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17 May 2006

3rd class tickets

pickup in Haaretz
("The Land," Israeli daily newspaper)
Wednesday 17 May 17 2006
Iyyar 19, 5766

French state-run railway
sued for wartime
transport of Jews

TOULOUSE, France -- A French politician and his sister sued France's state-run SNCF [Société Nationale des Chemins de fer Français] railway on Tuesday for transporting their father and three relatives to a wartime transit camp that sent Jews off to Nazi concentration camps.

Alain Lipietz, a Greens European Parliament deputy, and his sister Helene accused the SNCF of organising the transport of French Jews to the Drancy transit camp near Paris and billing the wartime government for its services.

A lawyer for the railway argued the statute of limitations had run out for the deportation of Jews, which stopped with the end of the four-year German occupation in 1944, and that the SNCF had been run by the collaborationist Vichy government.

"The SNCF was quite autonomous when it came to earning money, so it has to assume its responsibility for its choices in how it treated the Jews," said Alain Lipietz.

The judge in the administrative court case said he would take three weeks to reach his decision. A similar suit in 2003 failed when a Paris court ruled it could not establish that the SNCF was responsible for transporting Jews.

Of the 330,000 Jews living in France in 1940, 75,721 were deported to death camps and only about 2,500 returned alive.

Alain and Helene Lipietz told the court their father Georges had been sent by train in mid-1944 from Toulouse in southwestern France to Drancy, usually the last stop for French Jews before they were put on trains to the death camps.

He was freed from Drancy on August 18, only days before Paris was liberated by Allied forces. The SNCF billed the state for that transport which came two months after Allied forces had landed in Normandy, the two plaintiffs said.

"The SNCF charged for third class tickets for people who were crammed 200 at a time in freight cars meant to transport 60 horses," Helene Lipietz said.

"These were cars without water, food or toilets and they were able to pass through Allied lines even as French territory was being liberated and someone could have stopped these convoys," Alain Lipietz added.

The SNCF's lawyer, Yves Baudelot, said the railway could not be held responsible for the transports because it had no choice but to cooperate with German occupying forces during the war.

"The transport director of the Wehrmacht (Germany army) sent a letter to the head of the SNCF reminding him that any railway employee who did not follow orders would be shot," he said.

The two plaintiffs told reporters after the hearing that they were "satisfied that French justice was now trying to deal with these issues."

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Anonymous patwithhisnewnotebook said...

here's another story on the subject, a bit older though
I have also found an article claiming that there have been lawsuits against the SNCF in the U.S., where yo can get more media attention (and more money I reckon (no offence ment)
(btw do you know a search engne or directory for newspapers ?)

Blogger Bob Merkin said...

merci, danke, grazie, grazcha (have I left anyone out?)

the world goes to the movies and expects to be entertained by Monsters, and instead the movie is about a railroad employee who sells blocks of 3rd-class train tickets on a government contract.

suing ... i consider myself Blessed that, despite my Hot Temper, I have never even filed a lawsuit in Small Claims Court to recover $85. And doubly Blessed that nobody's ever sued me.

Like the ancient Egyptian dad advised his ancient Egyptian son:

"Go ye not into and out of the House of Justice,
that your name may not stink."

but sometimes Institutions and Corporations, and their structural Anonymity and and Inherent Irresponsibility -- they're like mobs in nice suits -- sometimes suing an institution for $$$$$$$$ is the only thing that gets their attention, and makes any of them say, "Oh, does this person think we did something wrong?"

About four years ago, for the first time since '45, the German government started sending paychecks to slave laborers rounded up in the occupied countries and brought to work in German factories for nothing -- well, that's slave labor. I don't know if the hourly wage was adjusted to the currency values of a half-century later. If not, I imagine these envelopes contain pfenegs per hour.

In the USA, the world's largest Gulag, increasingly prisoners are being used as workers to make profit for the state or its contract corporations. A very typical thing -- your phone rings, a nice guy tries to sell you something -- but his phone soliciting "boiler room" is actually in a state prison somewhere, and he's actually prisoner number 443002133. Our labor unions are in a deep coma, but since the war, the world labor movement has always been very hair-trigger sensitive about any government which sees advantages to blurring the line between Free Laborers and Not-Quite-So-Free Laborers.

(The alternative argument, very popular with voters, is: "We upstanding taxpayers are supposed to give these bums free hotel rooms and meals for 20 years?")

There's an itty-bitty corner of northwest France that I have to take the train through to get from Netherlands to Calais and on to London. I know a lot about this itty-bitty corner of France. Still never been to Paris. I want to visit France very much, it's 396th on my list of Must-See places in Europe to visit.

Oh uhh the newspaper search engine -- what kind of information exactly are you looking for? If I understand your Quest better, I might have better ideas about where to send you.

But the short answer is, Murdoch owns all the newspapers on Earth, except for the ones the Rev. Sun Myung Moon owns. (There's a fairly recent James Bond movie in which The Evil Villain -- Jonathan Pryce -- is a Murdochian Press Baron.)


BBC World Service
Monday 11 January 1999

French man files lawsuit against railway
for sending Jews to death camps

A French national whose parents were victims of the Nazi Holocaust during the Second World War has filed a lawsuit against the French state-run railway, SNCF, for transporting tens of thousands of Jews to death camps.

The man, Kurt Schaechter, who's seventy-five, accuses the company of committing crimes against humanity and bases his case on SNCF's own archive documents.

He said they show thousands of people were deported for money between 1941 and 1944.

A court in Creteil is expected to make a decision over whether to accept the case in the next two weeks.

In December, a Jew now living in Canada filed a similar suit against the railway.

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Anonymous patandhisnewhp said...

eh, I'm Swiss. i know about lawsuits regarding the subject in question (jewish bank accounts in CH). Wanna know how the story broke ? A watchman/guard working for Credit Suisse was supposed to shred some "sensitive documents". The chap had a look at the documents ,noticed that they regarded bank accounts from german jews and handed them over to a jewish organisation (he was fired for that). They handed the matter over to Ed Fagan and Stewart Eisenstadt and the rest is History. The argument has been settled, paychecks are going out, but I can't tell you the very latest because I need a Search Engine or Directory. it's gotta be like Yahoo, but just for newspapers where you can search by paper, region, keyword and such. A mixture of Kiosk, Library and Archive. Sounds a bit fuzzy, but do you have any suggestions ? Google stinks when it comes to these things.


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