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Jewish War Vets Hold Special Service to Mark 40th Anniversary of the Liberation of Paris

The 40th anniversary of the liberation of Paris from the Nazis was celebrated Friday night with a thanksgiving service at the Great Synagogue. Jewish war veterans attended official ceremonies yesterday and laid wreaths on the sites of the main battles for the city’s liberation.

The main official ceremony was at Notre Dame Cathedral where Paris Cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger, himself a converted Jew who spent the war years in hiding, pleaded for better France-German understanding. “It is not enough to forgive and forget,” he said. “We must learn to love each other.”

A convoy of World War II Sherman tanks reenacted the city’s liberation by following the same route they took when they drove into Paris on August 24, 1944. Only a handful of people braved the summer showers to watch them, mainly foreign tourists. The crowds were scarce because many Parisians were on their traditional August summer vocations. Many others said, however, that “all this seems past history which is now best forgotten.”