The Holocaust in France

The Holocaust in France refers to the persecution, deportation, and annihilation of Jews and Roma between 1940 and 1944 in occupied France, metropolitan Vichy, and in Vichy-North Africa, during World War II. The persecution began in 1940, and culminated in deportations of Jews from France to concentration camps in Germany and Nazi-occupied Poland from 1942 which lasted until July 1944. Of the 340,000 Jews living in metropolitan/continental France in 1940, more than 75,000 were deported to death camps, where about 72,500 were killed. French Vichy government [1] and the French police participated in the roundup of Jews. Although most deported Jews died, the survival rate of the Jewish population in France was up to 75% which is one of the highest survival rates in Europe.[2][3]

Recensement des Juifs
1941 poster from Marseilles announcing the order for Jews to register


In the summer of 1940, there were around 700,000 Jews living in French-ruled territory, of which 400,000 lived in French Algeria, then an integral part of France, and in the two French protectorates of Tunisia and Morocco. Metropolitan France had a population of about 150,000 Jewish nationals during the Interwar period.[4] In addition, France hosted a large population of foreign Jews who had fled persecutions in Germany. By 1939, the Jewish population had increased to 330,000 due to the refusal of the United States and the United Kingdom to accept any more Jewish refugees following the Évian Conference. After the occupation of Belgium and the Netherlands in 1940, France hosted a new wave of Jewish immigrants and Jewish population peaked at 340,000 individuals.[4]

At the declaration of World War II, French Jews were mobilized into the French military like their compatriots, and, like in 1914, a significant number of foreign Jews enlisted in regiments of foreign volunteers.[5] Jewish refugees from Germany were interned as enemy aliens. In general, the Jewish population of France was confident in the ability of France to defend them against the occupiers, but some, particularly from Alsace and the Moselle regions fled westwards into the unoccupied zone from July 1940.[6]

The armistice of 22 June 1940, signed between the Third Reich and the government of Marshal Philippe Pétain, did not contain any overtly anti-Jewish clauses, but did indicate that the Germans intended the racial order existent in Germany since 1933 to spread to Metropolitan France and its overseas territories:

  • Article 3 warned that in the regions of France occupied directly by the Germans, the French administration must "by all means facilitate the regulations" relating to the exercise of the rights of the Reich;
  • Articles 16 and 19 warned that the French government had to proceed to repatriate refugees from the occupied territory and that "The French government is required to deliver on demand all German nationals designated by the Reich and who are in France, in French possessions, colonies, protectorates and territories under mandate"

Under the terms of the armistice, only part of Metropolitan France was occupied by Germany. From the city of Vichy, the government of Marshal Pétain governed a new French State (l'État français) in southern France and the departments of French Algeria, together with France's overseas territories such as Morocco, Tunisia, Indochina, the Levant, etc. The Vichy regime saw its empire as an integral part of non-occupied France, and its anti-Jewish decrees were immediately implemented there, because of the Vichy vision of the empire as a territorial continuation of metropolitan France[7]


From the Armistice to the invasion of the Zone libre

Bundesarchiv Bild 146-1975-041-07, Paris, Propaganda gegen Juden
An anti-Semitic exhibition, entitled "The Jew and France", in Paris, 1941
Bundesarchiv Bild 183-N0619-506, Paris, Jüdische Frauen mit Stern
Two Jewish women in occupied Paris wearing Yellow badges in June 1942, a few weeks before the mass arrest
Yellow badge made mandatory by the Nazis in France

From the summer of 1940, Otto Abetz, the German ambassador in Paris, organized the expropriation of rich Jewish families.[8] The Vichy regime took the first anti-Jewish measures slightly after the German authorities in the autumn of 1940. On 3 October 1940, Vichy passed a set of anti-Jewish laws called the Statut des Juifs ("statute on Jews") to solve the Jewish question in areas under its control. Article 9.of the Statut stated that the law are applicable to France's possessions of French Algeria, the colonies, the Protectorates of Tunisia and Morocco, and mandates territories. The October 1940 Statut was prepared by Raphaël Alibert. According to a document made public in 2010, Pétain himself made slight moderations to the term of the law.[9] The Jewish Statute, "embraced the definition of a Jew established in the Nuremberg Laws" ,[10] deprived the Jews of their civil rights, and fired them from many jobs. The statut also forbade Jews from working in certain professions (teachers, journalists, lawyers, etc.) while a Law of 4 October 1940 envisaged the incarceration of foreign Jews in internment camps in southern France such as the one at Gurs. These internees were joined by convoys of Jews deported from regions of France, including 6,500 Jews who had been deported from Alsace-Lorraine during Operation Bürckel.

