Today, I leave for my three week journey sponsored by Amtrak. Thanks to the Amtrak Residency, I'll live aboard Amtrak while editing my forthcoming book about the role of the French National Railways (SNCF) in the Holocaust and the conflict that continues in the U.S. today over that role.
Today, the SNCF bids for contracts in the USA, but has trouble winning a few because some folks feel the company has not made sufficient amends of the Holocaust.
My book will not be a polemic for or against the SNCF, but rather a thoughtful presentation of the various involved parties and their perspectives. Readers think through questions of corporate accountability in the aftermath of violence
What's Happening with the Book?
During this trip, I will edit my book manuscript. It's fitting that I start in Washington D.C. where a big fight occurred over whether the SNCF would be allowed to construct the new Purple Line before paying survivors.
Then, I stop in Chicago, where the conflict continues because of a class action lawsuit launched there.
After Chicago, I'm off to California where legislation and protests made it hard for the SNCF to advance in high-speed rail bids. I'll spend a couple days in Stanford's Hoover archives looking at the documents that sparked the lawsuit (I'll write about those when I get them)
After Death, Go West!
The residency could not come at a better time. After the death of my father and cousin earlier this year, I've struggled to find my way back into stories about the Holocaust.
What better place to think about trains than on a train! Thanks, Amtrak!
Thanks also to you all for your interest in the forthcoming book which is based on 120 interviews, 80 with survivors conducted in France and in the United States.
The survivors will soon leave us. The book honors them as experts (not just victims) by including their wide-ranging opinions as well as those offered by the SNCF, the Jewish leadership, ambassadors, lawyers, and legislators.
When the conflict rolls into your state, you'll have a handle on the past, understand what the SNCF has done to make amends, and have thought through the intricacies.
It's not for me alone to say what - if anything- should happen next. The issues belong to us all and extend far beyond the SNCF. Corporate Accountability issues abound. That's why Grinnell College brought me to campus in April to teach a course on the Role of Market Actors in Mass Atrocity.
These conflict rests in your hands...
Please stay in touch and let me know your thoughts opinions.
Sarah Federman, PhD
Enjoy these short blogs and videos designed to bring you a little cheer.
My other blog Language of Conflict addresses the importance of word choice and narration in conflict.
Finish and Flourish supports writers struggling to complete projects.