Monday, April 26, 2010

Remembering the Vel d'Hiv in Paris, July 16, 1942



The Rafle du Vel’ d’Hiv is the name of the July 16, 1942 raid – Operation Spring Breeze (if you can belief that) – during the occupation of France by the Germans.

The round-up of ordinary French citizens, in Paris, was one of several aimed at reducing the Jewish population. The victims were sent to a concentration camp and then to Auschwitz.

The French police and the state militia organized raids to capture Jews and other “undesirables” in both the northern and southern zones.

In 1995 President Jacques Chirac ruled 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.


This is Francine Beirach.  She was four and a half years old when she was arrested during the Vel d'Hiv roundup with her parents, who were deported on August 5, 1942. However, there is no trace of Francine on the deportation lists where her name should have been. Perhaps she was one of those very young children, alone and in anguish and unable to state their identity when deported, who were murdered, and for whom all means of identification were lost.

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