©Shoah Memorial

A photographic document of inestimable value has just resurfaced with the announcement, by the Shoah Memorial, the acquisition of 98 previously unpublished images taken by the German occupiers during the roundup of May 14, 1941, in Paris. That day, more than 3 foreign Jews were arrested by the French police during an operation presented as a vast identity check.

Unlike the Vélodrome d'hiver, or Vel'd'Hiv, roundup (July 16-17, 1942), this arrest did not concern French Jews but foreign Jews. Aged 18 to 60, these refugees from Czechoslovakia, former Austria and especially Poland, were arrested in various places in the Paris region – including in Le Marais – and transported to the Japy gymnasium, in the 11th arrondissement before to be transported to the camps of Pithiviers and Beaune-la-Rolande (Loiret) then to be deported to the death camps. Most died in deportation.

The previously unpublished photos were taken by a German photographer. They trace the so-called “greenback” roundup hour by hour. This was the first major operation carried out against Jews in the occupied zone, sixteen months before that of Vél'd'Hiv.

Preserved at the Memorial documentation center, the photos have also been presented to the general public since May 14 in an open-air exhibition, in front of the Japy gymnasium, which is located on rue Japy (Charonne or Voltaire metro station), a 10-minute walk from the Swamp.

“Rather than a “raid”, it would be more appropriate to speak of a mousetrap, wanted by the occupier but tense and orchestrated from start to finish by the French police. Everything is there, in black and white, in these views of astonishing technical and even aesthetic quality, overwhelming evidence of the collaboration of the French State,” writes Le Monde in a recent article.

“Jewish census lists had been established as early as October 1940,” the newspaper continues, “when Pétain signed the first anti-Semitic measures. Based on these files, the Parisian police stations sent a brief summons to the addresses of 6494 foreign Jews, written on green paper which gave the operation its nickname.

The Shoah Memorial is the largest archive center in Europe on the history of the Shoah. A place of memory, it is also an educational and transmission center on the history of the genocide of the Jews during the Second World War in Europe.

Better knowledge of the history of the Shoah also aims to fight against the return of hatred and against all forms of intolerance today. Thus, the Memorial has been working for more than ten years to teach about other genocides of the XNUMXth century such as the genocide of the Tutsis in Rwanda or the Armenian genocide.

Greenback raid: discovery of 98 previously unpublished photos
Shoah Memorial
17, rue Geoffroy l'Asnier, 75004 Paris

Free event, live on website, Facebook, and Youtube.
Thursday May 20, 2021, 19:30 p.m.

This meeting is live from the Shoah Memorial auditorium, without an audience.

Text: Katia Barillot
Photos: ©Shoah Memorial

 20.05.21

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