(US-France) Sign Accord on Compensation for Those Transported on French National Railroad During Nazi Occupation

Posted by: Jan Meisels Allen

International Holocaust Memorial Day

The French and United States announced  a $60 million fund to compensate holocaust survivors and family members for those deported by France’s state rail company, SNCF during the Nazi occupation.  I have received a number of inquiries from those who might be interested in finding out if they are eligible to apply to the fund.  I have no information on the process of applying nor more on eligibility. Below is the latest information I have.

On  December 8, the accord was signed .  French human rights ambassador Patrizianna Sparacino-Thiellay said the agreement will cover thousands of survivors, their spouses or heirs in the U.S. who have not been covered by earlier compensation funds. According to the AP article the money is available to all nationalities who were deported by SNCF, the French national railroad during the Nazi occupation 1940-1944 (note the press releases below make exceptions for France and  four other countries).  The compensation fund, which must still be approved by the French parliament. The agreement is not without controversy in France where those non-Holocaust survivors and are descendants of those who lost their lives. To read the story see:
Another story in the German publication Deutsche Welle may be read at: http://www.dw.de/france-rail-operator-sncf-to-pay-49-million-euros-to-us-holocaust-victims/a-18117452

The notices from the department of state indicate those who are eligible to apply are the following:

1.    Those who survived deportation from France and are nationals of a country other than France (with the exception of those from countries covered by bilateral agreements with France: Belgium, Poland, the United Kingdom, and former Czechoslovakia)
2.    Spouses of those who were deported from France and are nationals of a country other than France (or one of the four countries mentioned above).
3.    Estates “standing in the shoes” of survivors or spouses who died after the end of World War II would be eligible to apply for compensation on their behalf. These estates would need to show that the deported survivor or the surviving spouse was a national of a country other than France (or one of the four countries mentioned above).

I am posting the links  to the press releases from the US State Department http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2014/12/234822.htm, the fact sheet http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2014/12/234709.htmand the original press release http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2014/12/234718.htm  in case they are of any assistance to those who are interested in finding out about applying to the fund.

The media inquiries are referred to: Michael Cavey in the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs Press Office at caveymj@state.gov.  You might contact him with your inquiries. 

As I have no further information, please do not ask me any further questions on eligibility or how to apply.

Thank you to Randy Herschaft, Jewish Genner and AP reporter who at my request provided the additional information above. Randy also does not have any further information about applying or eligibility.

Jan Meisels Allen
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee

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