August 10, 2011

Selective memory (part 2)

By contrast, I saw a poster in Nation Métro Station the other day advertising an event in memory of the 67th anniversary of the Liberation of Paris, in which the Parisian police, along with the Forces Françaises de l'Intérieur (FFI), engaged in armed skirmishes with the Nazi occupiers shortly before the arrival of General Leclerc's tanks. It is highly likely that many of the Parisian policemen involved in the 'Paris Insurrection' were also involved in the mass round-up of Jews during the Occupation. Yet it is their involvement in the Liberation, perhaps unsurprisingly, given France's long-standing subscription to the Gaullist myth of the Second World War (in which France had never given up the fight, and the Republic had never ceased to exist), which is celebrated each year, and not the memory of the Jews sent to their deaths in the Extermination Camps in the East.

Rafle Memorial

The Memorial to the victims of the Rafle du Vél d'Hiv, 7th Arrondissement. Image ©David Lees

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