Friday, February 20, 2009


From this platform, in August and September 1942, 1928 Jewish men, women and children were deported from the camp called Les Milles to the Nazi concentration camps via Drancy. They were refugees from Eastern Europe, or French citizens, they were
handed over to the Nazis by the Vichy government, even before the Southern part of France was occupied. Among them there were 92 children.

The place were this plaque was put up, in Les Milles, near Marseilles, is going to be turned into a memorial, so that school children will be able to learn about the past. Interestingly, the camp remained unknown for decades. It used to be a brick and tile factory when the inmates were kept there prior to their tragic last trip.
This year, school children came and read the names of the children who have died - they were a very moving sight as they filed and stumbled upon the difficult names of the victims. The ceremony will be held regularly each year as of now.


Blogger ritsonvaljos said...


Thanks very much for posting this photograph and the information about the new memorial.

As you may realise I began most of my WW2 research in France and in fact when I think about WW2 I usually do so in French. Several of the people I stayed with in what was the Vichy zone lost close firends through deportations between 1942 and 1944. As your article says, it was largely those working for the (French) Vichy Government in this part of France who actually gathered the deportees up and handed them over to the Nazis.

I have copies of photographs of family photographs of some of those who were deported, including some of the children. It was tragic what happened to them - dead within hours or days of arriving at Auschwitz after Drancy. The Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum was also sent copies of these by the person who also gave me copies of the originals. Another sad fact about one family (the Rachnudels) is that they had managed to escape the 'Grand Rafle' in Paris in 1942.

How anyone can deny what happened as regards the Holocaust in WW2 I really find unbelievable. A lot of the families who lost good friends in this way in France do not forget and they will even say they know who a lot of those responsible for the deprtations are. There are still those, for various reasons, who do try to deny about the deportations.

Although not specifically related to France, there was the recent controversy in the worldwide press about the views of Bishop Williamson, who was due to be re-admitted back into the Latin (Catholic) Church. Personally, I would have thought someone who was so well educated as a bishop would believe the overwhelming evidence that is there.

On a more upbeat note, I have always found that children & young people in France, the Netherlands and Beligium are keen to learn about what happened and that there is good friendship between people of all nationalities, creeds and colours. It is beginning to develop in this country as well, certainly in my own area.

Keep us informed of the developments!

Monday, 23 February, 2009  
Blogger Cathie said...

Thank you Ritsonvaljos for this comment. I shall add a few elements of information now.

France was extremely slow to acknowledge its role in the arrest and deportation of Jews on its territory.
The survivors did not wish to speak until a decade or so ago. I 'found' a survivor who agreed to come and talk in a classroom - he was 14 when sent to Auschwitz and had never wanted to talk about it publicly before. Now aged 81 he travels all over the place to speak to the young and warn them against what fanaticism may lead to.

Then more recently, associations have been created to honour the memory of children. I work for one and researched the victims in my area. We put plaques with their names on the schools which Jewish children attended prior to their arrest. Commemorations are held.

And one more thing, history-wise. France is also one of the occupied countries where the smallest number of Jews were arrested due to the population's support, help, hospitality etc....

Last week I attended a ceremony : the medal of the Just Among the Nations was given posthumously to a woman who saved two children at the risk of her life. One of them was there, and the grandson of the lady was given the medal. Such examples abound, even if the quiet heroes are not all honoured in such a spectacuar fashion.

The bishop episode is indeed revolting and here many Catholics said they would leave a Church that was so far away from their beliefs if he was allowed to speak such words without being chastised.

And I agree with you, there is much friendship now among the young of the different countries in Europe that used to be at war. Germany has made tremendous efforts too in that direction. So let us be optimistic about the future, for once!

Tuesday, 24 February, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Joseph & catherine L

You have madeinteresting comments about Bishop Williamson's naive views of a n Historial event when the interveiw was allegedly a religious one.

