PRESS RELEASE: Deutch Announces New Claims Process for Holocaust Survivors Deported to Nazi Camps by French Railroads
Congressman Ted Deutch (FL-21), a senior Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, a member of the Europe, Eurasia, and Emerging Threats Subcommittee, and the Ranking Member on the Middle East and North Africa Subcommittee, announced the launch of a new claims process for Holocaust victims who were transported to concentration camps by the French rail road company, Societé Nationale des Chemins de fer Francais (SNCF), during World War II.
Congressman Deutch co-introduced legislation, the Holocaust Rail Justice Act with U.S. Reps. Carolyn Maloney (NY-12) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL-27) to hold the SNCF accountable in the U.S. justice system during the 112th and 113th Congresses. The bill, sponsored in the U.S. Senate by Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY), helped build momentum for the December 2014 agreement struck between the U.S. State Department and France to create a new claims process for survivors deported to Nazi concentration camps by the French railroad but who have been denied access to France’s existing compensation programs.
“With 75 percent of Holocaust survivors living in poverty and the window for justice narrowing with each passing year, the opening of this new restitution process could not come a moment too soon,” said Deutch. “The French railroads that profited off the deportation of over 75,000 Jews from France to Nazi death camps have avoided accountability for far too long. Since coming to Congress in 2010, representing the many Holocaust survivors who call South Florida home has been an honor and a solemn privilege, and going forward I will do everything in my power to help those transported on SNCF trains and all who suffered atrocities at the hands of the Nazis.”
Under the agreement reached between France and the United States, the French government will provide the United States with $60 million in claims to distribute to eligible Holocaust survivors worldwide. The process for submitting claims applications begun this week. All survivors, spouses, and families may access the online application process and relevant claims information by visiting www.state.gov/deportationclaims, emailing DeportationClaims@state.gov, or calling 202-776-8385 between now and May 31, 2016.