French Nazi hunter Serge Klarsfeld has charged that the government of France kept or sold assets belonging to Jews deported from the country to death camps during World War II.
France “should be more forthcoming toward claimants, the children of deported Jews,” Klarsfeld said in a recent interview with the French daily newspaper Liberation. “I want them to be able to grow old with dignity.”
Millions of dollars in cash, property and valuables that had been confiscated from 70,000 Jews before their deportation were transferred to the French Treasury after the war, he said.
“The parents were robbed, and their children cannot get their reparations,” he said.
Klarsfeld’s claim is based upon a report he unearthed signed by a French officer in charge of the financial administration of the Drancy camp near Paris. The French authorities concentrated Jews there before deporting them.
According to the report, cash and jewelry taken from the deportees were transferred to the Bank of France, Klarsfeld said.
In May 1994, Klarsfeld wrote to the director of the Bank of France, who replied that none of the confiscated cash or valuable had been located, but added that the Paris police had rented safes during the period in question.
Klarsfeld then contacted Paris police officials, who replied that jewels and valuables had indeed been stored in safes, but that they were later handed over to other French officials.
“I am convinced that what wasn’t stolen by the police was auctioned off,” Klarsfeld said in the interview with Liberation.
The newspaper added that some of the apartments seized from Jews during the war were probably still owned by the city of Paris.