B’nai B’rith International has issued the following statement:
B'nai B'rith International applauds the fact that Holocaust survivors in the United States and elsewhere who were deported from France by the national railway will now receive compensation as the result of an agreement between the U.S. and French governments.
Today B'nai B'rith attended the State Department signing of a pact that will make available $60 million in French government funds. The money will be distributed by the U.S. government to victims or heirs of victims who were transported from France to concentration camps by the National Society of French Railways (SNCF).
SNCF transferred more than 70,000 Jews to concentration camps. Only about 2,000 of those victims survived the Holocaust. While most deportees living in France were already eligible for compensation, those in the United States and around the world have sought redress for years.
B’nai B’rith commends the U.S negotiators, led by Ambassador Stuart Eizenstat, and their French counterparts for ending the lamentably long impasse over reparations for SNCF victims. No amount of compensation for Holocaust survivors can ever suffice, but in this agreement, some small measure of justice has been achieved for those victims and their families.
Eric Fusfield, deputy director of B'nai B'rith's International Center for Human Rights and Public Policy, represented the organization at the State Department ceremony.
B’nai B’rith International is a founding member of the World Jewish Restitution Organization (WJRO) and continues to work with an array of governments and organizations to secure reparations for Holocaust survivors and their families.