Holocaust victims deported from France who were previously denied compensation now have access to a multi-million dollar fund due to a U.S.-France agreement.
Under the terms of the agreement, which was signed in Washington in December and went into effect last week, a $60 million fund has been set aside for Holocaust victims deported from France who had been unable to access the French compensation program. The United States will disburse funds to eligible Americans, Israelis and other foreigners and their families who were not eligible to make claims under the existing program.
In exchange, the United States will “ensure an enduring legal peace for France” regarding Holocaust deportation claims filed stateside.
French citizens and those victims or their families who reside in a country with whom France has a bilateral agreement — Belgium, Poland, the United Kingdom and former Czechoslovakia — still must apply for compensation through existing French reparation and compensation programs.
“The agreement is another measure of justice to help those who suffered the harms of one of history’s darkest eras, and another example of the close U.S.-France partnership that characterizes our relationship,” read a joint statement released by the State Department.
William C. Daroff, senior vice president for public policy for the Jewish Federations of North America, voiced the organization’s approval of the move.
“Access to funds provides a measure of acknowledgment of the past and will be helpful to those eligible Holocaust survivors who struggle to pay for basic needs,” Daroff said in a statement. “We must do all we can to help Holocaust survivors age with dignity. We commend the U.S. and French governments for their leadership in reaching this agreement.”