Md. bill on Holocaust rail records passes

March 29, 2011 at 4:16 PM
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ANNAPOLIS, Md., March 29 (UPI) -- Maryland lawmakers gave the state archivist final say on whether a French company was complying with a deal to release documents connected to the Holocaust.

An amended bill passed this week was based on an agreement between the state and France's state-owned railroad SNCF, which is vying for a contract to operate two Maryland Regional Commuter Rail lines.

Under the agreement, SNCF agreed to accelerate the digitization and release of its wartime company records while the independent state archivist makes the determination whether or not the process is going fast enough.

Delegate Samuel Rosenberg sponsored the legislation, which is aimed at prodding SNCF into making public the company's role in deporting Jews from occupied France to Nazi concentration camps. An earlier version of the bill made the Department of Transportation the arbiter of SNCF's progress; however, the department is part of the governor's Cabinet, the Baltimore Sun said Tuesday.

SNCF is one of a relatively small number of companies worldwide with the experience needed to manage commuter rail networks but had declined to bid on the project under the terms of the original bill.

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