asked to prepare a new edition.
But there can be no new edition without use of all the documentation still in
the hands of the Veterans Affairs Ministry and the French National Archives.
Several years ago, the Ministry began to computerize the data it holds on each
deportee. When this program is complete, it doubtless will be able to publish a
work based on the many sources thus brought together. |
After the 1993
publication of the Calendrier de la Persécution des Juifs de
France, a detailed account of these events by date, I determined to attempt
a new reference work in the domain of memory and feeling. In my eyes and in the
eyes of many others, crimes against humanity are above all the crimes committed
against innocents, those who threaten no one. For some time, I had felt the
need to develop a full memorial book to the Jewish children deported from
France. Les Enfants d'Izieu (1983), published in English by Harry N.
Abrams in 1984 as The Children of Izieu: A Human Tragedy, was the first
work I devoted specifically to children. It was created in the memory of the 44
children so cruelly taken in April 1944 from the group home in eastern France
where they had been sent for protection, and deported to Auschwitz. And it was
in their memory that, beginning in 1971, we were driven on the long campaign to
find and expose the man responsible, Klaus Barbie, in Bolivia and bring him to
justice in France. In the same way, it was the memory of the 250 children
seized in the summer of 1944 from children's centers in the Paris area, run by
the UGIF, that drove us to begin a campaign to have Aloïs Brunner
extradited from Syria and tried.
I wanted to create a children's book
that would make an original contribution to the literature on the Holocaust. I
believe this has now been done by bringing together the children's
names, with precise personal information; places, their addresses
at the moment they were arrested; and faces as many photos as
possible of the deported children. We have been able to identify in this book
the faces of more than 2,500 of these children.
This memorial to the
children comes from the heart and from my experiences documenting their lives,
as well as my personal relationships with survivors from the families that lost
children. I would have wanted a book of 11,000 pages, of 11,000 faces; but this
work as it exists is the culmination of more than 20 years of militant
engagement. For this work to exist, it was necessary to experience what I have
since my childhood and to do what I have done. And I publish this book hoping
it will strike a blow against anti-Semitism, racism, and xenophobia.
Paris, June 1996
Families and friends of young deportees from
France those who were under 18 years of age at the time of deportation
and are not included in this volume are urged to send their photographs
so that we can publish these precious documents.