Commemorating the 75th anniversary of the deportation of French Jews
On this day, 75 years ago (1942), began the Vél d’Hiv roundup of Jews in Vichy France during the Holocaust.
Today, we remember, honor and pay our respects to the 13,000 Jews who were round up in the space of one week, including 4,000 children, most of whom were sent to their death in camps scattered throughout Europe. Only 800 would survive.
It is imperative to remember this was done not by the Nazis, but the French authorities, of their own volition, a dark chapter in the history of the French Republic, for which bravely, successive French leaders have taken full responsibility for.
Today, on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the deportation, the Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, travelled to Paris, where together with French President Emmanuel Macron, members of the French Jewish community and Survivors, paid respects to those who were murdered during the Vél d’Hiv round-up.
The Israeli-Jewish Congress (IJC) was especially honored that attending the special ceremony was IJC Advisory Board Member and Holocaust Survivor Noah Kliger (92), who was personally invited by Prime Minister Netanyahu. Mr. Kliger, who was born in Strasbourg, fought with the French Resistance and survived Auschwitz. Following the Holocaust, Mr. Kliger moved to Israel shortly before the establishment of the State, where he fought in the War of Independence and became a prominent journalist and educator.
In particular, The Israeli-Jewish Congress (IJC) wishes to acknowledge and commend President Macron for reaffirming France’s role in this great tragedy and the rounding-up of Jews during this period, saying:
There are those who say Vichy wasn’t France. It’s true that Vichy wasn’t all of France, but Vichy was the government of France and the French establishment It was responsible for deporting French Jews, and not the Germans. We have a responsibility to realize where and when we have failed.”
IJC further applauds President Macron’s historic statement, the first of its kind by a French President, connecting Antisemitism to its modern day reincarnation, Anti-Zionism, saying:
We will never surrender to the messages of hate; we will not surrender to anti-Zionism because it is a reinvention of anti-Semitism.”
We will continue to work closely together with our partners in the French Jewish community, as well as in Israel, to honor the memory of those who perished in the Holocaust and unwaveringly continue our joint fight against Antisemitism.