Maurice Papon

Maurice Papon

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Maurice Papon was a French
French people
The French are a nation that share a common French culture and speak the French language as a mother tongue. Historically, the French population are descended from peoples of Celtic, Latin and Germanic origin, and are today a mixture of several ethnic groups...

 civil servant, industrial leader and Gaullist politician, who was convicted for crimes against humanity for his participation in the deportation of over 1600 Jews during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 when he was secretary general for police of the Prefecture of Bordeaux
Bordeaux
Bordeaux is a port city on the Garonne River in the Gironde department in southwestern France.The Bordeaux-Arcachon-Libourne metropolitan area, has a population of 1,010,000 and constitutes the sixth-largest urban area in France. It is the capital of the Aquitaine region, as well as the prefecture...

.

Papon also participated in torture during the Algerian War
Torture during the Algerian War
Elements of the French Armed Forces as well as of the opposing Algerian National Liberation Front made use of torture during the Algerian War of Independence , creating an ongoing public controversy. Pierre Vidal-Naquet estimates that there were "possibly hundreds of thousands of instances of...

 (1954–62) as prefect of the Constantinois department. He was named chief of the Paris police in 1958. There, he ordered on October 17, 1961 the severe repression of a peaceful pro-National Liberation Front
National Liberation Front (Algeria)
The National Liberation Front is a socialist political party in Algeria. It was set up on November 1, 1954 as a merger of other smaller groups, to obtain independence for Algeria from France.- Anticolonial struggle :...

 (FLN) demonstration against the curfew which he had imposed. The Paris massacre of 1961
Paris massacre of 1961
The Paris massacre of 1961 was a massacre in Paris on 17 October 1961, during the Algerian War . Under orders from the head of the Parisian police, Maurice Papon, the French police attacked a demonstration of some 30,000 pro-FLN Algerians...

 left between one and three hundred dead with many more wounded. That same year, he was personally awarded the Legion of Honour by French President Charles de Gaulle
Charles de Gaulle
Charles André Joseph Marie de Gaulle was a French general and statesman who led the Free French Forces during World War II. He later founded the French Fifth Republic in 1958 and served as its first President from 1959 to 1969....

.

Papon was also in charge during the February 1962 massacre at the Charonne metro station, which took place during a peaceful anti-Organisation armée secrète
Organisation armée secrète
The Organisation de l'armée secrète was a short-lived, French far-right nationalist militant and underground organization during the Algerian War . The OAS used armed struggle in an attempt to prevent Algeria's independence...

 (OAS) demonstration organized by the Communist Party
French Communist Party
The French Communist Party is a political party in France which advocates the principles of communism.Although its electoral support has declined in recent decades, the PCF retains a large membership, behind only that of the Union for a Popular Movement , and considerable influence in French...

 (PCF). Forced to quit his functions after the 1965 disappearance
Forced disappearance
In international human rights law, a forced disappearance occurs when a person is secretly abducted or imprisoned by a state or political organization or by a third party with the authorization, support, or acquiescence of a state or political organization, followed by a refusal to acknowledge the...

 of Moroccan dissident Mehdi Ben Barka
Mehdi Ben Barka
Mehdi Ben Barka was a Moroccan politician, head of the left-wing National Union of Popular Forces and secretary of the Tricontinental Conference...

, leader of the Tricontinental Conference, he became, supported by de Gaulle, director of Sud Aviation
Sud Aviation
Sud-Aviation was a French state-owned aircraft manufacturer, originating from the merger of Sud-Est and Sud-Ouest on March 1, 1957...

 company, which created the first Concorde
Concorde
Aérospatiale-BAC Concorde was a turbojet-powered supersonic passenger airliner, a supersonic transport . It was a product of an Anglo-French government treaty, combining the manufacturing efforts of Aérospatiale and the British Aircraft Corporation...

 plane.

After May 1968, he became a representative (député) in the French legislature, and from 1978 to 1981 was Minister of the Budget under prime minister Raymond Barre
Raymond Barre
Raymond Octave Joseph Barre was a French centre-right politician and economist. He was a Vice President of the European Commission and Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs under three Presidents and later served as Prime Minister under Valéry Giscard d'Estaing from 1976 until 1981...

 and president Valéry Giscard d'Estaing
Valéry Giscard d'Estaing
Valéry Marie René Georges Giscard d'Estaing is a French centre-right politician who was President of the French Republic from 1974 until 1981...

. On May 6, 1981 details about his past under Vichy emerged, when Le Canard enchaîné
Le Canard enchaîné
Le Canard enchaîné is a satirical newspaper published weekly in France. Founded in 1915, it features investigative journalism and leaks from sources inside the French government, the French political world and the French business world, as well as many jokes and humorous cartoons.-Early...

newspaper published documents signed by Papon which show his responsibility in the deportation of 1,690 Bordeaux Jews to Drancy internment camp
Drancy internment camp
The Drancy internment camp of Paris, France, was used to hold Jews who were later deported to the extermination camps. 65,000 Jews were deported from Drancy, of whom 63,000 were murdered including 6,000 children...

 from 1942 to 1944. After a very long investigation, this led to his eventual 1995 to 1998 trial and conviction for crimes against humanity. In 1998, he was stripped of all his decorations after his conviction for crimes against humanity.

Early years


Papon was born in Gretz-Armainvilliers
Gretz-Armainvilliers
Gretz-Armainvilliers is a commune in the Seine-et-Marne department in the Île-de-France region in north-central France.-External links:* * *...

, Seine-et-Marne
Seine-et-Marne
Seine-et-Marne is a French department, named after the Seine and Marne rivers, and located in the Île-de-France region.- History:Seine-et-Marne is one of the original 83 departments, created on March 4, 1790 during the French Revolution in application of the law of December 22, 1789...

. The son of a solicitor
Solicitor
Solicitors are lawyers who traditionally deal with any legal matter including conducting proceedings in courts. In the United Kingdom, a few Australian states and the Republic of Ireland, the legal profession is split between solicitors and barristers , and a lawyer will usually only hold one title...

-turned-industrialist, he studied at the Lycée Louis-le-Grand
Lycée Louis-le-Grand
The Lycée Louis-le-Grand is a public secondary school located in Paris, widely regarded as one of the most rigorous in France. Formerly known as the Collège de Clermont, it was named in king Louis XIV of France's honor after he visited the school and offered his patronage.It offers both a...

 in Paris, along with Georges Pompidou
Georges Pompidou
Georges Jean Raymond Pompidou was a French politician. He was Prime Minister of France from 1962 to 1968, holding the longest tenure in this position, and later President of the French Republic from 1969 until his death in 1974.-Biography:...

 (later President of France) and René Brouillet (who was part of Charles de Gaulle
Charles de Gaulle
Charles André Joseph Marie de Gaulle was a French general and statesman who led the Free French Forces during World War II. He later founded the French Fifth Republic in 1958 and served as its first President from 1959 to 1969....

