Maryland First State to Demand Holocaust Records of Companies Bidding for Contracts

Friday, May 20, 2011
Maryland has become the first state in the nation to require companies bidding on railway contracts to reveal any role they played in the Holocaust during World War II. The new law primarily targeted Keolis, a Paris-based company whose majority owner is Société Nationale des Chemins de fer français (SNCF), the government-owned French railway that was paid to transport more than 76,000 Jews to the German border on their way to Nazi death camps.
Keolis has sought to operate the Brunswick and Camden lines for the Maryland Area Regional Commuter (MARC) system. The company already handles train service for Virginia Railway Express, and it is bidding on a contract to operate commuter trains in Northern California.
In November, SNCF President Guillaume Pepy issued a statement in the United States acknowledging the use of SNCF’s staff and equipment in the death-camp deportations. Then, in January in France, he issued a formal apology to Holocaust victims.
Others in France consider the American criticisms of SNCF unfair because France was under Nazi occupation at the time. Arno Klarsfeld, son of Nazi-hunter Serge Klarsfeld, told The New York Times, “This American pressure on the SNCF has tarnished the memory of 1,647 train drivers who were executed or deported and never came back.”
-Noel Brinkerhoff, David Wallechinsky
Holocaust Group Faults VRE Contract (by Katherine Shaver, Washington Post)
French Railway Formally Apologizes to Holocaust Victims (by Maïa de la Baume, New Yoork Times)


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