'These black hours will stain our history forever…'

  • August 3, 2010
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French President Jacques Chirac

Fifteen years ago, in July, 1995, French President Jacques Chirac gave a speech finally acknowledging the French role in the July 16, 1942 “Velodrome d’Hiver roundup.” Here are his words:

July 16 and 17, 1942, Paris, France

“These black hours will stain our history forever 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.”

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