Holocaust-era deportation archives to be opened

By Jennifer Lipman, August 31, 2010

Records of Jewish people who were deported from France during the Holocaust are to be revealed following a landmark decision by California legislators.

The French state train company SNCF is expected to place a bid to construct a high-speed railway between San Francisco and Los Angeles.

But last week, in a bill sponsored by Jewish lawmaker Bob Blumenfield, the California state legislature ruled that all companies bidding for the project had to disclose whether they had a direct role in Holocaust transportation between 1942 and 1944.

The project is worth an estimated £30 billion. SNCF has said the company had "nothing to hide" and that it would co-operate.

SNCF’s vast archives collection has been open to the public since 1996.

The SNCF chairman, Guillaume Pepy, said: "We should not forget one thing: the SNCF, the railway workers were under the yoke of the Nazi occupiers, threatened with death... 2,000 railway workers were executed by the Nazis.”

If the Holocaust Survivor Responsibility Act is approved and signed by the California governor it will go into effect by early 2011.

Last updated: 9:27am, September 1 2010