Maurice Papon, eighty-six years of age, stands accused of having, between July 1942 and May 1944 -- a period during which he was general secretary of the Gironde Préfecture ("governorship" of the Bordeaux département), -- participated in the sending away of 1,560 persons of Jewish origin, until then interned in the camp at Mérignac, to Drancy, whence they were to be deported to Auschwitz. He is due to appear as of 8 October 1997 before the assizes of the Gironde on charges of complicity in murder and in unlawful arrest and imprisonment, these offences having taken on the character of "crimes against humanity", in all clarity, and de facto , that of crimes against the Jews.
Barrister Yves Jouffa, aged seventy-seven, is the subject of a long note in Emmanuel Ratier's Encyclopédie politique française (vol. I, Faits & Documents, 1992, p. 363). According to this note, Y. Jouffa, chief of the Young Socialists in 1939, was interned at Drancy for over a year (from 20 August 1941 to September 1942). Released by the French authorities, he was not deported, having joined the General Union of French Jews (UGIF), of which his father was treasurer, to work in an aircraft factory in the Belleville district of Paris. He is Honorary President of the Association of Former Deportees and Internees of Drancy. From 1984 to 1991 he was president of the French League of Human Rights. He has pleaded in legal proceedings against revisionist authors. In particular, he has solicited judgement against me.
On 28 January 1997, on French television (TF 1), reporter Paul Amar showed, during his magazine programme "Le Monde de Léa", an interview with M. Papon in which the latter, at one point, recalled that at the Drancy camp an important Jewish personality participated in the "sorting" of Jews bound for Auschwitz. This remark was to provoke the wrath of Daniel Schneidermann, a Le Monde journalist and director, at the television station La Cinq, of the programme "Arrêt sur image" (Still Photo) (Le Monde, 2/3 February, p. 39; La Cinq, 2 February, 12.30 - 1.30 PM).
At first I believed that M. Papon was alluding to Robert Blum, who signed his notes (including those relating to the preparation of deportation convoys): "Lieutenant-Colonel Blum, Commandant of Drancy Camp" (Maurice Rajsfus, Drancy , Manya, 1991, pp. 234-275 ; see my article: "Le milliard des juifs... ou du Maréchal Pétain ?", Rivarol , 7 February 1997, pp. 6-7).
In reality, the allusion concerned Barrister Y. Jouffa. Did this man know that he was sending his co-religionists to what, since the war, has been referred to in the media as an "extermination camp"? And if he did not know it, who could have known it?
Was Y. Jouffa released from Drancy in September 1942? For what reason and on what conditions? Did he then work in an aircraft factory in Belleville, thus for German military aviation?
Did he and his father belong to the countless "Brown Jews" (an expression relaunched by M. Rajsfus) who collaborated with the occupation forces, enjoying the active -- even financial -- protection of Marshal Philippe Pétain, and who notably prepared the big rounding up of the Jews housed in the Paris cycling arena, the Vel'd'Hiv, in July 1942?
Were they among all of those self-amnestied Jews who in 1944-1945 appeared before the so accommodating "intra-community tribunals" whilst an atrocious "purging" was being visited upon so many of those French people who could not claim to be Jewish?
9 August 1997
First displayed on aaargh: 17 April 2001.
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