Alternative Title

Betrayal and Shame: The Role of the Vichy Government in the Vel' d'Hiv' Roundup and it's Memory through the Eyes of French Society


While many people know that World War II France was occupied by the Germans, retaining little sovereignty in the de facto Vichy government, many may not realize the extent to which the French collaborated with their Nazi occupiers and how many anti-Semitic measures were in fact created by the Vichy government. After the war, the crimes committed by the French against the Jews became a taboo which slowly transformed over the years into what is today considered to be an obsession with the topic. These events are best demonstrated through the 1942 Vel’ d’Hiv’ roundup in which Parisian authorities gathered over 13,000 Jews, detaining over half of them in the Vélodrome d’Hiver, an indoor cycling arena in Paris, for almost a week without food, water, or sanitation. These prisoners were sent to several concentration camps in France where they were held until ultimately being sent to their death at Auschwitz, the extermination camp in Poland. In this study, I analyze this event by looking at the role that the French authorities played. Additionally, I examine the French national memory of this event and how that has been represented in three French films, Mr. Klein (1976), La Rafle (2010), and Elle s’appelait Sarah (2010), as reflections of French society. I conclude that the Vichy government was proactive in anti-Semitic policy and that the dynamic struggle of the French population to accept its past is shown by the transformation of the national collective memory of the Vel’ d’Hiv’ roundup.


Duval, Marion


French and Francophone Studies


Other French and Francophone Language and Literature


Vichy, Vel' d'Hiv', rafle, roundup, French, francais, history, histoire

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis Exemplar



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