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French President Emmanuel Macron said on Sunday that France under the Vichy regime “extinguished the Enlightenment” during a speech at the former train station in Pithiviers from which more 8,000 Jews were sent to Auschwitz. Macron’s speech was part of France’s commemoration of the 80th anniversary of the Vél d’Hiv roundup, during which nearly 13,000 Jews were taken from their homes in Paris and its suburbs and sent to concentration camps. Read our liveblog to see how the day's events unfolded.
On July 16 and 17, 1942, some 13,000 Jews were taken from their homes in Paris and surrounding suburbs by authorities working on orders from Nazi Germany. The roundup was named after the Vélodrome d’Hiver stadium in Paris where Jewish families were gathered and held before being sent east to concentration camps.
Events to mark the anniversary on Sunday included wreath-laying ceremonies at the site in Paris where the velodrome used to stand and at Pithiviers train station 100km south of Paris, from which eight trains departed carrying French Jews to the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp in Poland.
Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne pledged to fight anti-Semitism in France “wherever it is found” in a speech on Sunday morning at a remembrance ceremony in Paris. She told the survivors she met at the event that “your stories will never leave us. Your words are engraved on the spirits of the youth who hear those horrible testimonies.”
Survivor Arlette Testyler said it was “painful” to speak at the event and shed tears as she shared her story of being part of the Vél d’Hiv roundup at the age of eight. “We should forget nothing”, she said. “To remember is a duty and we owe that duty to history.”
President Emmanuel Macron gave a speech in Pithiviers Sunday afternoon expressing his concern over the enduring threat posed by anti-Semitism and the ongoing effort to deny the culpability of France’s wartime Vichy regime in the arrest and deportation of Jews.
Catch up with FRANCE 24's special coverage of the day's events (please refresh the page if the blog below doesn't show).