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Operation Spring Breeze: The Vel’ d’Hiv Roundup


“Bertrand,” I said, when you were at school, were you taught about the Vel’ d’Hiv?”
“No idea, chérie.”
“That’s what I’m working on now for the magazine. The sixtieth anniversary is soon.”
Bertrand picked up one of my bare feet and began to massage it with sure, warm fingers.
“Do you think your readers are going to be interested in the Vel’ d’Hiv’?” he asked. “It’s the past. It’s not something most people want to read about.”
“Because the French are ashamed, you mean?” I said. “So we should bury it and move on. like them?”
He took my foot of his knee and the glint in his eye appeared. I braced my self.
“My, my,” he said with a devilish grin, “yet another chance to show your compatriots how devious we Frogs were, collaborating with the Nazis and sending those poor innocent families to there deaths. Little Miss Nahant bares the truth! What are you going to do, amour, rub our noses in it? Nobody cares anymore. Nobody remembers. Write about something else. Something funny, something cute. You know how to do that. Tell Joshua the Vel’ d’Hiv’ is a mistake. No one will read it. They’ll yawn and turn to the next column. ~Tatiana de Rosnay (2007) Sarah’s Key, pp 50-51

The Vel’ d’Hiv Roundup was a Nazi directed raid and mass arrest of Jews in Paris, France by the French police on 16 and 17 July 1942 and marks a dark sombre period in the history of France. The Vélodrome d’Hiver was where a majority of the victims were temporarily confined. (The Vel’ d’Hiv was torn down in 1959.) The roundup was one of several aimed at eradicating the Jewish population in France, both in the occupied and the free zone. According to records of the Préfecture de Police, 13,152 Jews were arrested, including over 4,000 Jewish children aged between 2 and 12 years of age. Most were French and born in France. They were held at the Vélodrome d’Hiver in vile over-crowded conditions, without water, food and no sanitary facilities, as well as at the Drancy, Pithiviers, and Beaune-la-Rolande internment camps, then shipped in rail cattle cars to Auschwitz for their mass murder. None of the children ever came back from Auschwitz.

The Gestapo had ordered the French police to ‘deliver’ Jews between 16 and 50 years of age—a ploy to hide the murderous truth by pretending that the Jews were being sent to work camps. Yet the French police were intent on deporting the maximum number of Jews, and arrested all the little Jewish children born in France.

The French government had worked on the Operation Spring Breeze project from April 1942—compiling lists of Jews to arrest. Over 6,000 Parisian police were commissioned. We learned from the French police’s records and behaviour and that of other French authorities that they committed outrageous crimes against humanity. Of course, let’s not forget the drivers of the buses and trains from Drancy to Auschwitz. Did they know what they were carrying? How was it possible for French men and women to place themselves directly in the position of the murderous Vel’ d’Hiv Roundup and transport these helpless hapless people to camps with Auschwitz as the final destination with the French people standing by as silent observers? Let’s not forget that these events occurred in a highly developed country with well-educated and well-fed people? Were those pathetic fools blind of the consequences?

  • ‘Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.’ Galatians 6:7, King James Bible, and similarly
  • You can have anything you want, as long as you accept that there is a price and you will have to pay it.

Of the approximately 330,000 Jews in metropolitan France in 1939, 75 per cent survived the Holocaust, which is one of the highest survival rates in Europe. France has the third highest number of citizens who were awarded the Righteous Among the Nations, an award given to “non-Jews who acted according to the most noble principles of humanity by risking their lives to save Jews during the Holocaust”. About 75,000 Jews were deported to Nazi concentration camps and death camps and 72,500 of them died.

The foremost weakness is ‘obedience to authority figures’—the human Achilles heel—an exploitable flaw. The French police and others yielded to instructions and orders by Gestapo and French authority figures.

Ordinary people, simply doing their jobs, and without any particular hostility on their part, can become agents in a terrible destructive process. Moreover, even when the destructive effects of their work become patently clear, and they are asked to carry out actions incompatible with fundamental standards of morality, relatively few people have the resources needed to resist authority. ~Stanley Milgram (1974) Obedience to Authority: An Experimental View p. 6

The defendants at the Nuremberg trials (20 November 1945 and 1 October 1946) all claimed to have obeyed orders. Adolf  Eichmann in 1960, was captured in Argentina by Mossad, Israel’s intelligence service. Eichmann’s deportment at the trial displayed neither guilt or remorse for his actions nor hatred for those trying him, claiming he bore no responsibility because he was doing his job. He did his duty. He not only obeyed orders, he obeyed the law. He was found guilty of war crimes and hanged in 1962.

The human condition is a flexible bundle of highly regarded tendencies (e.g., loyalty, duty, discipline) that potentially puts at risk the survival of humanity as they can be easily and readily exploited to make people commit heinous actions against their fellows whenever specific conditions are in place.

The film ‘Compliance’ is a fictional reconstruction based on 70 similar events that had occurred in the US. A telephone caller, impersonating as a police officer, orders people to do outrageous and degrading things to others; in this drama a work-place colleague. The startling thing about this expose is that they perform these acts of brutality unquestionably, and illustrates the power of authority figures—seen or unseen.

The machinery of the State is there to crush any individual or movement that questions the authority of those who own the economic power. They readily incarcerate, torture, injure or kill people to maintain and enforce the status quo.

This world is controlled by a tiny number of people. These people control the laws and regulations, surveillance, judges, leaders and others. They use the media to maintain the masses in a state of fear to create unquestionable conformity of thought and behaviour.

Remember that humans can be the authors of their own actions and to reject the idea that human actions are determined exclusively by external conditions or fate. It is a sign of strength to challenge authority figures. It is a sign of courage to ask the questions that journalists avoid like the plague. It is a sign of wisdom to accept that you may have directly or indirectly or overtly or covertly, supported cruelty, dishonesty, elitism, violence and hatred by your obedience to authority figures, in the past.

Realise your personal innate powers to say ‘no’ to authority figures, no matter who they are. It’s time to end this madness. Wake up to the reality of contemporary depopulation programmes.

Stanley Milgram (1974) Obedience to Authority: An Experimental View
Tatiana de Rosnay (2007) Sarah’s Key
Wikipedia (No date) Vel’ d’Hiv Roundup

Revised and updated: 15 December 2016

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