WASHINGTON –U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Chairman of the U.S. Helsinki Commission and a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, released the following statement expressing support for the establishment of a fund to compensate victims and surviving family members transported by The National Society of French Railways (SNCF) during the Holocaust.
“In March, one of those who survived the war-time deportations, Leo Bretholz of Maryland, passed away. Leo escaped from a train transporting him to almost certain death. He spent the rest of the war fighting the Nazi regime and helping others escape. In his later years, Leo worked with members of the Maryland General Assembly to secure reparations for Holocaust survivors who were transported to the camps on French railways. I take solace in knowing that his already incredible legacy lives on through this agreement.
“I applaud the agreement reached between the United States and France to compensate those who survived deportation from France by SNCF but who, as non-nationals of France, were excluded from previous compensation programs. The agreement shows that the quest to right the wrongs of the past is still ongoing and, most importantly, it is still possible to achieve some measure of justice for those who suffered so terribly. For some people around the world the Holocaust may be history, for those who have survived the horror is still very real.
This settlement is a well-deserved victory for aging survivors and their families across the world. I commend the Government of France for its efforts to advance responsibility, memory and justice and I hope the French National Assembly will be able to expeditiously ratify this agreement.”