's cabinet after the war). Papon then entered Sciences-Po and studied law, psychology and sociology. His father became mayor of Gretz
Gretz
Gretz may refer to:* Gretz - Armainvilliers, municipality served by the Paris RER* Jeff Gretz, drummer and vocalist for Conelrad*Wayne Gretzky, former ice hockey superstar...

 when Papon was nine years old, and retained that function until 1937. He was also local representative (conseiller général) of Tournan-en-Brie
Tournan-en-Brie
Tournan-en-Brie, or simply Tournan, is a commune in the Seine-et-Marne department in the Île-de-France region in north-central France. It is located in the Paris metropolitan area.-Transportation:Tournan is the terminus...

 and president of the council of this canton in 1937.

After entering public service
Civil service
The term civil service has two distinct meanings:* A branch of governmental service in which individuals are employed on the basis of professional merit as proven by competitive examinations....

 at the age of 20, Papon was quickly promoted. During the Second Cartel des gauches
Cartel des Gauches
The Cartel des gauches was the name of the governmental alliance between the Radical-Socialist Party and the socialist French Section of the Workers' International after World War I , which lasted until the end of the Popular Front . The Cartel des gauches twice won general elections, in 1924 and...

, in February 1931, he worked in the cabinet of the Minister of Air, the Radical-Socialist and freemason
Freemasonry
Freemasonry is a fraternal organisation that arose from obscure origins in the late 16th to early 17th century. Freemasonry now exists in various forms all over the world, with a membership estimated at around six million, including approximately 150,000 under the jurisdictions of the Grand Lodge...

 Jean-Louis Dumesnil. He was then named in the Ministry of Interior, in July 1935, before becoming chief of staff of the deputy director of departmental and communal affairs in January 1936, under the orders of Maurice Sabatier. In June 1936, during the Popular Front
Popular Front (France)
The Popular Front was an alliance of left-wing movements, including the French Communist Party , the French Section of the Workers' International and the Radical and Socialist Party, during the interwar period...

 government, he was attached to the cabinet of Radical-Socialist François de Tessan, under-state secretary to the presidency of the Council and a friend of his father. Papon became a member of the Ligue d'action universitaire républicaine et socialiste, of which Pierre Mendès France was also a member, and also took membership in the Radical-Socialist youth organization.

He followed François de Tessan, who became under Camille Chautemps
Camille Chautemps
Camille Chautemps was a French Radical politician of the Third Republic, three times President of the Council .-Career:Described as "intellectually bereft", Chautemps nevertheless entered politics and became Mayor of Tours in 1912, and a Radical deputy in 1919...

' government under-state secretary to Foreign Affairs. In March 1938, he became the parliamentary attachée of de Tessan.

Mobilized on August 26, 1939 in the 2nd colonial infantry regiment, he was sent to Tripoli
Tripoli
Tripoli is the capital and largest city in Libya. It is also known as Western Tripoli , to distinguish it from Tripoli, Lebanon. It is affectionately called The Mermaid of the Mediterranean , describing its turquoise waters and its whitewashed buildings. Tripoli is a Greek name that means "Three...

 and assumed responsibilities for the secret services in Ras-el-Aïn.

World War II


Returning from Syria
Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

 in November 1940, he chose to serve Vichy. His two mentors, senator Jean-Louis Dumesnil and Maurice Sabatier voted on July 10, 1940 to grant extraordinary powers to Philippe Pétain
Philippe Pétain
Henri Philippe Benoni Omer Joseph Pétain , generally known as Philippe Pétain or Marshal Pétain , was a French general who reached the distinction of Marshal of France, and was later Chief of State of Vichy France , from 1940 to 1944...

. Papon was then officially named the vice-chief of bureau to the central administration of the Ministry of Interior, before being named in February 1941 vice-prefect, 1st class. The next month, he became Maurice Sabatier's general secretary, and general secretary of the administration for the Interior Minister. While Papon chose Vichy, 94 civil servants were revoked at the end of the spring of 1941, 104 pensioned off and 79 muted: as Le Monde
Le Monde
Le Monde is a French daily evening newspaper owned by La Vie-Le Monde Group and edited in Paris. It is one of two French newspapers of record, and has generally been well respected since its first edition under founder Hubert Beuve-Méry on 19 December 1944...

put it, "neutrality is no longer an option". In May 1942, his chief Sabatier was named prefect of Aquitaine
Aquitaine
Aquitaine , archaic Guyenne/Guienne , is one of the 27 regions of France, in the south-western part of metropolitan France, along the Atlantic Ocean and the Pyrenees mountain range on the border with Spain. It comprises the 5 departments of Dordogne, :Lot et Garonne, :Pyrénées-Atlantiques, Landes...

 by Pierre Laval
Pierre Laval
Pierre Laval was a French politician. He was four times President of the council of ministers of the Third Republic, twice consecutively. Following France's Armistice with Germany in 1940, he served twice in the Vichy Regime as head of government, signing orders permitting the deportation of...

, head of the Vichy government, and Papon became general secretary of the prefecture of Gironde
Gironde
For the Revolutionary party, see Girondists.Gironde is a common name for the Gironde estuary, where the mouths of the Garonne and Dordogne rivers merge, and for a department in the Aquitaine region situated in southwest France.-History:...

, in charge of Jewish Affairs. Maurice Sabatier, who died in 1989, was found culpable for his role during Vichy in 1988, five years after his secretary general

Papon later claimed he had Gaullist tendencies during the war. A confidential report from the Nazis show that in April 1943, he qualified himself as "Collaborationist", during "personal or official conversations." Another document of July 1943 called him a "good negotiator".
During World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, Papon served as a senior police official in the Vichy regime. He was the number two official in the Bordeaux
Bordeaux
Bordeaux is a port city on the Garonne River in the Gironde department in southwestern France.The Bordeaux-Arcachon-Libourne metropolitan area, has a population of 1,010,000 and constitutes the sixth-largest urban area in France. It is the capital of the Aquitaine region, as well as the prefecture...

 region (secretary general of the prefecture of Gironde
Gironde
For the Revolutionary party, see Girondists.Gironde is a common name for the Gironde estuary, where the mouths of the Garonne and Dordogne rivers merge, and for a department in the Aquitaine region situated in southwest France.-History:...

) and supervisor of its Service for Jewish Questions. With authority over Jewish affairs, Papon regularly collaborated with Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

's SS
Schutzstaffel
The Schutzstaffel |Sig runes]]) was a major paramilitary organization under Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party. Built upon the Nazi ideology, the SS under Heinrich Himmler's command was responsible for many of the crimes against humanity during World War II...

 Corps, responsible for the extermination of Jews
History of the Jews in France
The history of the Jews of France dates back over 2,000 years. In the early Middle Ages, France was a center of Jewish learning, but persecution increased as the Middle Ages wore on...

. Under his command, approximately 1,560 Jewish men, women and children were deported. The majority were sent directly to the camp of Mérignac, from which they rejoined Drancy internment camp
Drancy internment camp
The Drancy internment camp of Paris, France, was used to hold Jews who were later deported to the extermination camps. 65,000 Jews were deported from Drancy, of whom 63,000 were murdered including 6,000 children...

