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Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Holocaust Survivors Mark 80 Years Since Mass Paris Roundup

Family after family, house to house, French police arrested 13,000 people in two terrible days in July 1942, sending them to Nazi death camps because they were Jews. Eighty years later, France is honoring the victims, and trying to keep their memory alive.

For the dwindling number of survivors of France’s wartime crimes, the commemoration celebrations on Sunday are particularly important. About France’s role in the Holocaust in a time of growing anti-Semitism and far-right discourse, she worries that the lessons of history are being forgotten.

A week of celebrations to mark the 80 years of the Val d’Achive Police Roundup on July 16-17, 1942, ends on Sunday with an event led by President Emmanuel Macron.

The raids were among the most shameful acts committed by France during World War II, and one of the darkest moments in its history.

FILE – Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo speaks to Jacques Fred, the head of the Showa Memorial, as they leave the train car symbolizing the Drancy Camp at the Showa Memorial in Drancy outside Paris, July 12, 2022.

Over those two days, police gathered 13,152 people—including 4,115 children—at the Winter Velodrome in Paris, known as the Val d’Hiv, before being sent to Nazi camps. It was the largest such roundup in Western Europe. The children were separated from their families; Very few survived.

In public testimonies over the past week, survivor Rachel Jedinck describes knocking on doors in the middle of the night and swarming through the streets of Paris and into the velodrome in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower.

He remembered his desperate mother shouting at the police. Some neighbors reported to the Jews; Others cried because they saw them being crushed like animals.

Chantal Blazka’s aunt and uncle included children: 6-year-old Simon, 9-year-old Berthe, 15-year-old Susan. Their names are now engraved on a monument in a garden where the velodrome once stood, along with some 4,000 other children targeted in the raid. The photographs of children hanging from tree branches are the result of years of painstaking research to identify and honor the long-anonymous victims.

Of the children deported from the Val d’HIV 80 years ago, only six survived.

“You can imagine?” Blaszka asked, pointing to the names and nodding. “You can imagine?”

Serge Klarsfeld, a famous Nazi hunter whose father was exiled to Auschwitz, spoke in the garden on Saturday, calling it “earth-shaking evidence for the horrors that Jewish families have conquered.”

He stressed the urgency of passing on the living memory. “The youngest of us are in our 80s,” he said of the deported kids.

Michelin Tinadar’s father was among the 76,000 Jews deported from France under the Allied Vichy government. As a child, Tinadar himself had to hide from the Nazis.

She attended a commemoration ceremony at the Showa Memorial in the Paris suburb of Drancy this week and is part of a consortium based at the site that organizes educational trips to Auschwitz.

File - Monument To The Showa Memorial In Drancy Outside Paris, July 12, 2022.

FILE – Monument to the Showa Memorial in Drancy outside Paris, July 12, 2022.

There was a transit center near Drancy which was the center of the deadly visit of French Jews to the Nazi camps. About 63,000 people were detained during the war.

The Drancy Shoa Monument actively documents the Holocaust, especially for the younger generations. This work is particularly important at a time when the Jewish community is concerned about rising anti-Semitism in Europe. The French Interior Ministry has reported an increase in anti-Semitic acts in France in recent years, saying that while there is an increase in racist and anti-religious acts overall, Jews are disproportionately targeted.

Concern for some has risen since the right-wing National Rally party won a record 89 seats in France’s National Assembly last month with a surprise electoral success.

Party co-founder Jean-Marie Le Pen has been convicted of racism and underrepresentation of the Holocaust. His daughter Marin, now leading the party, has distanced herself from her father’s positions, but the party’s past is still a concern for many Jews.

During this year’s campaign for the French presidential election, far-right candidate and pundit Eric Zemour propagated the false claim that Adolf Hitler’s Vichy allies protected France’s Jews.

File - Eric Zemour, The Most Perfect Candidate For France'S Presidential Election 2022, Visits A Vineyard And Meets With Local Supporters In Hussein-Les-Châteaux, Eastern France, December 18, 2021.

FILE – Eric Zemour, the most perfect candidate for France’s presidential election 2022, visits a vineyard and meets with local supporters in Hussein-les-Châteaux, eastern France, December 18, 2021.

It took France’s leadership 50 years after World War II to officially acknowledge the state’s involvement in the Holocaust, when then-president Jacques Chirac apologized for the role of French officers in the Val d’Hive raid.

On Sunday, Macron is visiting a site in Pithiviers, south of Paris, where police sent families after a Val d’Hive roundup, before sending them to camps.

“The policy, from 1942 onwards, was to organize the killing of the Jews of Europe and therefore the deportation of the Jews of France,” said Jacques Fred, director of the Paris Showa Memorial.

“Most of the time, decisions were made by the Nazis and implemented by the French administration,” he said. “But the management was French. [French] Gendarmes or policemen were managing and supervising. ,

This article is republished from – Voa News – Read the – original article.

World Nation News Desk
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