FRENCH CHILDREN OF THE HOLOCAUST

A memorial
Serge Klarsfeld  

 
Previous Page Back  Contents  Contents Page 107 Home Page Home Page  Forward Next Page 
     

RESEARCH AND
DOCUMENTATION:
RECONSTRUCTING THE
CONVOY LISTS

The main resource for this children's memorial book is the information published in Le Mémorial de la Déportation des Juifs de France (1978). The children's names and birth dates and places have been brought together from the 1978 Mémorial, with their addresses at the moment they were arrested. But the text of this book – and most particularly the convoy deportation lists – rests on years of careful study of a mass of documentation from many sources, some of it gathered with great difficulty. The lists were not simply copied from an existing source.

The challenge of the 1978 Mémorial was to recapture as closely as possible precise information on each of the more than 76,700 Jewish deportees from France, both adults and children. Our goal was to fill in as many blanks as possible about dates and places of birth, to establish the deportees' last known addresses – usually the places where they were arrested – and the assembly centers where they were sent before deportation. The starting point of that research was the lists of deportees' names made at the time the convoys were assembled.

Seventy-five major convoys deported Jews from France to the East between March 27, 1942, and August 22, 1944, most going directly to Auschwitz. Sixty-three of the transports left from Drancy, on the outskirts of Paris. Eight left from Pithiviers and Beaune-la-Rolande, the camps in the Loiret Department; one each from Compiègne, Lyons, and Angers; and a last small convoy from Clermont-Ferrand.

The Drancy secretariat, composed of Jewish internees temporarily exempt from deportation, furnished commanders of the convoy escorts with three copies of the final deportation list, and these went with the train. The secretariat kept at least two copies of each list, the better of the two for use by the Drancy camp's administration and the other for the Jewish Affairs Department of the Gestapo in Paris.

After the Liberation, one set of original carbon copies for 69 of the convoy lists came into the possession of the Centre de Documentation Juive Contemporaine (CDJC; the Contemporary Jewish Documentation Center). The CDJC had been created by the Jewish community in 1943 in Grenoble to document as well as possible the persecution of the Jews. In August 1944, when Paris was liberated, the Ministry of Veterans and War Victims was given what are believed to be the Drancy secretariat convoy lists (examples:
 
 
   
   

FRENCH CHILDREN OF THE HOLOCAUST

A memorial
Serge Klarsfeld

 
Previous Page  Back Page 107 Forward  Next Page