During Operation Bürckel, Gauleiters Josef Bürckel and Robert Heinrich Wagner oversaw the expulsion of Jews into unoccupied France from their Gaues and the parts of Alsace-Lorraine that had been annexed in the summer of 1941 to the Reich.[11] Only those Jews in mixed marriages were not expelled.[11] The 6,500 Jews affected by Operation Bürckel were given at most two hours warning on the night of 22–23 October 1940, before being rounded up. The nine trains carrying the deported Jews crossed over into France "without any warning to the French authorities", who were not happy with receiving them.[11] The deportees had not been allowed to take any of their possessions with them, these being confiscated by the German authorities.[11] The German Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop treated the ensuing complaints by the Vichy government over the expulsions in a "most dilatory fashion".[11] As a result, the Jews expelled in Operation Bürckel were interned in harsh conditions by the Vichy authorities at the camps in Gurs, Rivesaltes and Les Milles while awaiting a chance to return them to Germany.[11]

The Commissariat Général aux Questions juives ("Commissariat-General for Jewish Affairs"), created by the Vichy State in March 1941, managed the seizure of Jewish assets and organized anti-Jewish propaganda.[12] At the same time, the Germans began compiling registers of Jews in the occupied zone. The Second Statut des Juifs of 2 June 1941 systematized this registrations across the country and in Vichy-North Africa. Because the yellow star-of-David badge was not made compulsory in the unoccupied zone, these records would provide the basis for the future round-ups and deportations. In the occupied zone, a German order enforced the wearing of the yellow star for all Jews aged over 6 on 29 May 1942.[13]

In order to more closely control the Jewish community, on 29 November 1941, the Germans created the Union Générale des Israélites de France (UGIF) in which all Jewish charitable works were subsumed. The Germans were thus able to learn where the local Jews lived. Many of the leaders of the UGIF were also deported, such as René-Raoul Lambert and André Baur.[14]

Drancy camp

The arrests of Jews in France began from 1940 for individuals, and general round ups began in 1941. The first raid (rafle) took place on 14 May 1941. The Jews arrested, all men and foreigners, were interned in the first transit campas at Pithiviers and Beaune-la-Rolande in the Loiret (3,747 men). The second round-up, between 20–1 August 1941, led to the arrest of 4,232 French and foreign Jews who were taken to Drancy internment camp.[15]

Deportations began on 27 March 1942, when the first convoy left Paris for Auschwitz.[16] Women and children were also targeted, for instance during the Vel' d'Hiv Roundup on 16–17 July 1942, in which 13,000 Jews were arrested by the French police. In the occupied zone, the French police was effectively controlled by the German authorities. They carried out the measures ordered by the Germans against Jews, and in 1942, delivered non-French Jews from internment camps to the Germans.[17] They also contributed to the sending of tens of thousands from those camps to extermination camps in German occupied Poland, via Drancy.[18]

In the unoccupied zone, from August 1942, foreign Jews who had been deported to refugee camps in south-west France, in Gurs and elsewhere, were again arrested and deported to the occupied zone, from where they were sent to extermination camps in Germany and occupied Poland.[19]

From the invasion of the Zone libre to 1945

Bundesarchiv Bild 101I-027-1476-20A, Marseille, Gare d'Arenc. Deportation von Juden
French Jews being deported from Marseilles, 1943

In November 1942, the whole of France came under direct German control, apart from a small sector occupied by Italy. In the Italian zone, Jews were generally spared persecution, until the fall of the Fascist regime in Italy led to the establishment of the German-controlled Italian Social Republic in northern Italy in September 1943.

