The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal by the descendants of Jews deported during World War II who want to sue a French railway in American courts.
Maryland enacted a law requiring the French national railroad to publish its Holocaust-era records if its U.S. subsidiary is to receive a state contract. Under the law Gov. Martin O'Malley signed Thursday, the French rail company SNCF must catalog and put online records relating to its transportation of 76,000 Jews and other prisoners from the suburbs of Paris to the German border from 1942 to 1944.
France's national railroad must publish its World War II-era records if its American subsidiary is to win a Maryland train contract. Under legislation approved unanimously Monday by the Maryland House of Delegates, SNCF must catalog and put online records relating to its transportation of 76,000 Jews and other prisoners from the suburbs of Paris to the German border from 1942 to 1944. The company was paid per head per kilometer to deport the Nazi victims, according to reports. Critics say that since the war, the company has refused to apologize for its actions.
A state-owned French railway company is trying to clear its tarnished reputation, marked for delivering thousands of Jews into the hands of the Nazis. Guillaume Pepy, president of the SNCF national railway, officially ceded a former industrial train station and patch of muddy rail lines to the northern Paris suburb of Bobigny, so the area can be made into a memorial for the 22,407 Jews who were deported to Nazi concentration camps from there. The gesture is one of many similar efforts recently by the company -- and at least one government diplomat -- since it has been under increased scrutiny following a bid last year for two multibillion-dollar contracts to build high-speed trains in Florida and California.
Alain Lipietz, a French deputy in the European Parliament whose father and uncle were rounded up and sent to a holding area during the war, won a cash indemnity worth about $77,000 from the SNCF -- the railway is appealing the case. More than 1,000 people, both Jews and non-Jews, have filed similar claims since the Lipietz case in Toulouse last summer.