, at the outskirts of Paris, and finally Auschwitz or similar concentration camps
Nazi concentration camps
Nazi Germany maintained concentration camps throughout the territories it controlled. The first Nazi concentration camps set up in Germany were greatly expanded after the Reichstag fire of 1933, and were intended to hold political prisoners and opponents of the regime...

. From July 1942 to August 1944, 12 trains left Bordeaux for Drancy; approximatively 1,600 Jews, including 130 children under 13, were then deported. Few survived. Papon implemented the anti-Semitic laws voted by the Vichy government. By July 1942, he had "dejudaised" 204 companies, sold 64 land-properties owned by Jewish people, and was in the process of "dejudaising" 493 other businesses.

By mid-1944, when it was clear that the war was turning against the Germans, Papon began to take care of the future, meeting once Gaston Cusin, a civil servant engaged in the Resistance
French Resistance
The French Resistance is the name used to denote the collection of French resistance movements that fought against the Nazi German occupation of France and against the collaborationist Vichy régime during World War II...

.

Papon under the Fourth Republic (1945–1958)



Although he was put into question by some Resistants after the war, Papon managed to escape being judged by the Comité départemental de libération
Comité départemental de libération
The Comité départemental de libération was a structure of the French Resistance. In 1944, in each department, the Resistance unified around a civil resistance structure and a military one...

 (CDL) of Bordeaux for his role during Vichy, in particular because he had been protected by Gaston Cusin. He also presented a certificate proving that he had taken part in the Resistance, although its authenticity was later rejected. The CDL were in charge of the epuration
Pursuit of Nazi collaborators
The pursuit of Nazi collaborators refers to the post-World War II pursuit and apprehension of individuals who were not citizens of the Third Reich at the outbreak of World War II and collaborated with the Nazi regime during the war...

. The Resistance in Bordeaux was very weak at the Liberation, and lacked members after internal dissensions divided it and because of German repression. Maurice Sabatier, Papon's mentor and chief, who stands accused by the CDL of having "boasted" that his prefecture was one of the most efficient concerning the "percentage" of "deportations", was only suspended for several months from his functions, retaining half of his salary, before being awarded the Legion of Honour
Légion d'honneur
The Legion of Honour, or in full the National Order of the Legion of Honour is a French order established by Napoleon Bonaparte, First Consul of the Consulat which succeeded to the First Republic, on 19 May 1802...

 in 1948.

Papon became chief of staff of the commissaire de la République
Commissioner of the Republic (Provisional Government)
The Commissioners of the Republic or Regional Commissioners of the Republic were government officials appointed as representatives of Charles de Gaulle by the Provisional Government of the French Republic between 1944 and 1946...

, a high civil servant status which replaced Vichy's prefects. In other words, he retained exactly the same functions that he had exercised during the war. This, despite that Charles de Gaulle
Charles de Gaulle
Charles André Joseph Marie de Gaulle was a French general and statesman who led the Free French Forces during World War II. He later founded the French Fifth Republic in 1958 and served as its first President from 1959 to 1969....

 "perfectly knew his past," according to Olivier Guichard
Olivier Guichard
Olivier Guichard was a French politician. He was born in Néac and joined the French Army in 1944 and served until the end of World War II, during which, he earned the Médaille militaire and the Croix de guerre. At the end of his life he also was a grand officer of the Légion d'honneur.In 1947, he...

 " De Gaulle had received him personally after the liberation of Bordeaux, in September 1944.

Papon was first named prefect of the Landes department in August 1944, and then chief of staff of the commissaire of the Republic of Aquitaine Gaston Cusin. When Cusin left Bordeaux, his successor, Jacques Soustelle
Jacques Soustelle
Jacques Soustelle was an important and early figure of the Free French Forces and an anthropologist specializing in pre-Columbian civilizations. He became vice-director of the Musée de l'Homme in Paris in 1938. He was elected to the Académie française in 1983.- Biography :Jacques Soustelle was...

, a Gaullist Resistant, confirmed Papon into his functions. A few months later, Maurice Bourgès-Maunoury
Maurice Bourgès-Maunoury
Maurice Jean Marie Bourgès-Maunoury was a French Radical politician who served as Prime Minister in the Fourth Republic during 1957.He is famous, especially, for fulfilling prominent ministerial role in the government during the Suez Crisis....

 also confirmed him there. Papon then became vice-director of Algeria
French rule in Algeria
French Algeria lasted from 1830 to 1962, under a variety of governmental systems. From 1848 until independence, the whole Mediterranean region of Algeria was administered as an integral part of France, much like Corsica and Réunion are to this day. The vast arid interior of Algeria, like the rest...

 at the Minister of Interior in October 1945. A year later, he became secretary of state to the Ministry of Interior Jean Biondi
Jean Biondi
Jean Dominique Biondi was French politician.Jean Biondi was born on the island of Corsica in the village of Sari-d'Orcino...

 (French Section of the Workers' International, SFIO).

Eric Roussel wrote that in the eyes of de Gaulle, "the authority of the state is so sacred, the danger constituted by the communists so intolerable, that he is disposed to accept without too much problems of conscience men who may have, for a fairly long time, worked for the account of Vichy." Papon was named prefect of Corsica
Corsica
Corsica is an island in the Mediterranean Sea. It is located west of Italy, southeast of the French mainland, and north of the island of Sardinia....

 in January 1947 by Léon Blum
Léon Blum
André Léon Blum was a French politician, usually identified with the moderate left, and three times the Prime Minister of France.-First political experiences:...

's government, and in October 1949 prefect of Constantine
Constantine, Algeria
Constantine is the capital of Constantine Province in north-eastern Algeria. It was the capital of the same-named French département until 1962. Slightly inland, it is about 80 kilometres from the Mediterranean coast, on the banks of Rhumel river...

 in Algeria by Radical Henri Queuille
Henri Queuille
Henri Queuille was a French Radical politician prominent in the Third and Fourth Republics. After World War II, he served three times as Prime Minister.He was the son of a noblewoman.-First ministry :...

's government (with SFIO member Jules Moch
Jules Moch
Jules Salvador Moch was a French politician.-Biography:...

 at the Interior). He went to Morocco
Morocco
Morocco , officially the Kingdom of Morocco , is a country located in North Africa. It has a population of more than 32 million and an area of 710,850 km², and also primarily administers the disputed region of the Western Sahara...

 in 1954 as general secretary of the protectorate, and helped crush the Moroccan nationalists
Nationalism
Nationalism is a political ideology that involves a strong identification of a group of individuals with a political entity defined in national terms, i.e. a nation. In the 'modernist' image of the nation, it is nationalism that creates national identity. There are various definitions for what...

