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EUROPE > Hollande admits French role in death camp deportations

PARIS - Agence France-Presse

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France's President Francois Hollande (C) pays respects after laying a wreath during the commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the Vel d'Hiv roundup (Rafle du Vélodrome d'Hiver) on July 22, 2012 at the Jewish memorial in Paris. AFP Photo

France's President Francois Hollande (C) pays respects after laying a wreath during the commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the Vel d'Hiv roundup (Rafle du Vélodrome d'Hiver) on July 22, 2012 at the Jewish memorial in Paris. AFP Photo

French President Francois Hollande on Sunday acknowledged his country's culpability in rounding up thousands of Jews to be sent to Nazi death camps during World War II.
 
"This was a crime committed in France and by France," Hollande said at a ceremony to mark the July 1942 detentions of over 13,000 foreign Jews in Nazi-occupied Paris for deportation to Auschwitz and other camps.
 
Hollande reaffirmed France's responsibility saying "truth is hard and cruel," but it was something we "owe to the Jewish martyrs." French police and civil servants were complicit in the raids.
 
More than 8,000 of the victims, about half of them children, were held in Paris's Winter Velodrome for four days before being deported by rail to the death camps. The incident is known as the "Vel' d'Hiv Roundup" after the cycling track's nickname. The old velodrome near the Eiffel Tower was torn down in 1959.
 
Hollande pledged to fight anti-Semitism, and hailed former president Jacques Chirac's "lucidity and courage" for apologising in 1995 for the mass arrests during the war.
 
"The security of Jews in France is not a Jews but one that concerns all French people." French leaders from Charles De Gaulle onwards had previously taken the line that the country could not be held responsible as it was then under occupation.
 
The collaborationist Vichy government was nominally in charge in France at the time.

A total of 75,500 Jews were deported from France to Nazi death camps during the war.

July/22/2012

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Chris Green

7/23/2012 10:29:52 AM

The culpability of the French in these deportations is well known as is the collaborative Vicy government formed after the rapid surrender of France in 1940. But it is time for these long overdue acknowledgements to end. This 'Apology' culture such as Slavery, alleged genocides committed a century or more ago, are the stuff of modern day politicians pandering to voters. Would you have long dead Romans apologising to equally extinct Lions for being force-fed somewhat chewed up Christians? Enough!

Murat

7/22/2012 9:38:58 PM

Will denial send one to jail now? Maybe now they can address their crimes in Alegeria, committed not in imperial times, centuries ago, but in our life times. Then maybe he will have to address their horrible deeds in Indochine! I would also like him to repent and apologize for what Armenian Legion has done in SE Turkey, 1918-1920. Hopefully he will find some time to solve his country's problems too.

john albay

7/22/2012 9:32:40 PM

careful Mr french president the jews will now be asking you for money! If I were you I would not have said that as that is what the evil money grabbing zionist goverment wants you to say so it can sue you in New york in front of a jewish judge and a jewish lawyer and you will pay billions of Euros!@diren, why should Turkey take note we dont kill jews or deport them to a death camp,it is the murdering zionist jews in israel who kill Turks on the high seas so you take note!!!

Diren Sesel

7/22/2012 5:08:43 PM

Well done to the French president, Turkey should take a note on it !
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