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French rail carrier facing 1,200 claims for Nazi death camp transports

[JURIST] French state rail network SNCF [official website] announced Friday that since June 2006 it has received about 1200 claims [JURIST report] related to its role in helping the Nazis [JURIST news archive] to transport people, mostly Jews, to concentration and death camps during Germany's occupation of France in World War II. The complaints follow a successful case [JURIST report] brought against SNCF by European Parliament MEP Alain Lipietz [official website] and his family, who last year were awarded $77,600 from the rail company by a French court acting on behalf of their father and other relatives who were taken by an SNCF train to the Drancy transit camp [JVL backgrounder] in 1944.

SNCF is appealing the Lipietz case and also contesting the more recent suits, arguing that it was acting on orders from the occupation government and French authorities, a position supported by the French railway workers union [FO press release, in French] and several French historians [Le Figaro report, in French]. AP has more.

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