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July 12, 2022 4:00 pm

Portraits of Holocaust Survivors Displayed at Paris’ Jardin du Luxembourg on Anniversary of Mass Jewish Roundup

avatar by Shiryn Ghermezian

The Luxembourg Garden in Paris. Photo: Dmitry Dzhus via Wikimedia Commons.

The gates of Paris’ famed Jardin du Luxembourg (Luxembourg Garden) are displaying 42 photographs of French Holocaust survivors to mark the 80th anniversary of a mass roundup of Jews that took place in the French capital during the Holocaust.

The photo exhibit — called “Lest We Forget – N’oublions pas,” and organized by the Representative Council of Jewish Institutions in France (Crif) and the French Senate — features portraits by German-Italian artist Luigi Toscano.

The portraits on display feature former concentration and extermination camp deportees, those who successfully hid as children during the Holocaust and children of deportees. Each photo bears a corresponding QR code that visitors can scan to learn more about the survivors and their wartime experiences. The portraits will remain on the gates of the gardens until Aug. 7.

The Vel d’Hiv roundup in Paris from July 16-17, 1942, was organized by French authorities and carried out by French policemen, according to Yad Vashem.

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Police conducted mass arrests of Jews living in France, including Jewish foreigners originally from Germany, Austria, Poland, the Czech Republic and Russia. Over 13,000 Jews were detained at the Vel’ d’Hiv (the Winter Stadium, also known as Velodrome d’Hiver), including more than 4,000 children, before being deported to concentration camps in France. Most of the deportees, as well as the children, were then sent to the Auschwitz extermination camp and murdered.

Roughly 1,000 Jews were deported to Auschwitz every two or three days in the following two months after the Vel’ d’Hiv roundups. By the end of September 1942, almost 38,000 Jews were deported to Auschwitz from France, Yad Vashem noted.

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