The German authorities took increasing charge of the persecution of Jews, while the Vichy authorities were forced towards a more sensitive approach by public opinion. However, the Milice, a French paramilitary force inspired by Nazi ideology, was heavily involved in rounding up Jews for deportation during this period. The frequency of German convoys increased. The last, from the camp at Drancy, left the Gare de Bobigny on 31 July 1944.[20]

In French Algeria, General Henri Giraud and later Charles de Gaulle, the French exile government restored (de jure) French citizenship to Jews on 20 October 1943.[21]


Of the approximately 330,000 Jews in metropolitan France in 1939, 75% survived the Holocaust, which is one of the highest survival rates in Europe.[3] France has the third highest number of citizens who were awarded the Righteous Among the Nations, an award given to "non-Jews who acted according to the most noble principles of humanity by risking their lives to save Jews during the Holocaust".[22] About 75,000 Jews were deported to Nazi concentration camps and death camps and 72,500 of them died.[2]

Government admission

For decades the French government declined to apologize for the role of French policemen in the roundup or for any other state complicity. It was argued that the French Republic had been dismantled when Philippe Pétain instituted a new French State during the war and that the Republic had been re-established when the war was over. It was not for the Republic, therefore, to apologise for events that happened while it had not existed and which had been carried out by a state which it did not recognise. For example, former President François Mitterrand had maintained this position. The claim was more recently reiterated by Marine Le Pen, leader of the National Front Party, during the 2017 election campaign.[23] [24]

On 16 July 1995, the President, Jacques Chirac, stated that it was time that France faced up to its past and he acknowledged the role that the state had played in the persecution of Jews and other victims of the German occupation.[23] Those responsible for the roundup, according to Chirac, were "4500 policemen and gendarmes, French, under the authority of their leaders [who] obeyed the demands of the Nazis." [25]

To mark the 70th anniversary of the roundup, President François Hollande gave a speech at a monument of the Vél d'Hiv roundup on 22 July 2012. The president recognized that this event was a crime committed "in France, by France," and emphasized that the deportations in which French police participated were offenses committed against French values, principles, and ideals. He continued his speech by remarking on French tolerance towards others.[26]

In July 2017, also in commemoration of the victims of the roundup at the Vélodrome d'Hiver, President Emmanuel Macron denounced his country's role in the Holocaust and the historical revisionism that denied France's responsibility for 1942 roundup and subsequent deportation of 13,000 Jews. "It was indeed France that organised this [roundup]", he said, French police collaborating with the Nazis. "Not a single German took part," he added. Neither Chirac nor Hollande had specifically stated that the Vichy government, in power during WW II, actually represented the French State.[27] Macron on the other hand, made it clear that the Government during the War was indeed the French State. "It is convenient to see the Vichy regime as born of nothingness, returned to nothingness. Yes, it's convenient, but it is false. We cannot build pride upon a lie."[28][29]

Macron did make a subtle reference to Chirac's 1995 apology when he added, "I say it again here. It was indeed France that organized the roundup, the deportation, and thus, for almost all, death."[30][31]

