In France, like in all the Nazi occupied countries of Europe during the Second World War, the Jews were forced to wear the yellow star of David, and were eventually rounded up and taken to concentration camps.
Now, the French police have opened up their files telling of the French involvement in the rounding up and deportation of Jews in Paris in 1942. For decades after the war, the French authorities were reluctant to admit to any collaboration with the Nazis. Then in 1995, the then President Jacques Chirac publicly apologised for the part France played in the rounding up of Jews, “These dark hours soil our history forever and are an insult to our past and our traditions. Yes, the French and the French state seconded the occupying powers in their criminal folly,”
Although police had been rounding up Jews before 1942 in occupied Paris, there was a major crack down in July of that year, where men, women, children and the elderly were all rounded up in a massive raid on Jews in the city. Many of them were taken to the Velodrome d’Hiver, where they remained for 5 days with no sanitation or food. Then they were put on cattle trains for Auschwitz.
However, in the days leading up to the raids some French police leaked the Nazi plans, enabling many to escape. They had hoped to arrest 27,427, but “only” managed 13,152. Of these, more than 4,000 were children – none of them survived Auschwitz.
For more information see France 24