Published: November 2, 2008
Abe Dresdner remembers the train ride, remembers being “jammed in, standing for days and days” in a boxcar. It was August 1940 in Vichy France. He was 11.

“We had no food, no nothing,” said Mr. Dresdner, who had fled his native Belgium, only to be captured by French authorities and put on the train. “They took all our belongings, our suitcases, except for what we were carrying in our pockets.”

The train was bound for Rivesaltes, a village in southern France where there was a squalid camp for foreign Jews rounded up by the Vichy government.

For seven years, he and some 600 other survivors of Nazi Germany and Vichy France have been trying — so far unsuccessfully — to hold the national French railroad accountable in federal court in Brooklyn. Now they have turned to Congress, pinning their hopes on a bill that would permit their class-action lawsuit to go forward