WASHINGTON (JTA) – The U.S. State Department is ready to allot the second half of the $60 million US in compensation for survivors deported to Nazi camps via the French rail system, and their spouses and descendants.
Claimants will receive virtually double the amount they were allotted after the governments of the United States and France reached agreement on the $60 million in 2014.
The agreement redressed longstanding claims by survivors who were otherwise unable to obtain reparations limited to French nationals through the French pension system. The SNCF rail system, which is owned by the French government, transported Jews to the death camps during the Holocaust.
The fund, with monies from France but administered by the U.S. government, was available to non-French nationals who are citizens of the United States and any other country that does not have a bilateral reparations agreement with France. (Belgium, Poland, Britain, the Czech Republic and Slovakia are subject to such agreements.)
Officials accelerated payments from half the fund to get some compensation to survivors and their spouses while they were still alive, and kept half in reserve for other potential claimants.
Now that the process has been exhausted, the remainder will be disbursed. The $204,000 that living survivors received in 2014 will be nearly doubled for an overall payment of $401,880, the plan’s administrator, Stuart Eizenstat, told the Jewish media in a conference call. The $51,000 that surviving spouses received then will similarly now reach an overall total of $100,470, and the family of survivors and spouses who had died by 2014 will also receive almost the same amount they received that year.