. He returned to Constantine in 1956 during the Algerian War (1954–62), where he actively participated in the repression and the use of torture
Torture during the Algerian War
Elements of the French Armed Forces as well as of the opposing Algerian National Liberation Front made use of torture during the Algerian War of Independence , creating an ongoing public controversy. Pierre Vidal-Naquet estimates that there were "possibly hundreds of thousands of instances of...

 against the civilian population

Prefect of Police of Paris (1958–1967)


In March 1958, Papon was named Prefect of Police
Prefecture of Police
The Prefecture of Police , headed by the Prefect of Police , is an agency of the Government of France which provides the police force for the city of Paris and the surrounding three suburban départements of Hauts-de-Seine, Seine-Saint-Denis, and Val-de-Marne...

 for Paris by Félix Gaillard
Félix Gaillard
Félix Gaillard d'Aimé was a French Radical politician who served as Prime Minister under the Fourth Republic from 1957 to 1958. He was the youngest head of a French government since Napoleon.-Career:...

 (Radical)'s government. He thus had an important role in the May 1958 crisis
May 1958 crisis
The May 1958 crisis was a political crisis in France during the turmoil of the Algerian War of Independence which led to the return of Charles de Gaulle to political responsibilities after a ten year absence...

 which brought de Gaulle to power and lead to the founding of the Fifth Republic
French Fifth Republic
The Fifth Republic is the fifth and current republican constitution of France, introduced on 4 October 1958. The Fifth Republic emerged from the collapse of the French Fourth Republic, replacing the prior parliamentary government with a semi-presidential system...

. He took part in the Gaullist
Gaullism
Gaullism is a French political ideology based on the thought and action of Resistance leader then president Charles de Gaulle.-Foreign policy:...

 confidential meetings which assured the instrumentalization of the crisis, preparing de Gaulle's nomination as President of the Council, which granted him extraordinary powers. On July 3, 1958, he managed to get what, according to Le Monde, he could "never have dreamed of": a "Carte d'Ancien Combattant de la Resistance
Médaille de la Résistance
The French Médaille de la Résistance was awarded by General Charles de Gaulle "to recognise the remarkable acts of faith and of courage that, in France, in the empire and abroad, have contributed to the resistance of the French people against the enemy and against its accomplices since June 18,...

". On July 12, 1961, president Charles de Gaulle
Charles de Gaulle
Charles André Joseph Marie de Gaulle was a French general and statesman who led the Free French Forces during World War II. He later founded the French Fifth Republic in 1958 and served as its first President from 1959 to 1969....

 bestowed on him the French Legion of Honour
Légion d'honneur
The Legion of Honour, or in full the National Order of the Legion of Honour is a French order established by Napoleon Bonaparte, First Consul of the Consulat which succeeded to the First Republic, on 19 May 1802...

 for service to the state.

Papon oversaw the repression during the Paris massacre of 1961
Paris massacre of 1961
The Paris massacre of 1961 was a massacre in Paris on 17 October 1961, during the Algerian War . Under orders from the head of the Parisian police, Maurice Papon, the French police attacked a demonstration of some 30,000 pro-FLN Algerians...

: on October 17, 1961, a peaceful march organized by the Algerian National Liberation Front
National Liberation Front (Algeria)
The National Liberation Front is a socialist political party in Algeria. It was set up on November 1, 1954 as a merger of other smaller groups, to obtain independence for Algeria from France.- Anticolonial struggle :...

 contravened a curfew imposed by Papon. 11,000 persons were arrested by the police, simply because of their appearance. They were mostly people from the Maghreb
Maghreb
The Maghreb is the region of Northwest Africa, west of Egypt. It includes five countries: Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, and Mauritania and the disputed territory of Western Sahara...

, but also included Spanish
Spanish people
The Spanish are citizens of the Kingdom of Spain. Within Spain, there are also a number of vigorous nationalisms and regionalisms, reflecting the country's complex history....

, Portuguese
Portuguese people
The Portuguese are a nation and ethnic group native to the country of Portugal, in the west of the Iberian peninsula of south-west Europe. Their language is Portuguese, and Roman Catholicism is the predominant religion....

 and Italians
Italian people
The Italian people are an ethnic group that share a common Italian culture, ancestry and speak the Italian language as a mother tongue. Within Italy, Italians are defined by citizenship, regardless of ancestry or country of residence , and are distinguished from people...

. These detainees were sent, in a tragic echo of the Vichy regime, on public buses to the Parc des Expositions, the Winter Velodrome, and other such centers which had been used under Vichy as internment centers
Concentration camps in France
There were internment camps and concentration camps in France before, during and after World War II. Beside the camps created during World War I to intern German, Austrian and Ottoman civilian prisoners, the Third Republic opened various internment camps for the Spanish refugees fleeing the...

. A massacre occurred in the courtyards of the Prefecture of Police, while the detainees were held without specific charges. In the following days at the Parc des Expositions, detainees were subject to inhumane treatments. Arrests continued during all the month of October 1961. Meanwhile bodies were found floating in the Seine River.

Up to 200 people were killed during these events, according to leading historian Jean-Luc Einaudi. Because some archives have been destroyed and others remain classified, the exact number of the dead remains unknown. At the time, the French government, headed by Charles de Gaulle
Charles de Gaulle
Charles André Joseph Marie de Gaulle was a French general and statesman who led the Free French Forces during World War II. He later founded the French Fifth Republic in 1958 and served as its first President from 1959 to 1969....

 with Roger Frey
Roger Frey
Roger Frey was a French politician. He was Minister of the Interior and president of the Constitutional Council of France.-Monokini prosecution:...

 as Interior Minister, only admitted 2 dead. A government inquiry in 1999 concluded 48 drownings on the one night and 142 similar deaths of Algerians in the weeks before and after, 110 of whom were found in the Seine; it also concluded the true toll was almost certainly higher. According to Le Monde, Papon "organized the silence". It wasn't until the 1990s until historians began to speak out. The French government reluctantly recognized 48 deaths, although the Paris Archives consulted by historian David Assouline
David Assouline
David Assouline is a member of the Senate of France, representing the city of Paris. First elected to the Senate on 26 September 2004, he is a member of the Socialist Party...

 register 70 persons dead. Papon never acknowledged any responsibility for this massacre.

Papon was also in charge during the February 8, 1962 demonstration against the OAS pro-"French Algeria" terrorist group. Organized by the French Communist Party
French Communist Party
The French Communist Party is a political party in France which advocates the principles of communism.Although its electoral support has declined in recent decades, the PCF retains a large membership, behind only that of the Union for a Popular Movement , and considerable influence in French...

 (PCF), it had been prohibited by the state. Nine members of the Confédération Générale du Travail
Confédération générale du travail
The General Confederation of Labour is a national trade union center, the first of the five major French confederations of trade unions.It is the largest in terms of votes , and second largest in terms of membership numbers.Its membership decreased to 650,000 members in 1995-96 The General...

 (CGT) trade union, most of them communists
French Communist Party
The French Communist Party is a political party in France which advocates the principles of communism.Although its electoral support has declined in recent decades, the PCF retains a large membership, behind only that of the Union for a Popular Movement , and considerable influence in French...

