The NYT reports today that France has agreed to pay $60 million to compensate Holocaust victims who were deported on the French National Railways during World War II.
The agreement will have to be approved by the French Parliament, which should not be a major obstacle because the government’s party still holds a majority. It calls for paying the money directly to American and other Holocaust survivors. According to The Times:
In return, the United States is expected to help ease obstacles impeding the French national railway company, the Société Nationale des Chemins de Fer Français, from participating in railway projects that had been held up by American lawmakers, survivors and their heirs as a way to press for a resolution of the compensation issue.
France will pay the $60 million to the United States in a lump sum, according to The Times, which added:
The money is expected to be distributed to the several thousand survivors, family members and their heirs, officials said.
This agreement is big and important news. No one who has read the history of the war fails to understand that without the complicity of SNCF and its employees the deportation trains could not have taken the Jews from France to Germany and the slave-labor and death camps. Despite the stories of heroic resistance (See The Train, the very entertaining movie with Burt Lancaster), the good citizens of France really had little interest in protecting their Jewish compatriots.
Too bad. Serious moral failures have a very long tail. They are the stuff of myth.
Click here for the NYT web story.
If you’d like to receive my blog posts and occasional newsletters by email, please subscribe by leaving your email address below:
Share this page …I WRITE ABOUT PARIS, but this story is true there and absolutely every other place in Europe: You go to the restaurant, and all around you the locals are paying with plastic. They push their card into the small wireless machine the waiter brings to the table, key in a PIN, get their receipt, and leave. No signature … Continue reading
Share this page …There’s a neat new feature in Apple’s MAPS app under iOS – Flyover. It’s available for several major cities, but of course I think the Paris one is the neatest. Open Maps on the iPhone or iPad and search for Paris. Under the city name you’ll see a line saying “3D Flyover Tour of Paris.” Press “Start” … Continue reading
Share this page …In the United States, Amazon is the colossus of the ebook market but elsewhere the big name is Kobo, the Canadian firm that manufactures e-book readers and offers four million e-books to read on them. After two years of marketing Treasure of Saint-Lazare exclusively on Amazon (where it reached #39 on the Kindle best-sellers list), Alesia Press, … Continue reading
Share this page …At 125 years old, the Eiffel Tower is under almost constant painting and renovation, but the most recent has a crowd-scaring twist. The city has just spent 30 million euros updating the first floor, 180 feet above the ground. In addition to cosmetic upgrades and solar panels, part of the flooring was replaced with glass, a change … Continue reading
Share this page …Followup to my post of Aug. 30 For five years, lovers in Paris have demonstrated their eternal fealty by attaching padlocks to the Pont des Arts, an elegant old footbridge that connects the Louvre Museum to the Institut de France across the Seine, then throwing the key in the river — 700,000 of them so far. Over … Continue reading
Share this page …Paris has one of the most advanced public transit systems in the western world. Subway trains (the métro) run every one or two minutes during rush hours, and only slightly less often at other times. Buses on the busiest lines stop every four to ten minutes, and they connect seamlessly with each other. It’s using all this … Continue reading
Share this page …Adrian Leeds came to Paris twenty years ago with a husband and a baby and a plan to stay one year. The baby is now a grown daughter, the husband is no longer in the picture, and she’s become the undisputed queen of the American real estate market here. And a permanent resident. She may be best known … Continue reading
Share this page …One of my favorite Paris blogs — no, make that My Favorite Paris blog — is the scrupulously researched and written Parisian Fields. It first caught my attention with its header picture of the outstanding bronze sculpture in the Tuileries Gardens, “L’Arbre des voyelles,” or the Tree of vowels, a 1999 sculpture by the Italian artist Giuseppe … Continue reading
Share this page …Riders of the busy Paris métro Line 4, which runs north and south through the entire city, will recognize this unusual station at the old abbey church of Saint-Germain-des-Prés, which traces its history back to Childebert I (ruled 511–558). It’s in the 6th arrondissement, which is pretty much the center of tourist life. Unlike most métro stations, it … Continue reading