Investigation of Accused Nazi Ends

After more than a decade of delays, the investigation of a World War II French official – accused of handing over 1,400 Jews of the Nazis – has ended.

Maurice Papon, 86, will know this fall whether he will stand trial.

Papon, the former secretary-general of the Bordeaux regional administration, reputedly ordered the arrest of the Jews in 1942 and the turned them in to the Nazi occupiers. He was indicted on charges of being an accessory to crimes against humanity.

French Nazi hunter and lawyer Serge Klarsfeld, who represents relatives of the victims, said the completion of the investigation is the turning point. “Law is in process,” he said.

The investigation did not start until 1983, which partly accounts for why Papon was able to work in the French government until retirement. Until the early 1960s, he was Paris’ police chief and he was a minister in President Giscard d’Estaing’s cabinet.

Papon’s lawyers succeeded in delaying the case for 12 years.

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