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Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Vélodrome d’hiver

The The Vélodrome d’hiver (also called Vel' D'Hiv') is a little known horror occurring July 16 and 17th in Paris, France 1942. Known as "operation Spring Breeze" Jews were arrested in Paris and the suburbs, deported and then murdered/assassinated at Auschwutz. The nights the Jews were arrested 1,129 men, 2,910 women, and 4,115 children were innocently torn from their homes and packed into the Vélodrome in inhuman conditions for 6 days, by the government of the VIchy police, by order of the Nazi occupant. That means, these people, humans, were arrested and mistreated by the French police.Rumors had be flying the raids were going to happen, therefore many men went into hiding assuming the women and children would be safe. The Gestapo asked the French to deliver a certain "quota" of Jews between the ages of 16 and 50 to be sent to Auschwitz, but since most had gone into hiding and the French were nervous about reaching the quota, they sent woman and children instead. Many if not most of the children there were french born and all were between the ages of 2 and 12. The Gestapo at first had not asked that the children be sent. Deporting of children was very risky and would easily reveal the truth: that Jews were not being sent to work camps, but death camps. In the end, France sent nearly 8,000 Jews to death camps, their own citizens.
This event, along with everything associated to the Holocaust is a terrible and horrific event. I am deeply sadden that there is so little information out there on this event. I am even more upset that people blindly followed the orders of the Nazi's either out of fear, lack of information, blind faith or whatever it may be. i do believe after world war I, many were in turmoil and needed somewhere to turn, thus easily allowing Hitler to be that person. By no means should this have ever happened. God bless all those who tried to help the Jews and stand up for what is right. God bless everyone who lost someone fighting in the war or to a concentration as well as those who had to endure the camps, were able to survive and had to endure time without their loved ones.
I read in a book by Neil Gaiman that fear is contagious. Once someone is scared or fearful everyone around them becomes fearful too. I agree whole heartily with this statement on many levels. I also hope that we as a whole never become so scared again that something as horrific as the Holocaust is allowed to surface or even catch a breath of air.
I am currently reading Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay and it is about The Vélodrome d’hiver and is excellent. i highly suggest if one would like to read more. please think of all those lost to this event on this day the 67th anniversary of The Vélodrome d’hiver .