French SNCF railway to fund Holocaust research at Jerusalem museum


France’s state railway, SNCF, has signed an agreement with the Yad Vashem Holocaust museum in Jerusalem to boost research into the deportation of French Jews to death camps during World War II. The company will provide a donation that would enable research of its files from the years 1942-1945. 


"The 'Final Solution' could not have been carried out by the Germans without the extensive cooperation of many people at all levels of society and governments throughout Europe," Yad Vashem chairman Avner Shalev said in a statement. "This research highlights the unique role of the transports in the extermination of the Jewish people."

In 1995, France's then president Jacques Chirac acknowledged that the French state, under the Vichy regime that collaborated with the German occupiers, had "seconded" the slaughter.

In February, SNCF said it had handed over digital copies of its archives for the period covering World War II to three Holocaust museums, including Yad Vashem, to help the work of researchers and reinforce the company's policy of transparency about its past.

SNCF president Guillaume Pepy last year admitted the company had been "a cog in the Nazi extermination machine" during the occupation of France.

Goods trains carried 76,000 Jews to death camps and ddestinations in France between 1942 and 1945.

SNCF senior vice president Bernard Emsellem said his firm's contribution "strengthens SNCF's commitment to complete transparency, acknowledgment of the past and commitment to remembrance of the victims of the tragedy of the Holocaust."

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