, were killed at Charonne métro station by the police forces, directed by the same Maurice Papon under the same government, with Roger Frey
Roger Frey
Roger Frey was a French politician. He was Minister of the Interior and president of the Constitutional Council of France.-Monokini prosecution:...

 as Minister of Interior, Michel Debré
Michel Debré
Michel Jean-Pierre Debré was a French Gaullist politician. He is considered the "father" of the current Constitution of France, and was the first Prime Minister of the Fifth Republic...

 as Prime minister and Charles de Gaulle
Charles de Gaulle
Charles André Joseph Marie de Gaulle was a French general and statesman who led the Free French Forces during World War II. He later founded the French Fifth Republic in 1958 and served as its first President from 1959 to 1969....

 as president, who did all they could to "dissimulate the scale of the October 17 crime" (Jean-Luc Einaudi ). The funerals on February 13, 1962 of the nine persons killed (among them, Fanny Dewerpe) were attended by hundreds of thousands of people. On 8 February 2007 the Place du 8 Février 1962
Place du 8 Février 1962
The Place du 8 Février 1962 is a public square located in the 11th arrondissement of Paris, specifically in the Charonne district, at the intersection of the Rue de Charonne and the Boulevard Voltaire....

, a square nearby the metro station was dedicated by Bertrand Delanoë
Bertrand Delanoë
Bertrand Delanoë is a French politician, and has been the mayor of Paris since 2001. He is member of the Socialist Party . Delanoë was born in Tunis, Tunisia to a French-Tunisian father and a French mother...

, the mayor of Paris, after sprays of flowers were deposited at the foot of a commemorative plaque installed inside the metro station where the killings occurred.

Papon was forced to leave his functions after the kidnapping, in Paris, of Mehdi Ben Barka
Mehdi Ben Barka
Mehdi Ben Barka was a Moroccan politician, head of the left-wing National Union of Popular Forces and secretary of the Tricontinental Conference...

, Moroccan dissident and leader of the Tricontinental Conference, in October 1965. Two French police agents, as well as French secret agents, participated in this "disappearance
Forced disappearance
In international human rights law, a forced disappearance occurs when a person is secretly abducted or imprisoned by a state or political organization or by a third party with the authorization, support, or acquiescence of a state or political organization, followed by a refusal to acknowledge the...

" orchestrated at the minimum by Moroccan Interior Minister Mohamed Oufkir
Mohamed Oufkir
General Mohammad Oufkir was a Moroccan Berber politician.As the right hand man of king Hassan II in the 1960s and early 1970s, Oufkir led government supervision of politicians, unionists and the religious establishment...

, which remains to this day a mysterious case involving various international intelligence agencies (Ben Barka was preparing a meeting the next year in Havana
Havana
Havana is the capital city, province, major port, and leading commercial centre of Cuba. The city proper has a population of 2.1 million inhabitants, and it spans a total of — making it the largest city in the Caribbean region, and the most populous...

 aiming to gather all anti-colonialist
Colonialism
Colonialism is the establishment, maintenance, acquisition and expansion of colonies in one territory by people from another territory. It is a process whereby the metropole claims sovereignty over the colony and the social structure, government, and economics of the colony are changed by...

 parties from all continents). De Gaulle was forced to ask Papon to resign at the start of 1967; he was succeeded by Maurice Grimaud
Maurice Grimaud
Maurice Grimaud was the French Prefect of Police, or police chief, of the city of Paris during the May 1968 general strikes and student uprisings. He is credited with avoiding an escalation of violence and bloodshed during May 1968 unrest.Grimaud was born in Annonay, Ardèche, on November 11, 1913...

 as prefect of police.

CEO and Government Minister (1967–1981)


De Gaulle helped Papon become president of the company Sud Aviation
Sud Aviation
Sud-Aviation was a French state-owned aircraft manufacturer, originating from the merger of Sud-Est and Sud-Ouest on March 1, 1957...

 (1967–68). The firm, which later merged into Aérospatiale
Aérospatiale
Aérospatiale was a French aerospace manufacturer that built both civilian and military aircraft, rockets and satellites. It was originally known as Société Nationale Industrielle Aérospatiale...

, built the first Concorde
Concorde
Aérospatiale-BAC Concorde was a turbojet-powered supersonic passenger airliner, a supersonic transport . It was a product of an Anglo-French government treaty, combining the manufacturing efforts of Aérospatiale and the British Aircraft Corporation...

 plane in 1969. During May 1968, he wrote: "Is it the return of the Occupation? The young German anarchist
Anarchy
Anarchy , has more than one colloquial definition. In the United States, the term "anarchy" typically is meant to refer to a society which lacks publicly recognized government or violently enforced political authority...

 [Daniel] Cohn-Bendit
Daniel Cohn-Bendit
Daniel Marc Cohn-Bendit is a Franco-German politician, active in both countries. He was a student leader during the unrest of May 1968 in France and he was also known during that time as Dany le Rouge...

 is freely arranging the riots." The new chief of the Paris police managed to take care of the situation without a single death.

Papon was elected deputy of Cher as candidate of the Union of Democrats for the Republic (UDR, Gaullist Party
Gaullist Party
In France, the Gaullist Party is usually used to refer to the largest party professing to be Gaullist. Gaullism claimed to transcend the left/right rift...

) in May 1968. He was re-elected in 1973 and in 1978 (as member of the Rally for the Republic
Rally for the Republic
The Rally for the Republic , was a French right-wing political party. Originating from the Union of Democrats for the Republic , it was founded by Jacques Chirac in 1976 and presented itself as the heir of Gaullism...

 (RPR) neo-Gaullist party). He was also elected mayor of Saint-Amand-Montrond
Saint-Amand-Montrond
Saint-Amand-Montrond is a commune in the Cher department in the Centre region of France.-Geography:A small town of farming and a little light industry situated some southeast of Bourges, at the junction of the D951 with the D300 and D2144 roads....

 in 1971 and 1977.

Papon was also director of the Verreries mécaniques champenoises, a glass art
Glass art
Studio glass or glass sculpture is the modern use of glass as an artistic medium to produce sculptures or three-dimensional artworks. Specific approaches include working glass at room temperature cold working, stained glass, working glass in a torch flame , glass beadmaking, glass casting, glass...

 firm in Reims
Reims
Reims , a city in the Champagne-Ardenne region of France, lies east-northeast of Paris. Founded by the Gauls, it became a major city during the period of the Roman Empire....

. In the evening of June 4–5, 1977, a commando shot on workers on strike
Strike action
Strike action, also called labour strike, on strike, greve , or simply strike, is a work stoppage caused by the mass refusal of employees to work. A strike usually takes place in response to employee grievances. Strikes became important during the industrial revolution, when mass labour became...

, killing Confédération générale du travail
Confédération générale du travail
The General Confederation of Labour is a national trade union center, the first of the five major French confederations of trade unions.It is the largest in terms of votes , and second largest in terms of membership numbers.Its membership decreased to 650,000 members in 1995-96 The General...

