I did not know about the Vel’ d’Hiv Roundup in Paris, 1942. Many French people were likewise in the dark.
Bless Tatiana de Rosnay for her compelling novel, Sarah’s Key. She says:
I was . . . appalled by what I discovered concerning the Vel’ d’ Hiv’ Roundup, especially about what happened to those 4,000 Jewish children, and I knew I had to write about it. I needed to write about it. . . . writing Sarah’s Key took me to Drancy and Beaune La Rolande, places around Paris which have a dreaded past that cannot be forgotten despite time going by.
The novel was recommended to me (thanks, Ev).
I hope I do not see everything through the lens of Lockheed Martin Corporation, the Censuses and the Charter Right to Privacy of Personal Information. For 13 years (2003 – 2016) I have hammered on the fragility of democracy, the reason we need to defend to the death, the Charter Right. Citizens cross over from civility and thoughtfulness for others to barbarity, some in short order.
Tatiana de Rosnay says (Author’s Note at the beginning of Sarah’s Key):
. . . It (the novel) is my tribute to the children of the Vel’ d’Hiv’. The children who never came back. And the ones who survived to tell.
The removal and extermination of those children was made possible by detailed census files. The appalling treatment of them was done by otherwise ordinary people. From their blood came the Charter Right to Privacy of Personal Information that we have today in Canada.
Does the Charter Right just wither and slither out through our fingers? why? because we are slovenly and ignorant? . . .
Can’t we understand: the depravity of the perpetrators and collaborators sixty years ago has not changed (how about Lockheed Martin, number one Contract Interrogator at American offshore prisons?). The detailed files on citizens are being constructed (Lockheed Martin in charge of the “steerage”, Lockheed Martin with its specialty in Surveillance).
The lives of those 4,000 children, their mothers and fathers, were worth something, surely. But only if we are willing to act on behalf of the legacy of those children.
EXCERPT from the letter to PRIVACY INTERNATIONAL at bottom of Official correspondence reveals lack of scrutiny of MI5’s data collection
There is a connection not mentioned in the article. You may know it, but just in case you don’t!
The issue of surveillance enabled by collection of personal data through censuses and continuously on-going surveys is
additional to what is happening through “Security” forces and legislation regarding police powers.
The involvement of Lockheed Martin Corp in the data base at the UK Office for National Statistics is a vehicle for loss of Privacy of personal information (surveillance), if the UK situation is similar to the Canadian.
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Sarah’s Key (2006) by
Paris, July 1942: Sarah, a ten year-old girl, is brutally arrested with her family by the French police in the Vel’ d’Hiv’ roundup, but not before she locks her younger brother in a cupboard in the family’s apartment, thinking that she will be back within a few hours.
Paris, May 2002: On Vel’ d’Hiv’s 60th anniversary, journalist Julia Jarmond is asked to write an article about this black day in France’s past. Through her contemporary investigation, she stumbles onto a trail of long-hidden family secrets that connect her to Sarah. Julia finds herself compelled to retrace the girl’s ordeal, from that terrible term in the Vel d’Hiv’, to the camps, and beyond. As she probes into Sarah’s past, she begins to question her own place in France, and to reevaluate her marriage and her life.
Tatiana de Rosnay offers us a brilliantly subtle, compelling portrait of France under occupation and reveals the taboos and silence that surround this painful episode.
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The Vel’ d’Hiv Roundup
With help from Wikipedia
The Vélodrome d’Hiver (Winter Velodrome), colloquially Vel’ d’Hiv, was an indoor bicycle racing cycle track and stadium (velodrome) on rue Nélaton, not far from the Eiffel Tower in Paris. As well as a cycling track, it was used for ice hockey, wrestling, boxing, roller-skating, circuses, bullfighting, spectaculars, and demonstrations. It was the first permanent indoor track in France and the name persisted for other indoor tracks built subsequently.
In July 1942, French police, acting under orders from the German authorities in Occupied Paris, used the velodrome to hold thousands of Jews and others who were victims in a mass arrest. The Jews were held at the velodrome before they were moved to a concentration camp in the Parisian suburbs at Drancy, then to the extermination camp at Auschwitz. The incident became known as the “Vel’ d’Hiv Roundup” (Rafle du Vel’ d’Hiv).
The Vel’ d’Hiv Roundup
(French: Rafle du Vélodrome d’Hiver, commonly called the Rafle du Vel’ d’Hiv: “Vel’ d’Hiv Police Roundup / Raid”), was a Nazi directed raid and mass arrest of Jews in Paris by the French police, code named Opération Vent printanier (“Operation Spring Breeze”), on 16 and 17 July 1942. The name “Vel’ d’Hiv Roundup” is derived from the nickname of the Vélodrome d’Hiver (“Winter Velodrome”), a bicycle velodrome and stadium where a majority of the victims were temporarily confined. The roundup was one of several aimed at eradicating the Jewish population in France, both in the occupied zone and in the free zone. According to records of the Préfecture de Police, 13,152 (13 thousand) Jews were arrested, including more than 4,000 children. They were held at the Vélodrome d’Hiver in extremely crowded conditions, almost without water, food and no sanitary facilities, as well as at the Drancy, Pithiviers, and Beaune-la-Rolande internment camps, then shipped in rail cattle cars to Auschwitz for their mass murder. French President Jacques Chirac apologized in 1995 for the complicit role that French policemen and civil servants served in the raid.
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Excerpts from “A Conversation with Tatiana de Rosnay” (at the end of the book)
How much did you know before you started writing?
… I didn’t know much about what exactly happened. I was not taught about this event at school during the ’70s. And it still seemed to be shrouded by some kind of taboo. …
And what did you learn?
… I was moved, appalled by what I discovered concerning the Vel’ d’ Hiv’ Roundup, especially about what happened to those 4,000 Jewish children, and I knew I had to write about it. I needed to write about it. . . .
. . . Writing Sarah’s Key took me to Drancy and Beaune La Rolande, places around Paris which have a dreaded past that cannot be forgotten despite time going by. My visits there were poignant and memorable. . . .
. . . Early on the morning of July 16, 1942, the French police, acting under orders from the German Gestapo, wrenched over thirteen thousand Jewish men, women, and children from their beds, Most of the adults were sent directly th the camp at Drancy, while parents with children went to the Ved’ d’ Hiv’. And it didn’t stop then. For the next two days the French police canvassed the city with buses, picking up Jews and taking them to the stadium.
Conditions inside the Vel’ d’Hiv’ were horrendous: it was not, there were no toilet facilities, and there was little food and no place to sleep. For six days amidst mounting panic, the horrified prisoners endured physical indignity while the French police stood by.
… Each year now a ceremony commemorates the shameful incident. It was here, in 1995, that President Hacques Chirac, who had just been elected to office, officially acknowledged France’s complicity in the murder and deportation of the Jews of Europe.
Excerpt: President Jacques Chirac’s 1995 Address
“These black hours will stain our history for ever and are an injury to our past and our traditions. Yes, the criminal madness of the occupant was supported by the French, by the French state. Fifty-three years ago, on 16 July 1942, 450 policemen and gendarmes, French, under the authority of their leaders, obeyed the demands of the Nazis. That day, in the capital and the Paris region, nearly 10,000 Jewish men, women and children were arrested at home, in the early hours of the morning, and assembled at police stations . . . France, home of the Enlightenment and the Rights of Man, land of welcome and asylum, France committed that day the irreparable. Breaking its word, it delivered those it protected to their executioners.”