Kinder Sculpture

 

Nov 2006 Journal

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Central Office for Holocaust Claims

French railway litigation

Following the successful claim for compensation brought jointly against the French government and the national railroad company, Société Nationale des Chemins de Fer (SNCF), French lawyers are considering filing further lawsuits.

In June Alain Lipietz, a French member of the Green Party in the European Parliament, was awarded €62,000 (approx. £42,000) in recognition of the SNCF's complicit role in deporting to concentration camps some 78,000 Jews from French transit camps such as Drancy and Pithiviers. The Toulouse court heard how the SNCF billed the government a third-class ticket for each prisoner.

In light of the court's groundbreaking decision, lawyers in France are now investigating whether further lawsuits on behalf of individual plaintiffs can be brought.

Under the proposed lawsuits, the amount of compensation an applicant would be entitled to claim would be dependent on the fate of the deported person. Where a family member died as a consequence of the deportation, an applicant should claim €150,000. Alternatively, a claim for €10,000 should be entered if the person was deported to a concentration camp but survived the Second World War. The final category is a claim for €5,000, where the victim was taken to a holding camp but was not actually deported from France.

Potential applicants are advised that they will be asked to pay €500 (approx. £340) to bring a lawsuit.

Although the AJR would not be involved in any litigation, we have been given initial questionnaires to distribute. The questionnaires are available from this office.

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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