 (CGT) trade-unionist Pierre Maître and severely injuring two others. Four of the five members of the commando, adherents to the CFT
CFT
The three-letter abbreviation CFT may refer to:*-2β-Carbomethoxy-3β-tropane*California Federation of Teachers*Cardholder Funds Transfer*Cefatrizine*Chichester Festival Theatre*Class field theory*Classical field theory...

 "yellow trade-union
Company union
A company union is a trade union which is located within and run by a company or by the national government, and is not affiliated with an independent trade union. Company unions were outlawed in the United States by the 1935 National Labor Relations Act, due to their use as agents for interference...

" were arrested by the police. The leader of the commando and shooter (who received a 20 years jail sentence), as well as the driver were members of the Service d'Action Civique
Service d'Action Civique
The SAC , officially created in January 1960, was a Gaullist militia founded by Jacques Foccart, Charles de Gaulle's chief adviser for African matters, and Pierre Debizet, a former Resistant and official director of the group...

.

From 1968 to 1971, Papon was treasurer of the UDR party. He became President of the Finance Commission of the National Assembly in 1972 and was the deputy presenting the budget (rapporteur général du budget) from 1973 to 1978. He served as Budget Minister under Prime Minister
Prime Minister of France
The Prime Minister of France in the Fifth Republic is the head of government and of the Council of Ministers of France. The head of state is the President of the French Republic...

 Raymond Barre
Raymond Barre
Raymond Octave Joseph Barre was a French centre-right politician and economist. He was a Vice President of the European Commission and Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs under three Presidents and later served as Prime Minister under Valéry Giscard d'Estaing from 1976 until 1981...

 and President Valéry Giscard d'Estaing
Valéry Giscard d'Estaing
Valéry Marie René Georges Giscard d'Estaing is a French centre-right politician who was President of the French Republic from 1974 until 1981...

 from 1978 to 1981, before finishing his mayoral mandate in 1983 and renouncing political activity.

Papon's trial (1981–1998)



Evidence of his responsibility in the Holocaust
The Holocaust
The Holocaust , also known as the Shoah , was the genocide of approximately six million European Jews and millions of others during World War II, a programme of systematic state-sponsored murder by Nazi...

 emerged in 1981, and throughout the 1980s he fought a string of legal battles.

Le Canard enchaîné
Le Canard enchaîné
Le Canard enchaîné is a satirical newspaper published weekly in France. Founded in 1915, it features investigative journalism and leaks from sources inside the French government, the French political world and the French business world, as well as many jokes and humorous cartoons.-Early...

newspaper published an article titled "Papon, aide de camps. Quand un ministre de Giscard faisait déporter des juifs" (Papon, aider of concentration camps: When one of Giscard's ministers deported the Jews) on May 6, 1981, just before the presidential election
French presidential election, 1981
The French presidential election of 1981 took place on 10 May 1981, giving the presidency of France to François Mitterrand, the first Socialist president of the Fifth Republic....

 opposing Socialist
Socialist Party (France)
The Socialist Party is a social-democratic political party in France and the largest party of the French centre-left. It is one of the two major contemporary political parties in France, along with the center-right Union for a Popular Movement...

 candidate François Mitterrand
François Mitterrand
François Maurice Adrien Marie Mitterrand was the 21st President of the French Republic and ex officio Co-Prince of Andorra, serving from 1981 until 1995. He is the longest-serving President of France and, as leader of the Socialist Party, the only figure from the left so far elected President...

 and right-wing candidate Valéry Giscard d'Estaing
Valéry Giscard d'Estaing
Valéry Marie René Georges Giscard d'Estaing is a French centre-right politician who was President of the French Republic from 1974 until 1981...

. (Mitterrand won, defeating incumbent president Giscard.) The newspaper showed documents signed by Papon which demonstrated his responsibility in the deportation of 1,690 Jews of Bordeaux to Drancy
Drancy internment camp
The Drancy internment camp of Paris, France, was used to hold Jews who were later deported to the extermination camps. 65,000 Jews were deported from Drancy, of whom 63,000 were murdered including 6,000 children...

 from 1942 to 1944 These documents had been provided to the satirical newspaper by one of the survivors of Papon's raid, Michel Slitinsky, in the spring of 1981. He had received them from historian Michel Bergès, who had discovered them in February 1981 in the departmental archives.

Famous Nazi hunter
Nazi hunter
A Nazi-hunter is a private individual who tracks down and gathers information on alleged former Nazis, SS members and Nazi collaborators involved in the Holocaust, typically for use at trial on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity...

s Serge and Beate Klarsfeld
Serge and Beate Klarsfeld
Serge and Beate Klarsfeld are activists known for engaging in Holocaust documentation and anti-Nazi activism...

 helped bring him to trial, and Serge and his son Arno Klarsfeld represented the families of the victims. Other important collaborators, such as René Bousquet
René Bousquet
René Bousquet was a high-ranking French civil servant, who served as secretary general to the Vichy regime police from May 1942 to 31 December 1943.-Biography:...

, head of the French police under Vichy, were not sentenced (Bousquet was assassinated in 1993, and his adjoint, Jean Leguay
Jean Leguay
Jean Leguay was a high-ranking French civil servant complicit in the deportation of Jews from France.During the Vichy regime, Leguay was second-in-command to René Bousquet, general secretary of the National police in Paris. After the war he became president of Warner Lambert, Inc...

, died in 1989 after 10 years of indictment for crimes against humanity for his role in the Vel' d'Hiv Roundup of July 1942, for which President Jacques Chirac
Jacques Chirac
Jacques René Chirac is a French politician who served as President of France from 1995 to 2007. He previously served as Prime Minister of France from 1974 to 1976 and from 1986 to 1988 , and as Mayor of Paris from 1977 to 1995.After completing his studies of the DEA's degree at the...

 recognized in 1995 the responsibility of the French state). In memoirs that Papon had planned to write before his death, he criticized Chirac's official recognition of the involvement of the French state in the Holocaust.

Charges of crimes against humanity, complicity of assassination and abuse of authority were first brought against Papon in January 1983. Three months later, Papon sued the families of the victims for defamation, but eventually lost. The slow investigation was canceled in 1987 because of legal technicalities (a mistake by the investigating magistrate
Inquisitorial system
An inquisitorial system is a legal system where the court or a part of the court is actively involved in investigating the facts of the case, as opposed to an adversarial system where the role of the court is primarily that of an impartial referee between the prosecution and the defense...

). New charges were laid in 1988, in October 1990, and in June 1992. The investigation was finished in July 1995. In December 1995, Papon was sent to the Cour d'Assises
Cour d'assises
A French cour d'assises or Assize Court is a criminal trial court with original and appellate limited jurisdiction to hear cases involving defendants accused of major felonies or indictable offences, or crimes in French, and one of the few to be decided by jury trialUnder French law, a crime is any...

