The government of France has agreed to pay the U.S. $60 million, which will be used to compensate families of people who were deported out of France to Nazi death camps during the Holocaust.
France's government-owned rail company, SNCF, moved tens of thousands of Jews to concentration camps during World War II. The company has said it was under Nazi control, but its role in the Holocaust has created legal complications as SNCF tries to win transportation contracts around the world.
This file photo shows French Holocaust survivors gathering at the site of the former Drancy detention camp, north of Paris, France. From Aug. 20, 1941 until the end of World War II, more than 70,000 Jewish men, women and children passed through Drancy on their way to Nazi extermination camps, particularly Auschwitz.
Image: AP Photo/Michel Euler, File
Under the agreement announced by the State Department, France will make a lump-sum payment to the U.S., and the U.S. will distribute that money to victims and their families. In return, the U.S. would hold France immune from future claims related to the Holocaust.
According to State, three categories of people will be able to apply for payments. The first is made up of people who were transported to a death camp and survived, and now live outside of France and don't live in a country that already has a payment agreement with France.
"It is estimated that each of these eligible survivors would receive a payment of over one hundred thousand dollars," State said.
A second group of people who can apply are spouses of those who were deported, if they are living outside of France. Spouses can expect to receive "tends of thousands of dollars," state said.
The third group is comprised of estates of survivors or spouses who died at the end of the war — State said the size of these payments would depend on when the survivor of the spouse died.
According to State, the French Parliament has to approve the deal, after which the payment would be made. The U.S. will then formally announce the program and tell people how they can apply.