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Vel d’Hiv: 70 Years Later Hollande Meets the Darkest Part of French History

Information about Vel d'Hiv at the Bir Hakeim Metro Station, Paris.Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Djampa

Information about Vel d’Hiv at the Bir Hakeim Metro Station, Paris.
Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Djampa

Times have changed since Chirac’s speech. In 1995, the fight was for recognition, now France has accepted this part of its past. The past belongs to the past, and nothing can be changed. However, it is a duty not to forget what happened, to learn from our mistakes, and to try not to make the same mistakes again.

Consequently, after this recognition comes the management of this part of French history. Various institutions have been created and much research done to bring new points of view to this black mark on French history, in order to have a better understanding of the past.

However, many points will have to be clarified during François Hollande’s speech on Sunday July 22nd. The obligation to remember seems to be trivialized as a recent CSA survey shows, revealing that between 57% and 67% of 35 years olds or younger do not know even what the Vel d’Hiv roundup was. The memory is becoming normalized, and this is one of the challenges the President will have to face on Sunday. It is his job to make sure that people do not forget what happened exactly 70 years ago.

Furthermore, there has been a recent increase in anti-Semitic attacks and protests in France, making this speech and its timing ever more important. Sunday’s speech must be about recognition, but it also has to be about raising awareness, so as to make the citizens of France feel more concerned about their common history in order to better analyze the current state of events and more solutions going forward.

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  1. […] response to the recent RSA survey, Hollande committed himself to remembering this part of French history, “There cannot be, there […]

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