France to Pay Compensation for WWII Deportations

An administrative court ordered the French state and the national rail authority to pay compensation to a family whose relatives were sent by train to a Nazi transit camp for Jews during World War II, a lawyer said.

The court in Toulouse, southwest France, ordered the state and the SNCF rail network to pay damages of $79,500 for deporting and interning the four people named in a lawsuit, the family's lawyer, Remi Rouquette, said Tuesday.

European Green Party lawmaker Alain Lipietz, his sister, Helene, and other family members brought the suit on behalf of four family members taken to a Nazi transit camp at Drancy near Paris in May 1944.

CountryWatch: France

The four were transported in cattle cars by the SNCF train authority from southwest France to Drancy and remained there for several months until the camp was freed in July 1944, according to the lawsuit. Drancy was a stopover point for Jews deported to Nazi death camps including Auschwitz.

A similar 2003 case against the SNCF in a civil court failed because a 30-year statute of limitations period had passed. Such a time delay was not applicable before the administrative court.

"It's a first in France, and we are obviously very satisfied," Rouquette said. The court allowed for the possibility of other similar suits in the coming months, he said.

The SNCF plans to appeal the decision, lawyer Yves Baudelot said.