Friday, 7 October 2011

Sarah's Key; A dark piece of French history

Sarah's Key

I am taking the time to go back in history to the 16th July, 1942 in Paris, France,  a very dark day in the history of the world and in particular France.

Tonight I am going to watch 'Sarah's Key' or 'Elle s'appelait Sarah'.  The film is based on the book by Tatiana de Rosnay, and was one of the most disturbing and emotional books I have read in quite some time.  

La rafle du Vél d' of the darkest days in the Nazi occupation of France and one that the French government kept quiet about for a very long time.

However, in July 1995 the then President Jacques Chirac recognized officially the role that the French played in the killing of thousands of innocent French citizens.

In the early hours of the morning on this day in July, four hundred and fifty French police rounded up around thirteen thousand Jewish women, children, and men (four and a half thousand of them were children), and sent them to an almost certain death (23 survived).

They were imprisoned in the Vél d'Hiv stadium in central Paris until such time as they were sent to camps outside of Paris (which previously existed for German prisoners of war), and from there they were put onto a direct train for Auschwitz.

Not to be ignored are the number of French who showed extreme bravery in terrifying times to help save a further 10, 000 Jewish men, women and children from the round up. 

I highly recommend this book as a reminder of the personal and human tragedy that is born from bigotry, ignorance and hatred.

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