"Holocaust Memorial" - Paris, France

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    Though commonly referred to as a Holocaust memorial, this is officially called the "Deportation Memorial," euphemistically dedicated to "French citizens" deported by the Nazis during World War II. The monument makes scant reference to Jews, who made up the vast majority of French citizens who were deported and never returned. (See Vichy France and the Jews for a discussion of France's shameful involvement in the Holocaust.) Located at the tip of the Ile de la Cite.

    amy allcock, brownhat, edwindejongh, and 13 other people added this photo to their favorites.

    1. extraspecial 87 months ago | reply

      Wow, how did I miss this?!

    2. edwindejongh 86 months ago | reply

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    3. vvt 86 months ago | reply

      A good shot, shame that this is here to take shots of.

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    4. doctorbob 75 months ago | reply

      I think you might be somewhat unfair to the French. France, unlike most Western states is a centralised command economy with much power resting in the presidency and a great deal of emphasis placed in the media, education and so on - on all being equal. The concept of celebrating diversity which is a leitmotif of the US is alien. Thus to identify one group as special - be they gay or Jewish - is to suggest (quelle horreur) that one group is less French than another. All are French from the Polynesian islands to the Champagne region - which most French people see as the ultimate accolade. In fact in modern Europe there is much offence taken by gay groups where Jewish ones have insisted that neither they nor the Romanies may be recognised on the memorials of the time. There seem to be a lot of ghettoes of the mind. I found the small wall of the Just in the Marais a far more moving moment. Part of that reluctance to see the Jews as non-French is one of the main reasons so many bloody minded French gave comfort and shelter to Jewish men, women and children during the war.

    5. Airships 75 months ago | reply

      Actually, if the French during WWII had viewed Jews as being just as French as anyone else -- as the Italians viewed the Jews in Italy -- they would not have been so anxious to perpetrate anti-semitic persecution, including deportation, even before they were asked to do so by the Nazis. The genuine enthusiasm for anti-semitism on the part of authorities in both occupied France as well as Petain's Vichy was appalling. It is true that the French made a significant distinction between Jews who were French citizens and Jews who were refugees, and that the earliest persecution was directed primarily, against refugees, but in the end, French exclusionist sentiments applied to all Jews, and French citizenship was no protection. The Italians, in contrast, largely refused to cooperate with Nazi anti-semitism, and Jews in Italy were therefore relatively protected until the German invasion.

      Your comments about the French attitude toward diversity are correct, but they are more aptly applied to the present day, for example, the conditions leading to and following the riots of 2005, than they are to the early 1940's and before.

      I should perhaps make clear that I actually have a deep affection for France and the French; I have spent much time there throughout my childhood and adult life. Indeed my very best friends live in the 15ème in Paris and I am with them often. So my comments reflect not hostility, so much as sadness, and, of course, simple historical accuracy.

    6. reconstructed.org 58 months ago | reply

      a rare and insightful discussion! (so much of what i see in flickr comments is "awesome photo man!" i usually don't bother scrolling down to the comments) however i have a question : am i correct in thinking that this image shows where the monument is now?

    7. Airships 58 months ago | reply

      @ toycamera:

      Yes, exactly; it is at the very tip of the Île de la Cité.

    8. mrblanche 56 months ago | reply

      What you are looking at is some 200,000 button lights, one for each deportee. It certainly puts the event into a stark image. However, the monument is not easy to find, unless you're looking for it.

      France has a long and unfortunate history of anti-semitism, so neglecting to mention that this monument is largely talking about Jews is not too surprising. However, only the Vichy government actively participated in the deportation of Jews, gypsies, and various other minority groups such as homosexuals.

      Of all the countries invaded by the Nazis, only Denmark managed to save virtually all of its Jews, largely with a civil disobedience program which included the resignation of the entire governement in 1943. Very few of Denmark's Jews were deported (only a few hundred), and most of them survived the war.

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