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Tatiana de Rosnay "Sarah's Key" -- French reactions

A former member
Post #: 3
There is some discussion of the event at the center of the novel on the present (70th) anniversary. In the article reprinted below, the conservative newspaper Figaro reports on the official declaration by France's president. Especially relevant is the final evocative sentence of this article.

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[President] Fr. Holland declares that France is responsible for the Vel' d'hiv' round-up.

Today President Holland recognized France's historical responsibility in the police round-up of [French] Jews "le velodrome d'hiv'" [a crime] committed in Paris on July 16, 1942 by the French police to serve the [German] Nazi occupier.

The president thereby endorsed the first declaration in this sense, by [conservative President] Jacques Chirac in 1995 and, more importantly, broke with the ambiguity of [previous socialist President] Fr. Mitterand [who in the 1980s repeatedly refused the pleas of many, including his personal friend and Nobel-laureate Elie Wiesel, to acknowledge what happened.]

During the commemoration ceremony this morning the president declared "This crime was committed in France by France."

[snip]

"The acknowledgment of our guilt was made for the first time, clearly and courageously, by President J.Chirac on July 16, 1995," Holland reminded his audience. This crime "was also a crime against France, a betrayal of its values. The very values that the Resistance [French anti-Nazi underground fighters], Free France [French military forces (volunteer) fighting against Germany from outside of France, under the leadership notably of General de Gaulle], and the Just [those who risked their lives to save Jews] succeeded in embodying so honorably." He also deplored the fact that [French] youth do not know what the Vel' d'hiv' was. (my emphasis)


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From: Le Figaro.fr [publipostage@newsletters.lefigaro.fr]
Sent: Sunday, July 22, 2012 6:01 AM
To: Stan Levine
Subject: Figaro.fr - Alerte Info


ALERTE INFO > 11H10

François Hollande déclare la France responsable de la rafle du Vel' d'hiv'

François Hollande a reconnu aujourd'hui la responsabilité historique de la France dans la rafle de juifs "du vélodrome d'hiver" commise le 16 juillet 1942 à Paris par la police française au service de l'occupant nazi.

Le chef de l'Etat a ainsi confirmé la première déclaration en ce sens formulée en 1995 par Jacques Chirac, mais surtout brisé l'ambiguïté entretenue par François Mitterrand.

Le président a affirmé ce matin à l'occasion de la commémoration de cette rafle : "Ce crime a été commis en France par la France". Le texte de son discours avait été préalablement distribué à la presse et aux participants de la cérémonie.

"La reconnaissance de cette faute a été énoncée pour la première fois, avec lucidité et courage, par le président Jacques Chirac, le 16 juillet 1995", a souligné Hollande. Ce crime "fut aussi un crime contre la France, une trahison de ses valeurs. Ces mêmes valeurs que la Résistance, la France libre, les Justes surent incarner dans l'honneur", a ajouté le chef de l'Etat. Il a également dénoncé le fait que la jeunesse ignorait ce qu'était la rafle du vél' d'hiv.



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