Wednesday, June 07, 2006

France complicit in crimes against humanity


France's government and state railways have been ordered to pay compensation for deporting Jews during World War II. The case was brought by people whose relatives were taken by train to a transit camp at Drancy near Paris during the Nazi occupation of France.

More than 75,000 French Jews were transported from the camp to death camps in Germany. The court found that the French state and the rail company, SNCF, had been complicit in crimes against humanity. The government and SNCF have been ordered to pay compensation of 60,000 euros ($80,000, £43,000) to the family. Records show that the SNCF billed the French state for the journeys and carried on demanding money for the transfers even after France had been liberated - from BBC News

* The photograph above is of the new Holocaust Memorial in Berlin by American Architect Peter Eisenmann. It was inspired by Prague's Jewish Cemetery with its closely packed gravestones, and comprises 2700 grey slabs. The photo was taken by me from where the Berlin Wall once stood and looks across to the centre of the former East Berlin, Alexanderplatz. It is from my recent photo essay I am a camera - Berlin.


* The Emperor of Atlantis was composed by the Czech composer Viktor Ullman, and is based on the horrors of Nazi concentration camps. Ullman was sent to Theresienstadt from his home in Prague in the autumn of 1942. He was later moved to Auschwitz where his fellow prisoners included the musicians Karel Ancerl, Rafael Schachter, Gideon Klein, and Hans Krasa. For the story of this important 20th century opera take An Overgrown Path to Holocaust opera's rare performance .

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If you were moved by this post take An Overgrown Path to
Childhood luggage

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