(photo credit: REUTERS)
French legislators approved on Wednesday a deal with the US in which France agreed to pay $60 million in compensation to foreign nationals deported to Nazi death camps on French trains during World War Two, AFP reported.
Thousands of people could now be eligible for the compensation, including nationals of Israel and Canada as well as Americans who were deported from France to the death camps, according to the report.
The French government has already paid out another $60 million to French nationals who were victims of the Holocaust under a scheme set up in 1946, AFP reported.
In exchange for the new compensation scheme, the US would undertake to protect France's immunity with regard to any Holocaust deportation claims filed in the United States, according to the report.
About 76,000 Jews were arrested in France during World War Two and transported in appalling conditions in railway boxcars by French state rail firm SNCF to Nazi death camps such as Auschwitz, where most died.
In 1995 France's then-president, Jacques Chirac, officially acknowledged for the first time French complicity in the wartime deportations. But it was only in 2009 that France's highest court recognized the state's responsibility.
Several state legislatures in the United States, including Maryland and New York, have previously threatened to pass legislation that would block the SNCF from bidding in rail projects unless it paid compensation to US victims.