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French officials mark WWII-era Vel d'Hiv round-up

French officials mark WWII-era Vel d'Hiv round-up

PARIS (AP) — France’s veterans’ minister, Geneviève Darrieussecq, led a ceremony Sunday commemorating the Vel d’Hiv round-up, a mass arrest of Jews by French police in 1942.

Alongside Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, she took part in a wreath-laying to pay her respects to the 13,000-plus victims of the round-up, one of the most shameful acts undertaken by the country’s wartime government.

Following the Nazi invasion of France in 1940, the country was ruled by a government commonly known as Vichy France, which collaborated with Nazi Germany.

Vel d’Hiv derives from the name of the Winter Velodrome that many of the detainees were confined in, before they were deported to concentration and extermination camps such as Drancy and Auschwitz. Over 4,000 children were included in the round up.

In 1995, some 53 years later, President Jacques Chirac finally apologized for the role the French authorities had in the raid. President Emmanuel Macron went further, in 2017, acknowledging the responsibility the French State had in those events and in the Holocaust.

Darrieussecq said Sunday “there is no space for ambiguity, the Vel d’Hiv round-up is an issue belonging to France."