White House warns individual state legislatures against taking action to punish French railway co. that deported Jews to Nazi camps

An original railway carriage stands at the Judenrampe platform at Auschwitz (photo credit: Adam Jones/Wikimedia Commons)

An original railway carriage stands at the Judenrampe platform at Auschwitz (photo credit: Adam Jones/Wikimedia Commons)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration on Wednesday warned several state legislatures against initiatives that would punish the state-owned French railway company SNCF for carrying out Holocaust-era deportations to Nazi death and labor camps.

The State Department said such actions would jeopardize recently-begun talks between the United States and France on compensation for SNCF deportation victims and their families.

Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the United States and France hoped to conclude their discussions as quickly as possible and that initiatives in Maryland and New York threatened a speedy resolution of the talks that began last month.

“Recent initiatives of certain state legislatures, such as New York and Maryland, have begun to pose a serious obstacle to achieving this goal,” she said in a statement. “We strongly urge all concerned to avoid actions that undermine the ongoing compensation talks. The current American-French dialogue, in our view, represents the best means of reaching an agreement that will meet the concerns expressed by lawmakers in these states.”

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