(JNS.org) U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) called on Holocaust survivors and families of victims who were deported from Nazi-occupied France through the Societé Nationale des Chemins de fer Francais (SNCF) rail company to file restitution claims by the U.S. State Department’s May 31 deadline.
French SNCF trains were used to transport tens of thousands of Jews to concentration camps, but the company has never been formally prosecuted for its collaboration with the Nazis. Schumer sponsored the Holocaust Rail Justice Act, which would hold SNCF accountable for its Holocaust past in U.S. courts. Under the legislation, France is providing $60 million to the U.S. that can be used as restitution for eligible claimants. The program will be administered by the State Department for all eligible applicants around the world.
“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. The State Department is accepting restitution applications from eligible survivors and their family members, which means that the French rail company has finally been held accountable for transporting thousands to their death during World War II. With the application deadline fast approaching, all eligible victims and family members should apply quickly,” Schumer said Wednesday.
According to the State Department, the funds will be used to compensate those who survived deportation from France but are currently citizens of other countries, spouses of similar individuals, and estates representing such survivors and their spouses who have died since World War II. Each of these types of claimants, if approved, could receive more than $100,000.