Vel D’Hiv Roundup of Paris Jews Remembered, 78 Years Later
French political leaders, Holocaust memorials and museums and Jewish organizations marked on Thursday the anniversary of the 1942 Vel D’Hiv roundup, in which over 13,000 Jews were arrested in Paris by French authorities and deported to Nazi death camps.
According to Yad Vashem, 4,500 French policemen took part in the operation, imprisoning some 13,000 Jews — including 4,000 children — in the Velodrome d’Hiver stadium in crowded and unsanitary conditions. They were then taken to concentration camps near Paris.
At the camps, children were separated from their parents, who were mostly sent to Auschwitz and murdered. Some 3,000 children were left behind, and in September were deported to Auschwitz as well, where they were killed.
For decades, the French government and much of the public blamed the roundup on the Germans and denied any responsibility. In 1995, however, French President Jacques Chirac publicly apologized for the roundup, and in 2017 current President Emmanuel Macron admitted French responsibility for it.
To commemorate the anniversary on Thursday, Macron tweeted, “On July 16 and 17, 1942, over thirteen thousand Jews were arrested. By French people, by the French State. Because they were Jews.”
“Over eight thousand were detained at Vel d’Hiv before being deported to Auschwitz,” he noted. “Never forget.”
Les 16 et 17 juillet 1942, plus de treize-mille Juifs furent arrêtés. Par des Français, par l'État français. Parce qu’ils étaient Juifs. Plus de huit-mille furent détenus au Vel d’Hiv avant d’être déportés à Auschwitz. N’oublions jamais.
— Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) July 16, 2020
The UK Holocaust Museum tweeted some of the facts about the roundup, noting, “Many ordinary citizens openly welcomed the persecution, with some people clapping as the raids took place, as well as some looting of the newly empty homes.”
“The Jewish people were interned at the velodrome for 5 days under appalling conditions,” it added. “There were no toilets or washing facilities. The roof was shut and the heat was oppressive. Some people were driven to take their own lives and many were shot by those guarding them.”
#OTD 1942 the Vel' d'Hiv' roundup started. 13,152 Jewish men, women and children were detained. Most of the captives in Paris were taken to the Velodrome d’Hiver. 1/5
— UK Holocaust Memorial (@UKHMF) July 16, 2020
The occasion was also marked by the European Jewish Congress, the World Jewish Congress and the Auschwitz Memorial and Museum.
In 1942, French police arrested 13152 Jews, who were sent to internment camps and then to Auschwitz to be exterminated. Following President Chirac's 1995 apology, President Macron recognised in 2017 the responsibility of the French State in the roundup. #neverforget #veldhiv pic.twitter.com/9KT4OLgWwS
— European Jewish Congress (@eurojewcong) July 16, 2020
On July 16-17, 1942, the Jews of Paris were rounded up. For days they were held in the Vélodrome d’Hiver, a sports arena, before being deported. It was the largest deportation of Jews from France during the #Holocaust. Many were sent to Auschwitz. @AuschwitzMuseum pic.twitter.com/wG7kMW6I2b
— WJC (@WorldJewishCong) July 16, 2020
16-17 July 1942 | "Vel' d'Hiv Roundup", mass arrest of Jews in #Paris by the French police supervised by the Germans. 13,152 Jews were arrested (incl. ca. 4000 children). Most of them later – through #Drancy, #Pithiviers, and Beaune-la-Rolande – were deported to #Auschwitz. pic.twitter.com/NF3fL30eHF
— Auschwitz Memorial (@AuschwitzMuseum) July 16, 2020