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Terror victims' SOS answered

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THE French public has, quite literally, been under siege. A series of bomb attacks last month left 10 people dead and over 150 injured. In the past, photos of these terror victims would have appeared on the front page and then become a statistic. No longer. Thanks to Fran,coise Rudetzki.

Mrs. Rudetzki has founded an association, SOS Attacks, to help victims of terrorism in France. The group works to raise public consciousness about the problems faced by terror victims. Funded fully by voluntary contributions, SOS Attacks also educates victims about their rights and recourse to compensation.

Rudetzki's dedication stems from personal experience. In December 1983, one day before Christmas Eve, Fran,coise Rudetzki and her husband dined out at the fashionable Grand Vefour restaurant. As they were leaving, a bomb ripped through the restaurant, wounding her husband and seriously injuring her. Mrs. Rudetzki is now confined to a wheelchair.

She faced a whole new series of problems: There was no one to take care of her nine-year-old daughter; she lost her job as the head of a clothing company; she needed someone at home all day to help.

But there were no provisions in French law to help people like Rudetzki.

So from her living room, in November 1985, she founded SOS Attacks -- a group run by and for the victims of terrorist attacks. Since then her association has reviewed the laws covering victims of terrorist attacks and their rights to claim damages, and has successfully lobbied for new legislation to help the victims.

But, most importantly, Rudetzki has extended a helping hand and a sympathetic ear to numerous victims who have felt embittered and abandoned. Her concern and enthusiasm have given them hope. More than 70 victims and 200 wellwishers now belong to SOS Attacks.

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