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France - Railway Launches Sensitive Website to Address Its Nazi Past

Published on: November 16, 2010 02:57 PM
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Before and after.France - The state-owned French railway company that hopes to supply Florida with high-speed trains launched a publicity campaign recently to help combat criticisms of its Nazi past. The campaign includes a web page titled “Heritage” that claims to detail the Societe Nationale des Chamins de fer Francais’ connection with the Nazis.

But the page does little to explain what exactly the company did for the Adolf Hitler-approved Vichy government that ran parts of France during World War II. It also glosses over the company’s connection to the trains it ran that transported some 70,000 Jews to their deaths.

“Because we are new to America, many people are not yet familiar with SNCF,” the site reads. “It is understandable that they may have questions about us and our history. In particular, questions have been raised recently about the company during the World War II era, when Nazi Germany invaded and occupied France.

“By August 1944, 76,000 Jewish men, women, and children had been sent by train to the Jewish border.” Not “were sent,” and certainly not “we sent.” Unmentioned is the price per Jewish head paid to the railroad by the German government. Instead, we learn of the 2,000 rail workers who met their deaths because of their resistance of the Nazi regime. (The fact that the executioners were often fellow rail workers goes unmentioned too.)

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Predictably, some Floridians were upset by the news that a company with so much blood on its tracks might do business in their state. Two months ago, outgoing Congressman Ron Klein launched a brief and pointless fight against the company’s doing business in Florida.   Ever since the NCSF began making inroads into America—last year, in California—the word reparation has been in the air, uttered recently and most emotionally by Rosette Goldstein of Boca Raton, whose father rode an NCSF train to his death. NCSF has never offered reparations for the Holocaust, arguing that, as a part of the French government, its reparations are inseparable from those of France itself. Which is as sensible as it is convenient. 

NCSF’s trains are arguably the world’s best. They are faster, cleaner, and safer than anyone else’s—in more than 30 years of high-speed railing, they have recorded not a single fatal accident. Their railroading expertise has been retained by governments all over the world—by Taiwan, by the U.K., by South Korea, by Spain. And by Israel.



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Read Comments (4)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Nov 16, 2010 at 03:15 PM Anonymous Says:

You mean we sent men to the moon and the USA can't build it's own high speed trains?

2

 Nov 16, 2010 at 03:45 PM Anonymous Says:

we don't want those trains that were used in WW2 to cart the poor Yiden to Auschwitz

3

 Nov 16, 2010 at 06:08 PM sanzerbubby Says:

Israel should care, but what do you expect- they are all driving German cars there!Why not get trains from China- they have the fastest trains in the world- and their record during WW11 is one of the best- remember Shanghai?

4

 Nov 16, 2010 at 08:51 PM cbdds Says:

Reply to #3  
sanzerbubby Says:

Israel should care, but what do you expect- they are all driving German cars there!Why not get trains from China- they have the fastest trains in the world- and their record during WW11 is one of the best- remember Shanghai?

Why not get trains from China- they have the fastest trains in the world- BUILT by Siemans of Gemany, you should note. In fact the French, despite their technology, just ordered German trains for the chunnel.

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