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b "Le Bilan de la Shoah en France [Le régime de Vichy]".
  3. ^ a b Yad Vashem [1]
  4. ^ a b "La persécution nazie".
  5. ^ Blumenkranz 1972, IV, 5, 1.
  6. ^ Philippe 1979, p. 227.
  7. ^ Ruth Ginio (2006). French Colonialism Unmasked: The Vichy Years in French West Africa. University of Nebraska Press. ISBN 080325380X.
  8. ^ « De la haine dans l'air », par Jérôme Gautheret et Thomas Wieder, Le Monde, 27 juillet 2010
  9. ^ "Pétain a durci le texte sur les Juifs, selon un document inédit". Le Point. 3 October 2010.
  10. ^ Yahil 1990, p. 173.
  11. ^ a b c d e f Krausnick 1968, p. 57.
  12. ^ See report by the Mission d'étude sur la spoliation des Juifs
  13. ^ Philippe 1979, p. 251.
  14. ^ Philippe 1979, chapter "La Guerre".
  15. ^ "Les rafles de 1941". Source : Claude Singer, Historien, enseigne à l'université de Paris I (DUEJ). Revue "Les Chemins de la Mémoire n° 119 - Juillet-Août 2002 pour Mindef/SGA/DMPA. Chemins de mémoire, site du Ministère de la Défense. Archived from the original on 2014-03-15.
  16. ^ Blumenkranz 1972, p. 404.
  17. ^ Tal Bruttmann, « Au bureau des affaires juives. L'administration française et l'application de la législation antisémite », La Découverte, 2006
  18. ^ Blumenkranz 1972, pp. 401-5.
  19. ^ René Souriac and Patrick Cabanel (1996). Histoire de France, 1750-1995: Monarchies et républiques. Presses Universitaires du Mirail. p. 215. ISBN 2-85816-274-3.
  20. ^ Bénédicte Prot. "Dernier convoi Drancy-Auschwitz". Archived from the original on 29 June 2013. Retrieved 16 September 2012.
  21. ^ Jacques Cantier, L'Algérie sous le régime de Vichy, Odile Jacob, 2002, page 383
  22. ^ Yad Vashem, About the Righteous, Statistics Accessed 20 September 2011.
  23. ^ a b SIMONS, MARLISE (July 17, 1995). "Chirac Affirms France's Guilt In Fate of Jews". The New York Times Company. Retrieved 2019-05-10.
  24. ^ McAuley, James (April 10, 2017). "Marine Le Pen: France 'not responsible' for deporting Jews during Holocaust". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2019-05-10.
  25. ^ "Allocution de M. Jacques CHIRAC Président de la République prononcée lors des cérémonies commémorant la grande rafle des 16 et 17 juillet 1942 (Paris)" (PDF). www.jacqueschirac-asso (in French). 16 July 1995. Retrieved 17 July 2014.
  26. ^ Willsher, Kim (July 22, 2012). "François Hollande sorry for wartime deportation of Jews". The Guardian. Retrieved 2019-05-10.
  27. ^ Carrier, Peter (2005). "Holocaust Monuments and National Memory Cultures in France and Germany Since 1989". Berghahn Books. Retrieved 2019-05-10., p=53
  28. ^ Associated Press (July 16, 2017). "'France organised this': Macron denounces state role in Holocaust atrocity". The Guardian. Retrieved 2019-05-10.
  29. ^ GOLDMAN, RUSSELL (July 17, 2017). "Macron Denounces Anti-Zionism as 'Reinvented Form of Anti-Semitism'". The New York Times Company. Retrieved 2019-05-10.
  30. ^ McAuley, James (July 16, 2017). "Macron hosts Netanyahu, condemns anti-Zionism as anti-Semitism". The Washington Retrieved 2019-05-10.
  31. ^ "Netanyahu in Paris to commemorate Vel d'Hiv deportation of Jews". BBC News Services. July 16, 2017. Retrieved 2019-05-10.


  • Berg, Roger (1947). Crimes ennemis en France (in French). vol. V - La Persécution raciale. Paris: Service d'information des crimes de guerre - Office français d'édition.
  • Blumenkranz, Bernhard (1972). Histoire des Juifs en France (in French). Toulouse: Éditeur. OCLC 417454239.
  • Cohen, Asher (1996). The Shoah in France. Jerusalem: Yad Vashem.
  • Kaspi, André (1991). Les Juifs pendant l'Occupation (in French). Paris: Seuil. ISBN 978-202013509-2.
  • Marrus, Michael; Paxton, Robert (1995). Vichy France and the Jews. Stanford University Press. ISBN 0-8047-2499-7.
  • Philippe, Beatrice (1979). Être juif dans la société française (in French). Montalba. ISBN 2-8587-0017-6.
  • Poliakov, Léon (1966). "France. The Fate of the French Jews". Algemeyne Entsiklopedye (in Yiddish). New York: Shulsinger Pubs. and Dubnov Fund & Entsiklopedye Komitet..
  • Poznanski, Renée (1997). Les Juifs en France pendant la Seconde Guerre mondiale (in French). Hachette. ISBN 978-2012352704.
  • Yahil, Leni (1990). The Holocaust: The Fate of European Jewry, 1932–1945. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0195045238.

Further reading

External links

Au revoir les enfants

Au revoir les enfants (French pronunciation: ​[o ʁə.vwaʁ le zɑ̃.fɑ̃], meaning "Goodbye, Children") is an autobiographical 1987 film written, produced and directed by Louis Malle. The film won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival.

