Last Train to Auschwitz: The French National Railways and the Journey to Accountability

Last Train to Auschwitz: The French National Railways and the Journey to Accountability

By Sarah Federman

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During World War II, the French National Railways Corporation (SNCF) deported 75,000 people to Nazi death camps. Last Train to Auschwitz delves into the many roles of the French railways during the Holocaust. Poignant stories of survivors mixed with contemporary legal debates illuminate a company's amends for human rights violations.


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Book Information

Publisher: University of Wisconsin Press
Publish Date: 05/25/2021
Pages: 326
ISBN-13: 9780299331702
ISBN-10: 0299331709
Language: English

Full Description

In the immediate decades after World War II, the French National Railways (SNCF) was celebrated for its acts of wartime heroism. However, recent debates and litigation have revealed the ways the SNCF worked as an accomplice to the Third Reich and was actively complicit in the deportation of 75,000 Jews and other civilians to death camps. Sarah Federman delves into the interconnected roles-perpetrator, victim, and hero-the company took on during the harrowing years of the Holocaust.

Grounded in history and case law, Last Train to Auschwitz traces the SNCF's journey toward accountability in France and the United States, culminating in a multimillion-dollar settlement paid by the French government on behalf of the railways.The poignant and informative testimonies of survivors illuminate the long-term effects of the railroad's impact on individuals, leading the company to make overdue amends. In a time when corporations are increasingly granted the same rights as people, Federman's detailed account demonstrates the obligations businesses have to atone for aiding and abetting governments in committing atrocities. This volume highlights the necessity of corporate integrity and will be essential reading for those called to engage in the difficult work of responding to past harms.

About the Author

Sarah Federman is Associate Professor of Conflict Resolution at the University of San Diego's Kroc School of Peace Studies.

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