As time goes by it is more and more obvious that this was a trap
timed somehow to coincide with the lifting of the Ex communication of the four bishops - so there would appear to be abit more in this media furore than many people are willing to admit.

It should be recognised - by now - that the four were not re - admitted to the Catholic Church of Rome but merely had an invalid excommunication lifted from their shoulders.

Your friends are not alone in claiming that they will leave the Church if the SSPX are admitted - if you were to look at what has been happening - you will find that amny - if not most of the Bishop's conferences - namely Swedish - German - French hav ebeen most vociferous against the POpe recently as he has been trying t bring the Church BACK to what it was - they object to this and thus must Keep the SSPX out as there whole object it to have the Church return to it's Traditions and not to engage in the abuses brought on by the Modernist take over at Vatican 11 Council 1962-65

You can assured that the Bishop - after the media cools down and a period of peace returns and he has studied ALL the evidence - and i the situation warrants it - he will be cahastised by the Society - and not the Media - the German government - nor Abe Foxn man of the ADL..


Sunday, 01 March, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Joseph & Car theine L

My apologies fro writing as anonymous but it seems that my passwrod and user name is not being accepted - it is a youi may have guessed Tom Cannibg

Sunday, 01 March, 2009  
Blogger Cathie said...

I don't care whether or not these people were trapped, and what the underlying intentions may have been.
I don't care about the fights going on inside the catholic church. But what I do care about is the following:

These supposedly educated people deny the existence of the gas chambers and of the Holocaust, for what reason and to what intent, I do not care either. All I know is that those who say such things and those who believe them are killing the victims a second time. This is revolting, and should not even be considered on a blog dedicated to the memory of those who fought against this kind of evil, and for the freedom of people, including that of women.

Tuesday, 10 March, 2009  
Blogger Peter G said...


Have you read Bad Faith: A Forgotten History of Family & Fatherland by Carmen Callill?

It tell the story of one of France's most despicable villains and conmen: Louis Darqiuer de Pellepoix.

Luis Darquier (the de Pellepoix bit, pure invention, was tacked on later), rose to be Vichy France's Commissioner for Jewish Affairs, and was personally responsible for sending thousands to the gas chambers. He was obsessed with racial 'purity' and the latent anti-Semitism of the French Catholic church.

Let me quote from page 239, regarding traditional Catholics, regarding the persecution of Jews:

"The most virulent among them was Cardinal Baudrillart, eighty-one years old in 1940. He supported the Nazis 'as a priest and a Frenchman ... should I refuse to approve this noble common enterprise, in which Germany is taking the lead?' His fellow cardinals, Cardinal Liènart of Lille, Cardinal Suhard of Paris and Cardinal Gerlier of Lyon, all greeted the arrival of Pétain with fervour, and regarded the fall of France as a punishment. As the Bishop of Nantes put it: 'France has driven Christ from the law courts and schools. ..."

This 'divine punishment' fantasy has been peddled incessantly since 300 AD. If the Nazis occupied France then it follows that the French must have deserved it.

The latest perversion to be pushed by the deniers is that Catholics, Lutherans, and sundry Christians also died in the extermination camps, so why are the Jews being compensated? What they fail to acknowledge, either through ignorance or deliberate maliciousness, is that it wasn't Nazi state policy to exterminate the Christians of Europe. There were no trains of cattle trucks trundling their way to the death camps full of Lutheran pastors, nuns, and Catholic children. Members of the Christian clergy that died in the camp did so due to the terrible conditions, they were not sent to the gas chambers en masse.

Another ploy, which is insulting to the millions of innocent Jews who died, is to say that the Holocaust wasn't unique. They then trot out a list of other evil massacres, completely missing the point that the planned extermination of the Jews was the official policy of a national state, requiring meticulous planning and a dedicated bureaucracy - it was not a frenzied bloodbath over a few weeks.

Thursday, 12 March, 2009  

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