Literature of the Holocaust
maintained by Al Filreis

Role played by French civil servants and police in helping Nazis persecute Jews

Date: Tue, 15 Oct 1996 10:01:42 PDT

PARIS (Reuter) - France said Tuesday that it would put on show a register branded the ``index of shame'' which documents the role played by French civil servants and police in helping Nazis persecute Jews.

A team of historians found after a four-year investigation that the catalog, whose existence was long denied by authorities, detailed the enthusiasm with which members of France's wartime pro-Nazi Vichy regime aided Hitler's Final Solution.

Prime Minister Alain Juppe said in a statement that after consulting French-Jewish associations he had decided that the files would be displayed as national archives at the Center of Jewish contemporary documentation.

``This site will be conceived as a place of meditation where the public will be able to see these archives through a glass panel,'' the statement said.

Before they go on display the files will be put on microfilm and made available to researchers. Survivors or relatives of deported Jews will have the right to consult the actual files concerning them.

The team of historians, appointed by then-prime minister Edouard Balladur in 1993 and headed by Rene Remond, concluded that government representatives drew up new lists to track the movements of Jews even after the Allies' D-Day landing in Normandy in June 1944.

During the war 76,000 Jews, a quarter of all those living in France, were deported to Nazi death camps. There were large-scale purges of pro-Nazi collaborators after the war but they did not focus on the Holocaust.

Remond, presenting his findings in July, said the card indexes and census documents drawn up by French officials and police from 1940 onwards had ``plunged us into Vichy, a regime of repression and complicity with the Nazis.''

In July 1995, President Jacques Chirac became the first post-war French leader to recognize that the state shared responsibility for deporting Jews.

``Yes, the criminal folly of the occupier was assisted by French people, by the French state,'' he said.

His statement contrasted with the insistence of his predecessor the late Francois Mitterrand, himself a former Vichy official, that the republic could not be held to account for Vichy's crimes and owed the Jews no apology.

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