The Holocaust Rail Justice Act, introduced in Congress this week, would provide Holocaust survivors their day in court against SNCF, the French rail company that transported more than 75,000 Jews and thousands of others — including U.S. air pilots —to concentration camps during World War II.
The bill, which has been introduced in Congress every year since 2003, was introduced by Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.).
It would provide plaintiffs the right to seek damages against the French National Railway (Société Nationale des Chemins de Fer Francais, or SNCF) in U.S. Federal Court for its transportation of French and other Jews, as well as thousands of others, toward such death camps as Auschwitz and Buchenwald.
SNCF claims immunity from legal action due to the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, yet the FSIA was passed 30 years after the action causing the damages that the plaintiffs seek. Maloney and Ros-Lehtinen’s bill allows the plaintiffs to sue regardless of the strictures of the FSIA.
“SNCF’s refusal to fully acknowledge their culpability or take steps to make amends to their victims is a failure of morality,” said Maloney.
“This important bill isn’t just about justice; it’s also about accountability,” said Ros-Lehtinen.