FRENCH CHILDREN OF THE HOLOCAUST

A memorial
Serge Klarsfeld  

 
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[inde…] scribable sadness felt by our churches at the news of the decisions taken by the French government against foreign Jews ... and the ways in which they have been carried out." His letter declares: "The truth is that men and women who have found refuge in France for political or religious reasons, many of whom know in advance the terrible fate that awaits them, have just been delivered to Germany."

(Later it becomes known that during the summer of 1942 many hundreds of Jews are given refuge in Le Chambon-sur-Lignon, a town in the Haute-Loire, under the courageous protection offered by Pastor André Trocmé and a local population with strong Protestant convictions. The number of Jewish refugees protected in the area would grow into the thousands.)

August 23, 1942. In a pastoral letter read in most churches in his diocese, Monseigneur Jules Saliège, the archbishop of Toulouse, accuses Vichy's leaders of treating the Jews in a vile manner. He calls on Vichy to refuse to carry out the measures wanted by the Germans. "France, chivalrous and generous, I do not doubt you are not responsible for these errors," he declares. Saliège's letter is considered to be the first public protest by a French Catholic prelate against the persecution of the Jews.

August 25, 1942. The fourth children's convoy from the Loiret camps arrives at Drancy. It carries 422 Jews from the Pithiviers camp, 84 of them children, and 365 from Beaune-la-Rolande, 199 of them children. In the Beaune camp there remain only 99 prisoners, 39 of them children who are hospitalized.

August 26, 1942. The planned roundup of Jews in the Unoccupied Zone begins in the early hours throughout the zone. Arrests are heavy, but they fall short of the numbers sought. A summary of the arrests prepared August 28 by the National Police asserts that 52 percent of the Jews hunted have been caught in the net. Bousquet informs the Gestapo chief in Vichy that 6,584 of the 12,000 sought have been arrested and the raids will continue.

Some of the results noted in the police report: in the Nice area, only 655 of the 2,800 Jews sought have been arrested, but in other regions results are more positive – in the Limoges region, 916 out of 1,300; in the Marseilles area, 706 of 1,170; in Lyons, 1,016 of 2,000; in Montpellier, 1,230 of 2,157; in Clermont-Ferrand, 225 of 481; in Toulouse, 1,679 of 3,300. In the Alpes-Maritimes, 610 are seized; in Indre-et-Loire, 475; and in the Bouches-du-Rhone, 440.

In the Occupied Zone, convoy 24 is dispatched to Auschwitz from the Le Bourget Drancy station. It carries 1,002 Jews, 416 of them children under 18 years of age. An eye witness reports that the convoy is assembled "under frightful conditions." On German orders, "they have mixed the children with old people, helpless cripples and sick people with fevers." On the convoy's arrival at Auschwitz, 967 deportees, including all of the young and old, are immediately gassed. Of the 27 men and 36 women selected for work, 24 men survived the war.

August 27, 1942. A convoy of 444 Jews leaves Bordeaux for Drancy; half male, half female, it carries 57 children and about 140 adults who are French citizens. Its passengers include Jews who were interned in the Gironde Department and whose transfer to Drancy has been requested by the German security police of Bordeaux.

Maurice Papon, the secretary general of the Prefecture in Bordeaux and its official re […sponsible]
    
   

FRENCH CHILDREN OF THE HOLOCAUST

A memorial
Serge Klarsfeld

 
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