French railways to open Nazi deportation files to US

Last Updated: Sunday, August 29, 2010 - 20:58

Paris: France`s state rail company will give
US authorities’ details of its role in deporting Jews to Nazi
death camps in support of its bid to build a high-speed
railway in California, its chairman said on Sunday.

"Twenty years ago we opened all our archives... we are
going to open all that to the Americans," said the chairman of
the SNCF national railway company, Guillaume Pepy, on Europe 1
radio.

The SNCF is making a joint bid with major French
construction firm Alstom to build a high-speed track from Los
Angeles to San Francisco. The project is valued at USD 43
billion (34 billion euros) overall.

California lawmakers last week voted to demand that
bidders supply full details of any involvement in the
deportations between 1942 and 1944, and of any reparations
paid -- a requirement clearly aimed at the SNCF.

The Nazis occupying France in the 1940s used SNCF trains
to take Jews to death camps. The company insists it was forced
to take part in the deportations and that many of its workers
resisted the occupation.

"We should not forget one thing: the SNCF, the railway
workers were under the yoke of the Nazi occupiers, threatened
with death... 2,000 railway workers were executed by the
Nazis," Pepy said.

The Democrat lawmaker behind the Californian bill, Bob
Blumenfield, said the SNCF "refuses to accept responsibility
for its role in the Holocaust."

PTI



First Published: Sunday, August 29, 2010 - 20:58

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