France to Pay Holocaust Survivors Sent to Camps in French Trains

They and their heirs can collect from $60M compensation fund
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 5, 2014 11:07 AM CST
France to Pay Holocaust Survivors Sent to Camps in French Trains
File photo of a train transporting Jewish prisoners to a Nazi camp during World War II.   (AP Photo/National Archives and Records Administration)

During World War II, France's state rail company transported about 76,000 Jewish prisoners to Nazi camps. Today, those who survived and made it to the US and other countries are getting some payback from the French government, reports the Wall Street Journal. France has agreed to set up a $60 million compensation fund for those survivors and their heirs. The government had previously taken care of Holocaust survivors who remained in France, but the new deal fixes a loophole that prevented survivors in other countries from collecting money, reports the Washington Post.

Direct survivors can expect to collect about $100,000, reports the AP, which estimates that only about 250 such people or their spouses are still alive in the US. But it says several thousand heirs in the US are eligible for lesser amounts. "This is another measure of justice for the harms of one of history's darkest eras," says US Special Adviser on Holocaust Issues Stuart Eizenstat. One factor that helped the deal: The French railway, called SNCF, is trying to land contracts in the US, but scores of lawsuits and compensation claims were holding things up. Today's deal will end those legal troubles. (More France stories.)

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