No SNCF Reparations
In the 66 years since the end of World War II, SNCF has never been held accountable, it has never paid reparations to its victims, and its victims have never had their day in court.
While many companies that participated in the Holocaust have taken responsibility for their actions by providing reparations for their actions, reparations experts have confirmed that SNCF has failed to follow these examples and has steadfastly refused to provide reparations to its many victims.
SNCF has argued that it is “covered” by existing French reparations or restitution programs. As SNCF is a separate corporation under both French and U.S. law, it is inappropriate and misleading for SNCF to point to such French government programs. Further, even if existing French government programs were to be relevant, these programs do not have any applicability to the overwhelming majority of SNCF’s victims.
SNCF has unfortunately indicated that the company has no intention of altering its position on reparations. In fact, an SNCF representative recently went so far as to tell a member of the California Assembly that SNCF will never pay the survivors anything and that SNCF would rather not do business in California than take any such actions. SNCF’s victims deserve better.
SNCF’s Public Relations Campaign
Rather than pay reparations to its victims, SNCF has instead launched a massive public relations campaign.
The company’s recent “apology” is part of this campaign; it is no more than a tactic to increase the company’s bottom line and has been recognized for what it is.
The Los Angeles Times, in a recent editorial, stated, “the recent apology by SNCF … doesn’t save any lives or compensate any survivors. What’s more, it comes about 65 years late, at a time when most of those with firsthand memories of the Holocaust have died. Particularly distressing is the fact that the apology was apparently not prompted by regret. Rather, it seems to have been spurred by the company’s desire to win multibillion-dollar high-speed rail contracts …” (Editorial, “Echoes of the Holocaust,” Los Angeles Times, 11/20/10)