Hunting Down the Jews of Paris
In May and June of 1940, the Germans occupied France. In September, the Jews of occupied France were made to identify themselves with the authorities, and a list of Jews was maintained by the French police force. In the spring and summer of 1941, thousands of foreign Jews were arrested in Paris and detained in the concentration camps surrounding Paris: Drancy, Pithiviers and Beaune-la-Rolande.
At dawn on July 16th, 1942, in accordance with Nazi orders, 4,500 French policemen carried out a mass round-up of foreign Jews in Paris. The Jews were arrested regardless of age, sex or physical condition. Some 13,000 Jews were crammed inside the Velodrome d’Hiver, where they were incarcerated virtually without water, food or sanitation facilities. After about a week, the Jews were taken from there to the concentration camps of Drancy, Pithiviers and Beaune la Rolande, and then deported to Auschwitz.
In the two months following this round-up, approximately 23,000 foreign Jews were arrested in Paris and the rest of occupied France. By August 1944, some 80,000 Jews had been deported in trains from France to Auschwitz. The majority of those who survived the hellish 2-day journey were murdered in the gas chambers. Out of all the Jews deported from France to death camps in the East, only some 2000 survived.
For further information about the Holocaust in Paris, click here.
For further information about the Holocaust in France, click here.
Yad Vashem Photo Archives 87AO1