July 30, 2007

French prime minister urges youth to remember wartime deportation of Jews

Prime Minister Francois Fillon urged France's young people to remember the horrors of the Holocaust during a speech yesterday to mark the 65th anniversary of a World War II roundup of Jews. Speaking at the former site of the Velodrome d'Hiver bicycle stadium - which was used as a transit camp for thousands of Jews on July 16-17, 1942 - Fillon said the French must not shrink from the memory of those hours of shame. On those July 1942 days, 13,152 Jews were rounded up in the Paris region, and 8,160 - mostly children - were held at the stadium before being sent to Nazi death camps. "It is by recognizing fully the lights and shadows of the pastthat the nation learns and grows," Fillon told an audience of hundreds. In all, about 75,000 Jews were deported from France to Nazi concentration camps during the war. Fewer than 3,000 survived.