France approves $60mn compensation for Nazi rail deportations
French MPs on Wednesday approved a landmark deal with the United States in which France agreed to pay $60 million in overall compensation to foreign nationals deported to Nazi death camps on French trains in World War II.
Several thousand people could now be eligible for compensation, including nationals of Israel and Canada as well as Americans who were deported from France to the death camps some 70 years ago.
During the German occupation of France, the Nazi regime deported almost 76,000 Jews to concentration camps in French freight cars between 1942 and 1944.
Only around 3,000 survived.
The French government has already paid out another $60 million to French nationals who were victims of the Holocaust under a scheme set up in 1946. And the new deal will not be open to French nationals and their survivors.
But foreigners who had not qualified for any compensation could now be eligible for payments.
In exchange, the United States would undertake to protect France’s immunity with regard to any Holocaust deportation claims filed in the United States.
Following parliament’s approval, the deal could come into force this year, seven decades after the liberation of the death camps, and the end of the Second World War.