Operation Yellow Star / Black Thursday

Maurice Rajsfus (Author) Mike Mitchell (Translator)
& 1 more

Product Details

$19.95  $18.35
Doppelhouse Press
Publish Date
June 27, 2017
6.0 X 9.4 X 0.7 inches | 1.06 pounds

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About the Author

Maurice Rajsfus (1928-2020) was an author and activist who worked as an investigative journalist at multiple French outlets, including at Le Monde. Of his many books, many dealt with the Vichy regime and its legacy in French police culture, focusing on police violence against immigrants and people of color. He also wrote about Drancy concentration camp and Israel-Palestine, as well as co-authoring several illustrated books about history. In 1990, Rajsfus and several friends founded "Ras l'Front," the anti-racist association of far-left-wing organizations extremely active in the 1990s against the rise of Le Pen and fascist/nationalist parties in France. They worked together and promoted leftist causes through a monthly publication as well as actions. He served as chairman from 1991-1999. From 1994-2012 Rajsfus created and circulated Que fait la police?, a "Cop Watch" bulletin with selections from his archive of over 40,000 press clippings detailing human rights abuses by French police. His books about the Vél d'Hiv raid and his experiences during WWII have been brought together to form the basis of a YA comic (Tartamudo editions) as well as a play written and directed by Philippe Ogouz, which was then adapted for film in 2010, Souvenirs d'un vieil enfant: La rafle du Vel' d'Hiv (Memories of an Old Child: The Roundup of the Vel' d'Hiv), directed by Alain Guesnier. Maurice Rajsfus is survived by two sons as well as several grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Read more about Rajsfus and his legacy at the link posted in our tribute.


Well researched and deeply personal, the accounts are powerful in their detail.
- San Francisco Book Review
If [Rajsfus] still wishes to recall how scrupulously -- and even with zeal -- the French police applied Nazi orders, he also wants to warn us against certain xenophobic or discriminatory speech still heard recently that could lead to behavior of that bygone age.
- Ekaitza
Maurice Rajsfus has devoted his life to denouncing and combating racism, fascism, intolerance, and police brutality, while putting in his texts a good dose of caustic irony.
- Jakilea, Basque Human Rights Defense League
Well documented ... essential for understanding and above all not forgetting. To this day there are still no pictures of the days of horror at the Velodrome d'Hiver.
- Clara Magazine
Through his sobering, exhaustive research Rajsfus chronicles the arrests, harassment, and deportations of Jews [in France].... Rajsfus' eyewitness, unblinking account of the events in Vichy France is a journalistic, yet passionately written j'accuse against the French collaborators and those who want to erase the [era's] devastating atrocities.
- Lew Whittington, New York Journal of Books
An interesting view into the field of investigative journalism as we follow the author's steps to find more information at the Archives de la Préfecture de Police de Paris [which] exposes the reluctance of the French police to come to terms with its own past. He also emphasizes the various problems faced by researchers studying the era in terms of access to archival material. This investigation touches on numerous issues of memory such as the role of bystanders and their apparent indifference, not only at the time of the events, but also as a memory of shameful collaboration.
- Patrick Fournier, H-France Review
An unsparing indictment of Paris police during the Nazi occupation.... The author's memory of July 16 is harrowing.... Besides commemorating his family's murder, Rajsfus raises awareness about how "the enemies of human rights are once more gaining ground," spouting xenophobia that is easily transferable to any minority group. A heartfelt, timely plea to remember past atrocities.
- Kirkus Reviews
Adept reporting and personal experience make for a gripping read... While each book is strong enough to stand on its own, Operation Yellow Star and Black Thursday together make an unusual, important, credibly researched, and skillfully written contribution to Holocaust literature.
- Susan Waggoner, Foreword Reviews
Maurice Rajsfus is not only a historian of the raid: he lived it in his flesh, saw it with his own eyes, and if he had not had the audacity and ingenuity of a Parisian street urchin, son of immigrant Polish Jews that he was, would have suffered the same fate as his parents, deported and assassinated in Auschwitz. Without making improper comparisons, the roundup of the Vél d'Hiv is a very current topic. Maurice Rajsfus' narrative can help us to grasp both the logic and the implications of a policy of exclusion of populations and communities who, because of their ethnic, national or religious origin, are not protected by the State of which they are a part.
- Michel Warschawski, author of On the Border, winner of Le Prix des Amis du Monde Diplomatique (2002)