Deutsche Bahn prepares for Holocaust lawsuits

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Germany's national railway, Deutsche Bahn, has hired a law firm and PR agency in the United States to prepare for legislation being considered by Congress that would allow Holocaust survivors to sue European railway companies for damages in American courts. Deutsche Bahn fears victims could sue for millions if the legislation passes.

Officials at Germany's Deutsche Bahn national railway appear to be concerned about the possibility of lawsuits demanding millions in damages from Holocaust survivors in United States courts. SPIEGEL has learned that the national railway hired a New York law firm and a public relations agency at the end of 2011 to observe legislation being considered in Congress that would provide the basis for possible lawsuits.

The PR agency, which specializes in crisis management, is also supposed to promote Deutsche Bahn's viewpoint by lobbying in Washington. When contacted by SPIEGEL, a Deutsche Bahn spokesperson confirmed that a company's services had been retained but would not comment on further details. On Sunday, the firm also confirmed it had hired the services of the New York law firm to observe and analyze the legislation.

The proposed Holocaust Rail Justice Act would allow survivors who were transported by the French national railway, SNCF, to Nazi death camps during the German occupation of France to sue in American courts. The bill's sponsor, Senator Charles Schumer, says that more than 76,000 Jews, resistance fighters and a small number of US prisoners of war were deported to the camps on SNCF trains. Only 3 percent survived....

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