French rail company apologises for WWII deportations

Véronique Pagnier

The president of French rail company SNCF has apologised for his company’s role in the Holocaust. Guillaume Pepy acknowledged on Tuesday that SNCF had been a “cog in the Nazi’s extermination machine” during the Second World War.


Pepy made the speech just outside Paris, in Bobigny, from where 22,407 Jews were driven in 21 convoys to the Drancy concentration camp in 1943 and 1944.

SNCF transported 76,000 French Jews towards concentration camps during the war.

"Our company drove these trains to the border," Pepy said. "It was forced to, but it did it. I want express the deep sadness and regret of SNCF for the consequences of its acts at the time."

He added that the train drivers who were members of the Resistance were the pride of France and of SNCF.

In Florida in November, Pepy apologised on behalf of SNCF for transporting Jews to German concentration camps during World War II. But the apology was made in the US as part of a bid to win contracts there.

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