70th anniversary of the Vel d’Hiv roundup (July 20, 2012)

On the occasion of the commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the Vel d’Hiv roundup, France remembers that on July 16 and 17, 1942, more than 13,000 Parisians were arrested merely because they were Jewish. During what was the largest roundup of Jews in occupied France, 8,152 people, including 3,000 children, were locked up for 4 days in the Vélodrome d’Hiver in Paris, under inhumane conditions, before being sent to the camps. Between 1942 and 1944 almost 12,000 Jewish children were deported from France, 2,000 of whom were less than 6 years old. Only 200 returned alive.

On July 22, 2012, the 70th anniversary of the Vel d’Hiv roundup will be commemorated in the presence of President Hollande. The minister of foreign affairs will be represented by Mr. Pascal Canfin, Minister Delegate for Development. He will be accompanied by Mr. François Zimeray, Ambassador for Human Rights and Ambassador responsible for the international dimension of the Holocaust, expropriations, the duty of remembrance and the fight against anti-Semitism.

While the direct witnesses of the Holocaust have, for the most part, already died, France believes that it bears the highest responsibility to keep its memory alive. By confronting the darkest chapters of its history, France intends to share with other nations the universal lessons on understanding totalitarian mechanisms and the prevention of atrocities.

France considers the duty of remembrance and the fight against anti-Semitism to be a key component of its foreign policy with respect to human rights. France has been a member of the International Task Force on Holocaust Remembrance (ITF) since 1999 and strives to mobilize its entire diplomatic, scientific and cultural network in order to promote human rights education and Holocaust remembrance efforts.