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Former French Cabinet Minister to Be Charged with Involvement in Deporting Jews During Wwii

January 19, 1983
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Maurice Papon, who served in the Cabinet of former President Valery Giscard d ‘Estaing, will be formally charged in Bordeaux tomorrow with “crimes against humanity” allegedly committed when he was an official of the Vichy government during World War II. The charges against him include, among other things, facilitating French police participation in rounding up Jews for deportation to death camps.

Papon, who was Giscard’s Secretary for Budget and previously served as Prefect of Police in Paris, requested the investigating magistrate, Jean-Claud Nicod, to prefer charges against him so that he would have access to documents on which the charges are based. He has denied the accusations and claimed they are politically motivated.

Several Jewish families in Paris, Bordeaux and Rheims have been urging on investigation of Papon since the newspaper Canard Enchaine accused him of wartime collaboration with the Nazis two years ago.

Papon was a senior official in the Vichy Interior Ministry during the war. Jewish groups have charged that he signed orders providing for French police to round up Jews for deportation in the Gironde Prefecture which was under his jurisdiction. About 1,700 Jews were deported from that region. Few survived.

Papon claims in his defense that he was an active member of the French resistance and served the Vichy regime at its request. A commission appointed by a group of ex-resistance fighters investigated Papon’s activities after the Canard Enchaine article. It came to the conclusion that he should have resigned his Vichy post in 1942. On the other hand, it credited him with trying to help some Jews arrested by the Nazis or on their wanted list.

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