, accused of organizing four deportation trains (later increased to eight trains).

Papon finally went to trial on October 8, 1997, after 14 years of bitter legal wrangling. The trial was the longest in French history, finishing on April 2, 1998.

Papon was accused of ordering the arrest and deportation of 1,560 Jews, including children and the elderly, between 1942 and 1944. As in Adolf Eichmann
Adolf Eichmann
Adolf Otto Eichmann was a German Nazi and SS-Obersturmbannführer and one of the major organizers of the Holocaust...

's trial in Jerusalem 30 years before, one of the issues of the trial was to determine to what extent an individual should be held responsible in a chain of responsibility. But the most important issue regarded France's responsibility towards the realisation of the Holocaust, insofar as the Vichy regime had willfully collaborated with Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

.

Papon's lawyers argued that he was merely a mid-level official, not the person making decisions about whom to deport. His lawyers even argued that he in fact did the most good he could given the circumstances, ensuring that those deported were treated well while in his custody. However, the prosecution argued that the defence of following orders was not sufficient, and that Papon bore at least some of the responsibility for the deportations. Furthermore, calling on assistance from the best historians of the period, they dismantled his arguments according to which he had in fact tried to "humanize" the conditions of deportations of the Jews. Thus, while Papon claimed that he had done the best he could to grant humane conditions of transport to the camp of Mérignac, historians show that in fact, his concerns were motivated by efficiency. Although Papon claimed that he had used ordinary trains, and not livestock trains as used by the SNCF
SNCF
The SNCF , is France's national state-owned railway company. SNCF operates the country's national rail services, including the TGV, France's high-speed rail network...

 in a lot of other transfers, this was not motivated by any ethical concern, but to prevent any demonstration of sympathy towards the Jews from the local population.

Many leading historians of the period were called in as "experts" during the trial, including Jean-Pierre Azéma
Jean-Pierre Azéma
-Early life:Azéma is the son of the Réunionese poet Jean-Henri Azéma. Jean-Henri was a collaborator with the black-shirted Milice during the occupation of France, and lived in exile in South America after the war.-Career:...

, André Kaspi, Marc-Olivier Baruch, Henry Rousso
Henry Rousso
Henry Rousso is a contemporary French historian specializing in World War II France.He studied at the École normale supérieure de Saint-Cloud, the Sorbonne, and the Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris....

, Denis Peschanski, Maurice Rajsfus, René Rémond
René Rémond
-Biography:Born in Lons-le-Saunier, Rémond was the Secretary General of Jeunesses étudiantes Catholiques and a member of the International YCS Center of Documentation and Information in Paris, presently the International Secretariat of International Young Catholic Students The author of books on...

, Jacques Delarue, Henri Amouroux
Henri Amouroux
Henri Amouroux was a French historian and journalist.-Life and career:Henri Amouroux was born in the French city of Périgueux on 1 July 1920. After studying at the ECJ, he began his career as a journalist during World War II and joined a French Resistance group based in Bordeaux...

, Michel Bergès, as well as US historian Robert Paxton
Robert Paxton
Robert O. Paxton is an American political scientist and historian specializing in Vichy France, fascism and Europe during the World War II era...

 and Swiss historian Philippe Burin. The defense tried to exclude Paxton's testimony, claiming that the international and national context was irrelevant; the magistrate dismissed this pretext, saying that crimes against "humanity" necessarily imply a larger context. Paxton, an expert in Vichy history, dismissed the "preconceived ideas" according to which Vichy had "hoped to protect French Jews" by handing "foreign Jews" over to the Germans. "From the start, at the summit, it was known that their departure [of the French Jews] was unavoidable." He recalled that "Italians had protected the Jews. And the French authorities complained about it to the Germans." Paxton therefore concluded that "The French state, itself, has participated to the politics of extermination of the Jews."

In his 36-minute final speech to the jury, Papon rarely evoked the victims of the Holocaust, but instead portrayed himself as a victim; of "the saddest chapter in French legal history." He even denounced a "Moscow Trial
Moscow Trials
The Moscow Trials were a series of show trials conducted in the Soviet Union and orchestrated by Joseph Stalin during the Great Purge of the 1930s. The victims included most of the surviving Old Bolsheviks, as well as the leadership of the Soviet secret police...

", going so far as to compare his status to Alfred Dreyfus
Alfred Dreyfus
Alfred Dreyfus was a French artillery officer of Jewish background whose trial and conviction in 1894 on charges of treason became one of the most tense political dramas in modern French and European history...

.

Having proved that Papon had organized eight "death trains", the plaintiffs' lawyers recommended that he be given a 20-year prison term, as opposed to the sentence of life imprisonment
Life imprisonment
Life imprisonment is a sentence of imprisonment for a serious crime under which the convicted person is to remain in jail for the rest of his or her life...

, which is usually the norm for such crimes. Papon was convicted in 1998 and was given a 10-year prison term. His lawyers filed an appeal
Appeal
An appeal is a petition for review of a case that has been decided by a court of law. The petition is made to a higher court for the purpose of overturning the lower court's decision....

 before the Court of Cassation
Court of Cassation (France)
The French Supreme Court of Judicature is France's court of last resort having jurisdiction over all matters triable in the judicial stream but only scope of review to determine a miscarriage of justice or certify a question of law based solely on points of law...

. However, Papon had fled to Switzerland
Switzerland
Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....

 under an assumed name, in violation of French law which requires one to report to prison before the beginning of the appeal hearing. His appeal scheduled for 21 October 1999, was automatically denied by the Court because of this. France issued an international arrest warrant, and he was caught by Swiss police immediately and extradited. Papon, beginning on October 22, 1999, served time at the La Santé Prison
La Santé Prison
La Santé Prison is a prison operated by the Ministry of Justice located in the 14th arrondissement of Paris, France. It is one of the most famous prisons in France, with both VIP and high security wings....

 in Paris
Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

. Papon was also stripped of all his decorations; under French law, people convicted of severe crimes cannot be members of the Legion of Honour.

Papon's release in 2002


Papon applied for release on the grounds of poor health in March 2000, but President Jacques Chirac
Jacques Chirac
Jacques René Chirac is a French politician who served as President of France from 1995 to 2007. He previously served as Prime Minister of France from 1974 to 1976 and from 1986 to 1988 , and as Mayor of Paris from 1977 to 1995.After completing his studies of the DEA's degree at the...

 denied the petition three times. He continued to fight legal battles while in prison, taking his appeal to the European Court of Human Rights
European Court of Human Rights
The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg is a supra-national court established by the European Convention on Human Rights and hears complaints that a contracting state has violated the human rights enshrined in the Convention and its protocols. Complaints can be brought by individuals or...

