SCHUMER ANNOUNCES, AFTER HIS PUSH, U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT WILL FINALLY ACCEPT APPLICATIONS FOR RESTITUTION FROM HOLOCAUST SURVIVORS WHO WERE TRANSPORTED TO CONCENTRATION CAMPS VIA FRENCH RAIL COMPANY (SNCF) DURING WWII; BEGINNING NEXT WEEK, A TOTAL OF $60M WILL BE AVAILABLE TO ELIGIBLE SURVIVORS & FAMILY MEMBERS OF THOSE WHO PERISHED
French Rail Company, SNCF, Transported Over 75,000 Jews, & Thousands of Others, to Concentration Camps During WWII; Using Legal Duplicity Company Has Dodged Responsibility for Its Collaboration with Nazi Regime Until Now
Schumer Has Long Advocated for Monetary Compensation & Was Sponsor of the Holocaust Rail Justice Act, Which Would Allow American Survivors & Relatives to Pursue Justice Against French Rail Company; Senator Says Restitution Fund Will Be Available Next Week & Will Finally Provide Some Justice to Survivors
Today, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer announced that next week the State Department will officially begin accepting applications for restitution from Holocaust victims and family members of those who were deported from Nazi-occupied France during World War II. The agreement comes into force on November 1st and starting November 3rd, applications will be accepted via an online portal. Societé Nationale des Chemins de fer Francais (SNCF) is the French rail company that transported tens of thousands of Holocaust victims to concentration camps during the Second World War. For more than ten years, hundreds of survivors and family members have attempted to hold SNCF accountable for its role in the Holocaust, however, using legal duplicity the company has dodged responsibility for its collaboration with the Nazi-regime. Schumer has long advocated on behalf of these survivors and family members. In fact, Schumer was a sponsor of the Holocaust Rail Justice Act, which would make SNCF culpable to American courts and allow American victims to pursue avenues of justice against the rail company. Under the agreement, France is providing a lump sum payment of $60 million to the United States for eligible claimants. The U.S. State Department will administer the program for all eligible applicants worldwide.
“For decades, survivors and family members of those who perished have attempted to hold SNCF accountable for its active role during the Holocaust, however, it has continued to dodge responsibility for its collaboration with the Nazi regime. Next week, the State Department will begin accepting restitution applications from eligible survivors and their family members, which means that the French rail company will finally be held accountable for transporting thousands to their death during World War II,” said Senator Schumer.
During the Second World War, the assets of SNCF were requisitioned by the occupying German forces and used to transport victims to concentration camps in France and Germany. Though it was forced to collaborate, SNCF sought compensation from Germany and France both before and after liberation, charging third-class tickets for those transported in cattle cars.
In over 70 years since SNCF ran its first deportation train, SNCF has never been held accountable or provided reparations to its victims, many of whom now reside in the United States. For over 10 years, hundreds of survivors and family members of those who perished attempted to hold SNCF accountable for its active role in the Holocaust. Schumer, a sponsor of the Holocaust Rail Justice Act, today said that this fund will finally provide some justice for survivors.
Schumer said the State Department will launch a website on November 3rd, which will include an application form and other information on how to apply. According to the State Department, the fund will compensate three categories of eligible persons. First, eligible claimants may include those who survived deportation from France and are nationals of a country other than France (except those from countries covered by bilateral agreements with France). The State Department estimates that each of these eligible survivors would receive a payment of over $100,000. Second, eligible claimants may include spouses of those who were deported from France and are nationals of a country other than France (except those from countries covered by bilateral agreements). The State Department estimates that each spouse would receive a payment of tens of thousands of dollars. Third, eligible claimants may include estates “standing in the shoes” of survivors and spouses who died after the end of World War II. These estates would need to show that the deported survivor or the surviving spouse was a national of a country other than France (except from those countries covered by bilateral agreements). The State Department says the amount of payments to estates would depend on the year in which the survivor or spouse passed away.