Jun 2007 Journal

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Central Office for Holocaust Claims

The International Tracing Service of the Red Cross
Under the terms of an agreement between the 11 governments which control the archive of the International Tracing Service of the Red Cross, the entire collection of records pertaining to some 17 million displaced victims of the Holocaust and the Second World War are expected to be fully scanned and made publicly available by the end of this year.

The International Commission that controls the records began administering the archive in 1955 to respond to requests to track missing persons, help reunite families and, later, to validate compensation claims by Holocaust survivors or their relatives.

Following years of pressure from survivors, the 11 member countries of the International Commission agreed in May 2006 to open the archive to inspection and research.

French railways litigation
In a setback to the families of Holocaust victims hoping to claim compensation from the French government and railways (SNCF), at the end of March a judge overturned a ruling that French railways must compensate the family of a Jewish man transported to an internment camp in Nazi-occupied France.

In a landmark verdict last June, a court ordered the SNCF and the French government to pay 61,000 euros (£41,500) to the family of Georges Lipietz, a Polish-born Jew arrested by French police and taken by train to a transit camp near Paris in 1944.

As well as its collaborationist role in deporting some 76,000 Jews to concentration camps in Eastern Europe, prospective plaintiffs argue that the SNCF acted out of greed, pointing to evidence that it charged French authorities the price of a third-class rail ticket for each person loaded into its cattle wagons.

Written enquiries should be sent to Central Office for Holocaust Claims (UK), Jubilee House, Merrion Avenue, Stanmore, Middx HA7 4RL, by fax to 020 8385 3075, or by email to mnewman@ajr.org.uk

Michael Newman

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