New York, NY, December 5, 2014 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today welcomed a U.S.-French agreement to compensate Holocaust victims deported from France during World War II. The $60 million agreement covers Americans and other non-French deportees who were unable, until now, to gain access to the French pension program established in 1946.
The agreement is the product of negotiations between the United States and France to identify and find a solution for victims of the Holocaust in France who were not covered by the existing compensation.
Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director and a Holocaust survivor, issued the following statement:
This agreement represents an important recognition by the Government of France of the suffering of those who have been excluded for decades from the French Holocaust victims compensation program.
We commend the United States for its leadership, especially Ambassador Stuart Eizenstat and his team, who worked diligently over many months to reach the best possible agreement. We also commend the Government of France who engaged in these talks in a good faith effort to close gaps that were found in its compensation program.
There is no amount of money that could ever make up for the horrific injustice done to these victims and their families. But agreements like this provide some modest redress, an important recognition of their pain, and acknowledge the responsibility of governments and institutions to leave no stone unturned in seeking every possible measure of justice for Holocaust victims.
We are gratified by the emphasis also on regret about France’s involvement in its horrific past, and its commitment to remembrance of the Holocaust. While today may represent closure on the cases of these deportees, the collective responsibility of all governments, related institutions and individuals to confront the past and to promote its lessons going forward never ends.
The agreement now heads to the French Parliament for ratification and then the U.S. government will lead the process of identifying claimants and distributing funds. This is in addition to the over $60 million the government of France has already paid to over 1,000 eligible orphans of deportees living in the United States, and additional amounts to orphans from Israel and other countries.