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French railways win appeal in Holocaust case

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French railways win appeal in Holocaust case


A French court has overturned a ruling that ordered the state railway to compensate a family whose relatives were taken by train to an internment camp during the Nazi occupation. The Lipietz family produced bills as evidence that the SNCF charged French authorities the price of a third-class ticket for each person loaded into its cattle trucks.

But lawyers for the firm welcomed the court’s view that the SNCF was requisitioned and had not acted on its own authority. Today’s decision overturns a landmark verdict in favour of relatives of Georges Lipietz, a Polish-born Jew who was arrested by French police and transported to Drancy camp near Paris in 1944.

They launched the action six years ago. Since then, Georges, who was spared Auschwitz by the allied victory, has died. But his son Alain, a member of the European Parliament, is set to appeal today’s ruling. The court’s conclusion that it was not competent to rule on the case deals a blow to hundreds more claims. Some 76,000 Jews were arrested in France during World War Two and transported to concentration camps such as Auschwitz, where most died. Drancy was the main transit centre on French soil for the death camp.

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