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The Vélodrome d’hiver Round-up: July 16 and 17, 1942

Last modified: 21 December 2008
Michel Laffitte

December 2008

Cite this item

Michel Laffitte, The Vélodrome d’hiver Round-up: July 16 and 17, 1942, Online Encyclopedia of Mass Violence, [online], published on 28 December 2008, accessed 30 July 2015, URL : http://www.massviolence.org/fr/The-Vel-d-Hiv-round-up, ISSN 1961-9898

Table of content

 F. The Judicial Outcomes

Those responsible for the July 1942 Round-up were never tried for their acts. While Emile Hennequin (one of the organizers of the Round-up through his role as Paris Municipal Police Director) was sentenced to eight years of hard labor, his responsibility for the Round-ups was not taken into consideration. The Government’s Commissioner considered that the “Jewish issues are resolved” in his inquiry. Jean François, Director of the General Police of the Prefecture of Police retired in 1950 but was declared “honorary director” in 1954.

The “épuration légale” (legal purge) files of some individuals mysteriously disappeared from archives, such as that of Deputy-Director André Tulard (Berlière, 2001). While Dannecker committed suicide in an American prison in 1945, Oberg and Knochen (who had been condemned to death on October 9, 1954 by the Paris Military Court) were pardoned in 1958 by René Coty and discreetly released from the Mulhouse Prison on November 28, 1962, two months before the signing of the Franco-German Cooperation Treaty. This is despite the previous year’s trial of Adolf Eichman in Jerusalem, which had revealed the extent of the genocide to the world (Lindeperg, Wieviorka, 2008).

Without the determination of Serge Klarsfeld, it seems that those responsible for the July 1942 Round-up would have been forgotten by the justice system. He managed to bring Hebert Hagen, Kurt Lischka (Knochen’s deputy) and Ernst Heinrichsohn to trial in Cologne in 1980, where they were sentenced to 12, 10, and 6 years of prison respectively.

Once the Germans had been sentenced, Serge Klarsfeld decided to target French citizens involved in the organization of the Round-up. René Bousquet’s reponsabilities as a ringleader were revealed to the public by the weekly newspaper L’Express on October 28, 2008 through an interview with Louis Darquier de Pellepoix, who was sentenced to death in absentia and had fled to Spain (France never sought his extradition). The former General Commissioner for Jewish Issues notably declared to the journalist Philippe Ganier-Raymond “Bousquet organised the Great Round-up, from A to Z. Bousquet was the Chief of Police. He did everything” (Joly, 2006).

The previous March, the former director of Darquier de Pellepoix’s Cabinet, Pierre Galien, died in total anonymity in Lyons, having never carried out his sentence of 20 years of hard labor issued in absentia in 1949 (Lafitte, 2006). On November 15, 1978, Serge Klarsfeld pressed charges against Jean Leguay, in the hope of indirectly implicating René Bousquet (who had already been acquitted in 1949 by the Upper Court) (Froment, 2001).

On March 12, 1979, Leguay became the first Frenchman charged with crimes against humanity, which had become imprescriptible thanks to a 1964 law. He died 10 years later, in July 1989, without ever having been tried. Upon learning of Leguay’s death, Serge Klarsfeld pressed charges against René Bousquet directly. He was charged with crimes against humanity on March 1, 1991, on the basis of a document which had not been part of his 1949 trial – Hagen’s account of July 2, 1942 conference. René Bousquet’s assassination by Christian Didier, on June 8, 1993, would terminate a trial conscientiously and deliberately delayed by the highest levels of the state hierarchy (Raczymow, 2001).

Encyclopédie des violences de masse® - ISSN 1961-9898