Center of Contemporary Jewish Documentation

The Center for Contemporary Jewish Documentation is an independent French organization

founded by Isaac Schneersohn in Grenoble, France in 1943 during the Second World War to preserve the evidence of Nazi war crimes for future generations. After the Liberation, the center was moved to Paris in 1944 where it remains today.

The goal of the CDJC is to conduct research, publish documentation, pursue Nazi war criminals, seek restitution for victims of the Nazis, and to maintain a large archive of Holocaust materials, especially those concerning events affecting French Jewry. Part of the efforts of the CDJC include providing educational materials to students and teachers, guided museum visits and field trips, participation in international conferences, activities and commemorations, maintaining monuments and sites like the Mémorial de la Shoah and the monument at Drancy, and most importantly collecting and disseminating documentation about the Holocaust in their extensive archives.

Château de Chabannes

Château de Chabannes was an orphanage in the village of Chabannes (part of today's Saint-Pierre-de-Fursac) in Vichy France where about 400 Jewish refugee children were saved from the Holocaust by efforts of its director, Félix Chevrier and other teachers. It was operated by Œuvre de secours aux enfants (OSE) from 1940 to 1943.It is the subject of a 1999 documentary, The Children of Chabannes, by filmmakers Lisa Gossels (whose father and uncle were among the survivors) and Dean Wetherell.


The Devisenschutzkommando (Foreign Exchange Protection Commando), or DSK, was a Nazi special looting unit of handpicked SS soldiers which operated in Belgium, France and the Netherlands. The unit was established in 1940 and operated through the duration of World War II.

The DSK was nominally charged with overseeing all bank foreign exchange transactions in nations occupied by Nazi Germany, including monitoring bank deposits of currency, financial instruments, and precious metals. Quickly, however, the concept of 'foreign currency transactions' was broadly reinterpreted to mean anything of financial value. In practice, members of the DSK confiscated whatever they thought may be of worth.Actions by the DSK included inspections of individual safe deposit boxes in the presence of the box holder, a bank employee, and a Nazi officer. Banknotes, stocks and bonds, gold and silver bullion, precious stones, and art objects found in the possession of general citizens were inventoried and placed in accounts controlled by German authorities. Jewish assets confiscated under various decrees were transferred to a German registered banking agent or the Vermögensverwaltungs und Rentenanstalt (Property Administrations and Pension Institute). Property issues were handled by Verwalter (special administrators). Lists of box holders who were overlooked during initial inspections, or who refused to cooperate, were required to be delivered to German inspectors. The sole mission of the DSK was to search and locate assets, not administer them.Reports of violence and torture used in the process of locating and acquiring Jewish gold for the Nazis was widely reported. In France, the unit was led by Herbert Staffeldt and his deputy called Hartmann. The organization was supported by 'a small army' of low-level informers, tipsters, and collaborators known as Vertrauensmänner or "V-männer" (confidential agents). As the defeat of the German army by Allied forces became evident, actions taken by the DSK to confiscate anything of value to the Nazi state became brutal.

Drancy internment camp

The Drancy internment camp was an assembly and detention camp for confining Jews who were later deported to the extermination camps during the German military administration of Occupied France during World War II. It was located in Drancy, a northeastern suburb of Paris, France. Between 22 June 1942, and 31 July 1944, during its use as an internment camp, 67,400 French, Polish, and German Jews were deported from the camp in 64 rail transports, which included 6,000 children. Only 1,542 remained alive at the camp when Allied forces liberated it on 17 August 1944.Drancy was under the control of the French police until 1943 when administration was taken over by the SS, who placed officer Alois Brunner in charge of the camp. In 2001, Brunner's case was brought before a French court by Nazi hunter Serge Klarsfeld, which sentenced Brunner in absentia to a life sentence for crimes against humanity.

Eugene M. Kulischer

Eugene M. Kulischer (Russian: Евгений Михайлович Кулишер, 1881–1956) was a Russian American sociologist, an authority on demography, migration, and manpower, and an expert on Russia. Kulischer coined the phrase “displaced persons” and was among the first to seek to document the number of persons lost in the Holocaust as well as the subsequent relocation of millions of Europeans after World War II.

