Eizenstat: Pressing French rail company on reparations is ‘self-defeating’


WASHINGTON (JTA) – State legislatures are making it more difficult for Holocaust survivors to receive money with their efforts to force a French rail company to pay reparations, U.S. envoy Stuart Eizenstat said.

Eizenstat, a special assistant to Secretary of State John Kerry on Holocaust issues, has been in talks with the French government to obtain reparations for survivors who were transported to Nazi death camps by the government-owned firm SNCF.

The Maryland, New York, Florida and California legislatures are considering laws that would bar SNCF from obtaining state contracts until it pays reparations to the survivors now living in the United States.

With the French government saying it has the authority to pay reparations, not SNCF, Eizenstat said in an interview with the Washington Jewish Week that any loss of work to SNCF while the government is negotiating in good faith would “pose a serious obstacle” and is “self-defeating.”

A third meeting between France and the United States is expected to be held this month, Eizenstat said, adding that the French government wants to complete the negotiations by the end of the summer.

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