French railways face criticisme in us for wwii role

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by Antonio Gonzalez, Associated Press Writer, contributions to the story by Associated Press
writer AngelaCharlton in Paris.

ORLANDO, Fla. - The French national railway's hope to bid on the first high-speed tracks in the United States is running into resistance from Holocaust survivorsbecause of the company's role in transporting Jews to Nazi death camps.

One of those leading the charge against the railway is Florida resident Rosette Goldstein, who says her father was taken awayby French authorities, shoved in a cattle train and delivered to his death during World War II. Goldstein plans to voice her opposition on behalf of many Holocaust survivors to the railway Thursdaywhen the Florida Department of Transportation holds a public meeting in Orlando on the $2.6 billion high-speed rail project, which would connect Tampa and Orlando.

Goldstein and others- includinglegislators- want the railway, known as the SNCF, to formally apologize for its role in the war, give full access to its records and make reparations.

«Why does this company deserve my tax dollarswhen they cooperated with the Nazis and let their trains transport people to be murdered»? said Goldstein, 71, who lives in Boca Raton.

SNCF stands for Societe Nationale des Chemins de Fer Francais.The company has argued that it had no control over operations when France was under Nazi occupation from 1940 to 1944 and was under orders to transport Jews to death camps. The firm also has saidthe French government has made an apology and offered reparations, although survivors contend the company itself has never made such amends.

«We plan to have a full disclosure of our records andcomplete transparency,» said Peter Kelly, an American-based attorney for SNCF. «The fact is many railway workers were killed by Nazis, many were bullied and the company was under control of an occupied...