A French appeals court overturned a decision ordering the national railway to compensate two Jews deported by its trains in Nazi-occupied France.
A French appeals court overturned a decision ordering the national railway to compensate two Jews deported by its trains in Nazi-occupied France. Tuesday’s ruling in Bordeaux might affect a larger class-action suit filed against the SNCF system in similar cases.

The appeals court accepted the SNCF argument that the case, first brought to trial in June 2006, was not within the jurisdiction of the Toulouse administrative court, which had ordered SNCF to pay some $81,000 to the family of George Lipietz.

Lipietz, a Polish-born Jew, was 15 when French police arrested him and his brother. The two were taken in a cattle car to the Drancy transit camp on the outskirts of Paris. Lipietz spent three months at the camp before being liberated at the end of the war. Most Jews held at Drancy were sent to the Auschwitz death camp.

Lipietz died after launching the complaint in 2001, but family members, including his son Alain, a Green Party member of the European Parliament, continued the case. They succeeded in establishing shared responsibility of SNCF and the French government for the deportation. That ruling, the first of its kind in France, opened the door to a class-action suit involving up to 1,800 plaintiffs, which is expected to be deliberated in the coming year.