French railway sorry for Holocaust role

Jan. 26, 2011 at 10:32 AM

BOBIGNY, France, Jan. 26 (UPI) -- A French railroad has apologized for helping transport Jews to their deaths at the hands of the Nazis.

SNCF President Guillaume Pepy admitted Tuesday the company had been a "cog in the Nazi extermination machine," Radio France Internationale reported.

"Our company drove these trains to the border," he said. "It was forced to, but it did it. I want express the deep sadness and regret of SNCF for the consequences of its acts at the time."

Pepy spoke in Bobigny, near Paris, from which 22,407 Jews were driven in 21 convoys to the concentration camp at Drancy in 1943 and 1944. Altogether, SNCF transported 76,000 French Jews to Germany and eventual extermination.

Pepy also pointed with pride to SNCF engineers who aided the French Resistance.

He earlier apologized while visiting Florida in November to bid for U.S. contracts.

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