The Vél d'Hiv Raid: The French Police at the Service of the Gestapo

Maurice Rajsfus (Author) Levi Laub (Translator)
& 1 more

Product Details

$18.95  $17.43
Doppelhouse Press
Publish Date
October 10, 2017
5.2 X 0.6 X 7.6 inches | 0.55 pounds
BISAC Categories:

Earn by promoting books

Earn money by sharing your favorite books through our Affiliate program.

Become an affiliate

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.


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
This episode represents a stain on the honor of the French nation, with its principles of liberty, fraternity, and equality and, in particular, the French police as it does other complicit nations and peoples. [...] As a Vél d'Hiv survivor himself, author Maurice Rajsfus has made a point of documenting, what is now effectively a trilogy, the entirety of France's ill-starred history with respect to its responsibilities regarding Jews and others who suffered in the Holocaust.
- Thomas McClung, New York Journal of Books
With passion and indignation, Maurice Rajsfus recounts the worst single crime of the Vichy regime in France: the pre-dawn arrest by French police, at German instigation, on July 16-17, 1942, of 13,152 Jewish men, women, and children, and their ordeal on the way to extermination. Rajsfus brings this terrible experience to life with contemporary texts - high-level Franco-German haggling, detailed police instructions, eye-witness testimony, and press commentary.
- Robert O. Paxton, author of Vichy France and the Jews
Maurice Rajsfus, a French Jewish survivor who witnessed this infamous roundup, dissects it in a workmanlike book, The Vel D'Hiv Raid: The French Police at the Service of the Gestapo, which was originally published in France 15 years ago. [...] Rajsfus, a former investigative reporter for Le Monde, was 14 years old when thousands of police, at Germany's request, arrested the Jews. His parents, immigrants from Poland, were swept up in the net and sent on to Auschwitz. He discusses this personally painful and unforgettable aspect in another book, Black Thursday: The Roundup of July 16, 1942.
- Sheldon Kirshner, The Times of Israel