PARIS (Jul. 21)
A square in central Paris, on the banks of the Seine, was re-named last week “Place of the Jewish Martyrs,” marking the 44th anniversary of the round-up and deportation of nearly 15,000 Parisian Jews to Nazi death camps.
Premier Jacques Chirac, who is also Mayor of Paris, unveiled a plaque in the presence of Theo Klein, president of the representative organization of French Jews (CRIF), Ady Steg, president of the Alliance Israelite Universelle and Israel’s Ambassador to France, Ovadia Soffer.
The inscription on the plaque pledged that “Neither France nor Europe will ever forget the inhuman treatment meted out to these martyrs, symbols of oppression.” On July 16, 1942, the largest mass arrest of Jews by French police occurred in Paris.
Among the 13,000 arrested in the first day of the round-up, 4,000 were children. Only a handful of the deportees survived to return from Auschwitz and Treblinka. The dedication of the square in their names was also attended by two former government ministers who lost their families in the Holocaust — former Justice Minister Robert Badinter and former Health Minister Simone Veil who is herself an Auschwitz survivor.