Holocaust Remembrance Day in France Date in the current year: July 16, 2024

Holocaust Remembrance Day in France In 2005, the United Nations General Assembly designated January 27 as International Holocaust Remembrance Day commemorating the genocide that occurred during the Second World War. In addition, some countries whose Jewish population suffered huge losses during the war also observe their own national remembrance days. For example, Holocaust Remembrance Day in France is observed on July 16.

This date was chosen to commemorate the Vel’ d’Hiv Roundup (Rafle du Vel’ d’Hiv). It was a Nazi-directed raid and mass arrest in Paris by the French police, ratified by the collaborationist Vichy government. In July 1942, more than 13,000 Jews, mostly women and children, were arrested in Paris and its suburbs.

More than a half of the arrestees were held at the Vel’ d’Hiv (Vélodrome d’Hiver), an indoor bicycle racing cycle track in downtown Paris, in extremely crowded conditions. There was only one water tap and no sanitary facilities. The guards shot those who tried to escape on the spot, and some prisoners took their own lives. After five days, the prisoners were taken to internment camps and later to death camps.

In 1993, President François Mitterrand declared July 16 as the national day in memory of the victims of racist and antisemitic persecutions committed under the so-called French State (Vichy France, a collaborationist regime that existed from 1940 to 1944). Since 2000, the observance has also been dedicated to the French Righteous among the Nations (non-Jews who risked their lives to save Jews).

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