Paris-politiet sto for registeringen av jøder og aksjonene som begynte i juli 1942. Nå åpnes arkivene.
Soon after Paris was liberated in October 1944, the French leader, General Charles de Gaulle, cited the Paris police for their courage, saying they had «set a fine example of patriotism and solidarity».
The entire force was awarded the Légion d’Honneur and the Croix de Guerre.
But in the months that followed, more than 20% of its members – some 15,000 men in all – were dismissed in disgrace, and dozens were shot, for collaboration.
The police archives were sealed and watched over for years by the widow of the officer who composed the first comprehensive list of Paris’s Jewish residents.
«The Paris police was at the heart of those arrests and confiscations,» said Jacques Fredj, the memorial museum’s manager. «They acted as the chief enforcers of the Vichy government’s policy of persecution. Then, after the war, Paris police HQ did not exactly have a reputation for openness and transparency.»
Tonnes of wartime statements and charge sheets were deliberately destroyed in 1948. They included most of the operational details of the notorious Vel d’Hiv raids of July 1942, in which some 4,500 over-zealous French officers rounded up 13,152 Jews, including 4,050 children.
President Jacques Chirac gjorde det forgjengeren Francois Mitterrand ikke våget: i 1995 vedkjente han seg at det kollobrasjonsregjeringen i Vichy gjorde, også var Frankrikes skam.
Politirekruttene skal i fremtiden besøke Holocaust-museet og lære om skjenselsgjerningene som deres kolleger under krigen utførte. Men ikke alle: noen lot jødene slippe unna, og også disse skal dagens politi lære av.