration camps, of whom about 3,000 survived.

The compensation fund agreement, which is due to be signed in Washington on Monday, will be financed by the French government and managed by the United States.

France has already paid billions in reparations to French victims of the Holocaust. This latest deal applies not just to Americans but all other non-French who were taken out of France between 1942 and 1944 - or their spouses or descendants.

In 2010, the SNCF publicly expressed regret for the role the rail operator played, but insisted it had no control over its operations during the Nazi occupation.

The French rail group has been trying to win contracts in the US for several years and had faced pressure to compensate Holocaust survivors before it could proceed any further.

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