WW II Vel'd'Hiv

Vél’ d’hiv’


I am reading a book called Sarah's Key.It is fiction ,but based on factual events in  Paris  in July ,1942. The factual event is the round up of 13,000  Parisian Jews who were shipped to their deaths at German concentration camps.It was done in occupied France of course. But here is what is shocking, it was not done by the Germans, it was done by the FRENCH. A French government-Lavals' ,the French police , french trains on the French railway ,and they were placed in French camps around Paris while they waited for the trains and cattle cars to take them to Germany and their death. Guarded ,of course by French guards. It gets worse. The roundup was not limited to men or even adults. It included children,age 2 and up,who were also sent to their deaths in Germany. You may wonder what was done to the French leaders and officials that implemented this round up-after the war, by the post war French government? Well in short, nothing. None were tried  in any courts in France and none were sent to prison for their conduct.


I got so fascinated by the story that I went on line and started reading about the Vél’ d’hiv’ as it was called.(Named after a bicycle racing arena in Paris where the people were taken as they were pulled out of their homes in Paris on July 16-17,1942 by the French police)  I found a very complete,brutally factual account at


. It is 8 pages of horror committed by the French authorities on Parisian Jews of all ages. Conduct that went unpunished and not even acknowledged publicly until the mid 1970s' by the French Government.


I thought I knew a lot about WW II history ,but had no idea something like this was done by French officials to their own people. It gives me a whole new perspective on comments I hear from elected French officials who find it necessary to lecture America on our inhumanity to terrorist prisoners in our prisons.The book, and the link are well worth a read.