French railroad archives open for inspection, chief says


(JTA) — In the wake of California legislation requiring companies to disclose their activities during the Holocaust, the head of France’s national railroad said lawmakers were welcome to review its archives.

France’s national railroad, known by the acronym SNCF, carried French Jews to Nazi concentration camps.

Railroad chief Guillaume Pepe on Sunday told Radio France Internationale that the archives, which have been open for 20 years, are available to U.S. lawmakers, UPI reported.

The California Legislature last week passed The Holocaust Survivor Responsibility Act, which would require bidders to disclose their involvement in transporting victims to concentration camps during World War II. The measure requires the California High-Speed Rail Authority to consider that fact in its deliberation of contract awards.

The legislation is awaiting Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s signature.

SNCF is seeking part of a $43 billion project to build a high-speed rail line between Sacramento and San Diego.

“We should not forget one thing: The SNCF, the railway workers, were under the yoke of the Nazi occupiers, threatened with death,” Pepe told French radio. “And 2,000 railway workers were executed by the Nazis.”

A Japanese firm that used American POWs for slave labor during WWII, leading to the deaths of more than 1,000 American POWs, also is vying for a piece of the project.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center applauded the passage of the California legislation.

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