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Catalog Archive / Spring 2021

Last Train to Auschwitz
The French National Railways and the Journey to Accountability

“An excellent, well-written, original contribution to a growing field of business and human rights. Last Train to Auschwitz engagingly weaves together victims' narratives and historical and legal archives to provide a compelling contribution to the study of corporate accountability and transitional justice.”
—Leigh Payne, University of Oxford

In the immediate decades after World War II, the French National Railways (SNCF) was celebrated for its acts of wartime heroism. However, recent debates and litigation have revealed the ways the SNCF worked as an accomplice to the Third Reich and was actively complicit in the deportation of 75,000 Jews and other civilians to death camps. Sarah Federman delves into the interconnected roles—perpetrator, victim, and hero—the company took on during the harrowing years of the Holocaust.

Grounded in history and case law, Last Train to Auschwitz traces the SNCF’s journey toward accountability in France and the United States, culminating in a multimillion-dollar settlement paid by the French government on behalf of the railways. The poignant and informative testimonies of survivors illuminate the long-term effects of the railroad’s impact on individuals, leading the company to make overdue amends. In a time when corporations are increasingly granted the same rights as people, Federman’s detailed account demonstrates the obligations businesses have to atone for aiding and abetting governments in committing atrocities. This volume highlights the necessity of corporate integrity and will be essential reading for those called to engage in the difficult work of responding to past harms.

Sarah Federman is an assistant professor of negotiation and conflict management at the University of Baltimore.




“A pathbreaking book on Holocaust memory. Setting the SNCF struggle with its past into a transatlantic exchange, Federman has written an integrated history of an unfinished controversy that has already lasted more than thirty years. An important work for understanding the role of businesses in transitional justice.”
—Jean-Marc Dreyfus, University of Manchester



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May 2021
LC: 2020035409 HE
344 pp. 6 x 9
15 b/w illus, 7 tables

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Casebound $79.95 S
ISBN 9780299331702
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