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Posted at 5:34 PM ET, 02/ 9/2011

Md. rail bill targets Holocaust links

By Katherine Shaver

A bipartisan group of Maryland lawmakers has introduced a bill that would require companies bidding on Maryland Area Regional Commuter train contracts to disclose any relation to rail companies that transported Holocaust prisoners to Nazi death camps.

The legislation is aimed at Keolis Rail Services America, a company that bid on a contract to operate MARC's Camden and Brunswick lines, and its majority owner, the French railway company SNCF. SNCF, which has been partly owned by the French government since 1938, transported nearly 77,000 Jews and other Holocaust victims from France to Nazi camps, according to historians.

The Maryland Transit Administration canceled bidding on the Camden and Brunswick lines contract in November, saying it failed to attract enough competition. The MTA plans to put out a revised request for proposals this spring, said MTA spokesman Terry Owens.

The Camden and Brunswick lines are now operated by CSX. The Brunswick Line carries passengers between Washington and points north and west, including Frederick and Martinsburg, W.€ŠVa. The Camden Line connects Washington and Baltimore.

Holocaust survivor groups have fought for similar legislation in other states, saying SNCF must take responsibility for its role in the Holocaust and pay reparations to survivors and the families of those killed before it or any of its subsidiaries are awarded U.S. government work.

A Keolis official recently called it "quite a reach" to connect Keolis, which was founded in the late 1990s, with World War II.

Keolis began operating and maintaining VRE trains this summer. VRE officials have said the Virginia commuter rail system was unaware of any Holocaust connection before awarding Keolis the contract but said the company still offered the best value under Virginia and federal procurement laws.

By Katherine Shaver  | February 9, 2011; 5:34 PM ET
Categories:  MARC, Maryland, Virginia Railway Express  
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Enough already.

Posted by: elwoll | February 9, 2011 5:58 PM | Report abuse

Enough already.

Posted by: elwoll | February 9, 2011 6:02 PM | Report abuse

Why not prevent any company that has or ever had an employee that ever had any non-Jewish family member living in Germany. Or is that too broad?

Posted by: Jimof1913 | February 9, 2011 11:13 PM | Report abuse

Oh, please...

Posted by: ceebee2 | February 9, 2011 11:54 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and while you're at it legislators, make sure that these Frenchys do not have any connections to crepes suzzette, baguettes, or croissants, either.

Posted by: CanjacCanjar | February 10, 2011 1:09 AM | Report abuse

Oh, and while you're at it legislators, make sure that these Frenchys do not have any connections to crepes suzzette, baguettes, or croissants, either.

Posted by: CanjacCanjar | February 10, 2011 1:09 AM | Report abuse

Quit buying Fords. And flying Lufthansa. And drinking dunkels and pilsners. And eating bratwurst.

It's not like they have some stereotyped image of Native American as their logo. But people still go to Redskins games.

Posted by: anarcho-liberal-tarian | February 10, 2011 7:59 AM | Report abuse

what a joke, i think every military contractor in this country should be looked at a bit more closely then, supplying arms to dictators who use them against their own people? For what? Profit, thats what. Mirror time! what a stupid waste of internet space. Blackwater changed its name to XE, perhaps if these companies just change the name its all good- its American.

Posted by: MajorFacemask | February 10, 2011 9:08 AM | Report abuse

Given the current condition of the Metro, I would assume any pro-Holocaust companies are already working for WMATA.

Posted by: getjiggly1 | February 10, 2011 10:23 AM | Report abuse

Why are they making an issue of something that happened almost 70 years ago? Everybody responsible no longer works there and I'd imagine are all probably dead. If you legislators really have nothing better to do, how about cracking down on the invasion of MD by illegal immigrants.

Posted by: futbolclif | February 10, 2011 11:17 AM | Report abuse

are you kidding? Get over it. Just one more reason to stay out of Maryland.

Posted by: djrhood | February 10, 2011 12:37 PM | Report abuse

I'm Jewish, but even I think this is the most ridiculous bill in the history of the Maryland state legislature. SNCF, as you mentioned, is largely owned by the government of France. They didn't exactly have a choice in what they did while France was under Nazi control. France is no longer a puppet state to the Reich, so I'm pretty sure we don't need to worry about a repeat performance or anything. The idea that somehow it is the *rail company* that owes reparations to holocaust survivors is laughable. They were mere intermediaries in a government-created process.

Posted by: twwtheovaloffice | February 10, 2011 12:38 PM | Report abuse

I am Jewish and I have living relatives who are Holocaust survivers. Death camp numbers tattooed on their arms, and everything. Hopefully that entitles me to make the following observation:

Maryland, this is the most idiotic initiative I've seen from you. Ever. Jews do not hold an eternal grudge against the descendants of the Nazis for events that occurred before they were born.

Thanks for reminding me why I live in Virginia where people are sensible.

Posted by: afsljafweljkjlfe | February 10, 2011 1:13 PM | Report abuse

This is getting absurd. Why not just hire an Israeli firm and be done with the whole thing. Oh, and Americans, don't visit Japan because they started a murderous war with us. The future awaits.

Posted by: jckdoors | February 10, 2011 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Oh please!!!

Better pass a law that prevents any state employee from taking a Bayer aspin.

Bayer was once part of I.G. Farben. You can't be tto careful, you know.

Posted by: kjclark1963 | February 10, 2011 1:46 PM | Report abuse

Oh for heavens sake. This is obviously aimed at SNCF the French Railroad system, which, while occupied by the Nazis and under Nazi direction and coercion transported all sorts of stuff, munitions, troops, Jews. This is just STUPID!!! And it's not going to make Jews more liked either. Enough is darned well enough...quit the victimhood and grow up.

Posted by: wjc1va | February 10, 2011 2:29 PM | Report abuse

I do not make comments often, but I have an idea. How about all governments in the United States abandon and discontinue contracts with anyone/company that had some connection with slavery. I am sure there are a few companies that built their success on the backs of free labor, and it would be insulting to utilize and perpetuate theirs services/products

Posted by: JTW02 | February 11, 2011 10:27 AM | Report abuse

And of course, nobody could contract with the US government which defended slavery for a century.

Posted by: getjiggly1 | February 11, 2011 12:34 PM | Report abuse

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