, where he argued the French court's denial of his appeal on a technicality (rather than on the merits of the case) constituted a violation of his right to appeal his conviction. The Court agreed in July 2002, admonishing the Court of Cassation
Court of Cassation (France)
The French Supreme Court of Judicature is France's court of last resort having jurisdiction over all matters triable in the judicial stream but only scope of review to determine a miscarriage of justice or certify a question of law based solely on points of law...

 and awarding Papon FF
French franc
The franc was a currency of France. Along with the Spanish peseta, it was also a de facto currency used in Andorra . Between 1360 and 1641, it was the name of coins worth 1 livre tournois and it remained in common parlance as a term for this amount of money...

429,192 (approx.
Euro
The euro is the official currency of the eurozone: 17 of the 27 member states of the European Union. It is also the currency used by the Institutions of the European Union. The eurozone consists of Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg,...

65,400) in legal costs, but no damages.

Meanwhile, Papon's lawyers had been pursuing a separate appeal in France, petitioning for his release under the terms of a March 2002 law, issued by Bernard Kouchner
Bernard Kouchner
Bernard Kouchner is a French politician, diplomat, and doctor. He is co-founder of Médecins Sans Frontières and Médecins du Monde...

, which provided for the release of ill and elderly prisoners to receive outside medical care. His doctors affirmed that Papon, by this time 92 years old, was essentially incapacitated, so he became the second person released under the terms of the law, leaving jail on September 18, 2002, less than 3 years into his sentence. Former Justice Minister Robert Badinter
Robert Badinter
Robert Badinter is a high-profile French criminal lawyer, university professor and politician mainly known for his struggle against the death penalty, the abolition of which he successfully sponsored in Parliament in 1981...

 gave him an unexpected support, prompting indignation from the family of the victims and lawyers Arno and Serge Klarsfeld

This angered the relatives of Papon's victims and human rights
Human rights
Human rights are "commonly understood as inalienable fundamental rights to which a person is inherently entitled simply because she or he is a human being." Human rights are thus conceived as universal and egalitarian . These rights may exist as natural rights or as legal rights, in both national...

 NGOs, who were quick to point out that many other detainees did not benefit from that law (including detainees in terminal stages of AIDS
AIDS
Acquired immune deficiency syndrome or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome is a disease of the human immune system caused by the human immunodeficiency virus...

, or Nathalie Ménigon
Nathalie Ménigon
Nathalie Ménigon was born 28 February 1957 in Enghien-les-Bains . She was convicted for acts of terrorism committed while she was a member of the French revolutionary group Action directe...

, a member of Action Directe still imprisoned , despite suffering of partial hemiplegia
Hemiplegia
Hemiplegia /he.mə.pliː.dʒiə/ is total paralysis of the arm, leg, and trunk on the same side of the body. Hemiplegia is more severe than hemiparesis, wherein one half of the body has less marked weakness....

, etc.) The Ligue des droits de l'homme (LDH, Human Rights League) criticized the inequality before the law, under which Papon was freed while other prisoners did not have this luck.

Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

i officials also expressed dismay: government spokesman Avi Pazner
Avi Pazner
Amb. Avi Pazner is the World Chairman of Keren Hayesod - United Israel Appeal.Born in Danzig , immigrated to Israel with his family at the age of 16. Graduated from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem with a degree in Political Science and Economics, served in the Foreign Ministry from 1965...

 – a former ambassador to France – said he was personally "stunned and outraged" by Papon's release. Jewish groups opposed his release because they said he showed no remorse
Remorse
Remorse is an emotional expression of personal regret felt by a person after he or she has committed an act which they deem to be shameful, hurtful, or violent. Remorse is closely allied to guilt and self-directed resentment...

 for his actions. "It's a difficult decision for us Israelis to accept given the abominable crimes of which Papon was convicted," Israeli President Moshe Katzav said in 2002.

Papon's funeral: the last controversy


In March 2004, the chancery of the Legion of Honour accused Papon of wearing his decoration (which he was stripped of after his conviction) illegally while being photographed for a press interview for Le Point
Le Point
Le Point is a French weekly news magazine. It was founded in 1972 by a group of journalists who had, one year earlier, left the editorial team of L'Express, which was then owned by Jean-Jacques Servan-Schreiber, a député of the Parti Radical...

. He was tried and fined €2,500.

In February 2007, Papon underwent what was thought to be successful heart surgery to correct problems with congestive heart failure
Congestive heart failure
Heart failure often called congestive heart failure is generally defined as the inability of the heart to supply sufficient blood flow to meet the needs of the body. Heart failure can cause a number of symptoms including shortness of breath, leg swelling, and exercise intolerance. The condition...

, but died a few days later on February 17 at the age of 96.

His attorney, Francis Vuillemin, declared that Papon should be buried with insignias of Commander of the Legion of Honour. This triggered indignation from all French political parties, except Jean-Marie Le Pen
Jean-Marie Le Pen
Jean-Marie Le Pen is a French far right-wing and nationalist politician who is founder and former president of the Front National party. Le Pen has run for the French presidency five times, most notably in 2002, when in a surprise upset he came second, polling more votes in the first round than...

's far-right National Front. Bernard Accoyer
Bernard Accoyer
Bernard Accoyer is a French politician who is currently the President of the National Assembly of France, as well as the Mayor of Annecy-le-Vieux.-Biography:...

, head of the UMP
Union for a Popular Movement
The Union for a Popular Movement is a centre-right political party in France, and one of the two major contemporary political parties in the country along with the center-left Socialist Party...

 group in the French National Assembly
French National Assembly
The French National Assembly is the lower house of the bicameral Parliament of France under the Fifth Republic. The upper house is the Senate ....

, suggested that, as high chancellor of the Order of the Legion of Honour, President Chirac might personally intervene to prevent this, but Papon was eventually buried with the insignia on February 21, 2007. A son of one of Papon's victims observed, "Besides being a remorseless dead man, he also wishes to remain a vengeful one."

Quotes


In a 36-minute final speech to the French war crimes jury:
  • "I say, be careful that France does not get hurt by this verdict outside our borders."
  • "It would be a humiliation for our nation to be linked with Nazi Germany in its responsibility for Jewish genocide
    Genocide
    Genocide is defined as "the deliberate and systematic destruction, in whole or in part, of an ethnic, racial, religious, or national group", though what constitutes enough of a "part" to qualify as genocide has been subject to much debate by legal scholars...

    ."
  • "France should not be accused of this horror just because it took place on her soil."
  • "Sometimes I ask myself, why me?"
  • "What should one have done?"
  • "[The prosecution has distorted the truth and] cast aside the law to obey higher orders."
  • "This is what is called a political trial."
  • "Staying in one's post sometimes takes more courage than resigning."
  • "I am either guilty or innocent! It's all or nothing."


See also


  • Klaus Barbie
    Klaus Barbie
    Nikolaus 'Klaus' Barbie was an SS-Hauptsturmführer , Gestapo member and war criminal. He was known as the Butcher of Lyon.- Early life :...

  • Paul Touvier
    Paul Touvier
    Paul Touvier was a French Nazi collaborator. In 1994, he was the first Frenchman convicted of crimes against humanity for his actions in Vichy France.- Early life :...

  • Serge Klarsfeld
  • 1961 Paris Massacre


External links