François Darlan

Jean Louis Xavier François Darlan (7 August 1881 – 24 December 1942) was a French admiral and political figure. He was admiral of the fleet and Chief of Staff of the French Navy in 1939 at the beginning of World War II. After France signed an armistice with Nazi Germany in 1940, Darlan served in the pro-German Vichy regime, becoming its deputy leader for a time. When the Allies invaded French North Africa in 1942, Darlan was the highest-ranking officer there, and a deal was made, giving him control of North African French forces in exchange for joining their side. Less than two months later he was assassinated.


Izieu is a commune in the Ain department in eastern France.

It lies on the Rhône River between the cities of Lyon and Chambéry.

Le Chambon-sur-Lignon

Le Chambon-sur-Lignon (French pronunciation: ​[lə ʃɑ̃bɔ̃ syʁ liɲɔ̃]; Auvergnat: Lo Chambon) is a commune in the Haute-Loire department in south-central France.

Residents have been primarily Huguenot or Protestant since the 17th century. During World War II these Huguenot residents made the commune a haven for Jewish people fleeing from the Nazis. They hid them both within the town and countryside, and helped them flee to neutral Switzerland. In 1990 the town was one of two collectively honored as the Righteous Among the Nations by Yad Vashem in Israel for saving Jews in Nazi-occupied Europe. The other awardee was the Dutch village of Nieuwlande.

Michel Thomas

Michel Thomas (born Moniek Kroskof, February 3, 1914 – January 8, 2005) was a polyglot linguist, and decorated war veteran. He survived imprisonment in several different Nazi concentration camps after serving in the Maquis of the French Resistance and worked with the U.S. Army Counter Intelligence Corps during World War II. After the war, Thomas emigrated to the United States, where he developed a language-teaching system known as the "Michel Thomas method". In 2004 he was awarded the Silver Star by the U.S. Army.

Monsieur Klein

Monsieur Klein (Mr. Klein) is a 1976 French film directed by Joseph Losey, with Alain Delon starring in the title role.

Operation Loyton

Operation Loyton was the codename given to a Special Air Service (SAS) mission in the Vosges department of France during the Second World War.

The mission, between 12 August and 9 October 1944, had the misfortune to be parachuted into the Vosges Mountains, at a time when the German Army was reinforcing the area, against General George Patton's Third Army. As a result, the Germans quickly became aware of their presence and conducted operations to destroy the SAS team.

With their supplies running out and under pressure from the German army, the SAS were ordered to form smaller groups to return to Allied lines. During the fighting and breakout operations 31 men were captured and later executed by the Germans.

Revolutionary Social Movement

The Revolutionary Social Movement (in French: Mouvement Social Révolutionnaire - MSR) was a Fascist movement founded in France in September 1940. Its founder was Eugène Deloncle, who was previously associated with La Cagoule (CSAR).

The MSR supported the return of Pierre Laval to the Vichy government of Petain, after he was removed from government in December 1940. They collaborated with the Rassemblement National Populaire (RNP), which was founded in January 1941 and of which the MSR became a faction.

A split in the RNP came after the Eastern Front opened up in July 1941 and the LVF was formed. Another frontman in the RNP was Marcel Déat, who had the confidence of Laval. When he found out Deloncle was plotting against him, he had him and his faction removed from the RNP. Deloncle also took many member of the RNP's paramilitary wing with him.

In October 1941, Deloncle plotted against seven Parisian synagogues with the help of a local SS officer, Hans Sommer, who provided the explosives for the attack.

Further splits in the MSR happened over the next year, as Deloncle became more occupied with the LVF. The other factions at that time coalesced around Jean Filliol, a former Cagoulard, and revolutionaries Georges Soulès and André Mahé. A coup against the Deloncle faction was completed on May 14, 1942, which left Deloncle without a political future. He was killed two years later in a shootout with the Gestapo, who suspected him of having obtained ties to the Allies. For a time in 1942 leadership passed to Jean Fontenoy.Filiol began plotting against Laval, whose government interned him in October 1942. The remaining Soulès faction of the MSR moved into an anti-German position, but disappeared at the end of the war.

