A forgotten crime: Remembering the 1943 Marseille roundup

In this edition on Holocaust Memorial Day, we discover a little-known chapter of French history. In 1943, the Germans had occupied the southern French port city of Marseille. With its working class, immigrant and Jewish neighbourhoods around the Old Port, the city had come to represent everything that Hitler and the Nazis hated. The Germans, who saw the Old Port neighbourhoods as a hotbed of the French Resistance, decided to make an example of Marseille.

They rounded up thousands of people, including hundreds of Jews who were later sent to a concentration camp, and destroyed an entire district.

Between January 22 and 24, 1943, some 6,000 Marseille residents were arrested. More than 1,500 were later deported, including almost 800 Jews who were sent to the Sobibor extermination camp in Nazi-occupied Poland.

From February 1, 1943, a whole neighbourhood near the Old Port was razed to the ground. Hundreds of homes were destroyed and 50 streets wiped from the map.

FRANCE 24's Florence Gaillard and Georges Yazbek met with survivors and descendants of victims of the Marseille roundup, who shared their harrowing accounts.

Among them is Pascal Luongo, a lawyer who filed a criminal complaint in 2019 for crimes against humanity.

English translation: Monte Francis

Read more on FRANCE 24 English

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