Never Forget: Holding Collaborators Accountable

Dec 9, 2009
Press Release
WASHINGTON, DC – Bipartisan legislation re-introduced in the House today by Reps. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) would hold accountable those railroad companies who worked with the Nazis during World War II by making them subject to legal action in U.S. courts. More than 75,000 Jews were transported from France to concentration camps by French railroad companies. “Almost 70 years after enabling the largest mass murder of the 20th Century, railroads that transported tens of thousands to their deaths should finally be held accountable,” Maloney said. “Nothing will ever make up for the unthinkable atrocities undertaken by Nazi Germany and its sympathizers during World War II, but every bit of justice is important. This bill allows some measure of closure for those who have suffered for far too long.”

“Companies that benefited from the deportation of persons to concentration camps during the Holocaust must be held accountable for their despicable actions. This bill will help ensure that Holocaust survivors and heirs of victims are able to seek legal redress against those who sought to gain from the blood of innocent people,” said Ros-Lehtinen.

“The atrocities of the Holocaust would have been impossible if not for the Nazi’s many willing accomplices,” said Nadler.  “Among those many accomplices, the French national railway knowingly transported tens of thousands of Jews and others to concentration camps during World War II, and, for this, it has yet to be held accountable.  This legislation would ensure that survivors of the Holocaust can confront the railway and hold it accountable for its terrible history.”

The bill provides plaintiffs the right to seek damages against the French National Railway (Société Nationale Des Chemins De Fer Francais - SNCF) in Federal Court for its transportation of French and other Jews to Auschwitz as well as its supply of personnel to facilitate the transportation and the assessed charges per person. The French Government claims immunity from legal action due to the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, yet the FSIA was passed 30 years after the action causing the damages for which the plaintiffs seek. The bill allows the plaintiffs to sue regardless of the strictures of the FSIA.

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For complete bill text, visit https://maloney.house.gov/documents/foreign/israel/100709 SNCF 111th Congress.pdf