Sarah's Key

Sarah's Key (French: Elle s'appelait Sarah) is a 2010 French drama directed and co-written by Gilles Paquet-Brenner and an adaptation of the novel with the same title by Tatiana de Rosnay.Sarah's Key follows a journalist's present-day investigation into the Vel' d'Hiv Roundup of Jews in German-occupied Paris in 1942. It tells the story of a young girl's experiences during and after these events, illustrating the participation of the French bureaucracy as well as French citizens hiding and protecting Sarah from the French authorities.The film alternates between Sarah's life in 1942 and the journalist researching the story in 2002.

Sons and Daughters of Jewish Deportees from France

The Sons and Daughters of Jewish Deportees from France (Fils et filles de déportés juifs de France (FFDJF)) is a French association of descendants of Jews deported from or displaced in France during the Nazi German occupation of France (1940–1944), during the Holocaust. Serge Klarsfeld—an academic historian specializing in the fate of Jews in France during World War II—founded the organization in 1979 and continues to serve as its president.

Timeline of deportations of French Jews to death camps

This is a timeline of deportations of French Jews to Nazi extermination camps in German-occupied Europe during World War II. The overall total of Jews deported from France is a minimum of 75,721.

Vel' d'Hiv Roundup

The Vel' d'Hiv Roundup (French: Rafle du Vélodrome d'Hiver, commonly called the Rafle du Vel' d'Hiv: "Vel' d'Hiv Police Roundup / Raid") was a Nazi-directed raid and mass arrest of Jews in Paris by the French police, code named Opération Vent printanier ("Operation Spring Breeze"), on 16 and 17 July 1942. The name "Vel' d'Hiv Roundup" is derived from the name of the Vélodrome d'Hiver ("Winter Velodrome"), a bicycle velodrome and stadium where a majority of the victims were temporarily confined. The roundup, assisted by French Police, was one of several aimed at eradicating the Jewish population in France, both in the occupied zone and in the free zone. According to records of the Préfecture de Police, 13,152 Jews were arrested, including more than 4,000 children. They were held at the Vélodrome d'Hiver in extremely crowded conditions, almost without food and water, and with no sanitary facilities, as well as at the Drancy, Pithiviers, and Beaune-la-Rolande internment camps, then shipped in rail cattle cars to Auschwitz for their mass murder.

French President Jacques Chirac apologized in 1995 for the complicit role that French policemen and civil servants served in the raid. In 2017, President Emmanuel Macron more specifically admitted the responsibility of the French State in the roundup and hence, in the Holocaust.

Vichy Holocaust collaboration timeline

Led first by Philippe Pétain, the Vichy regime that replaced the French Third Republic in 1940 chose the path of collaboration with the Nazi occupiers. This policy included the Bousquet-Oberg accords of July 1942 that formalized the collaboration of the French police with the German police. This collaboration was manifested in particular by anti-Semitic measures taken by the Vichy government, and by its active participation in the genocide.

The terms Zone libre (Free Zone), Vichy France, Vichy regime, southern zone, French State, and État français are all synonyms and refer to the state in the south of France governed from Vichy during World War II and headed by French World War I hero Marshal Philippe Pétain. The terms Zone occupée (Occupied Zone), Occupied France, and northern zone refer to the northern portion of France governed by the German military administration in Paris, taking orders from Berlin.

Vichy anti-Jewish legislation

Anti-Jewish laws were enacted by the Vichy France government in 1940 and 1941 affecting metropolitan France and its overseas territories during World War II. These laws were, in fact, decrees of head of state Marshal Philippe Pétain, since Parliament was no longer in office as of 11 July 1940. The motivation for the legislation was spontaneous and was not mandated by Germany. These laws were declared null and void on 9 August 1944 after liberation and on the restoration of republican legality.

The statutes were aimed at depriving Jews of the right to hold public office, designating them as a lower class, and depriving them of citizenship. Many Jews were subsequently rounded up at Drancy internment camp before being deported for extermination in Nazi concentration camps.

The Holocaust in France
Nazi occupation and organizations
Vichy France
Witness testimony
Righteous Among the Nations
The Holocaust in Europe
Sovereign states
States with limited
Dependencies and
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