A Forgotten Crime: Memories of the 1943 Marseille Roundup

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In this edition, we discover an unknown chapter in the history of France. In 1943, the Germans occupied Marseille, a port city in southern France. With its working-class, immigrant, and Jewish neighborhoods around the Old Port, the city had come to represent everything Hitler and the Nazis hated. The Germans, who saw in the districts of the Old Port a hotbed of the French Resistance, decided to make Marseille an example. They rounded up thousands of people, including hundreds of Jews who were then sent to a concentration camp, and destroyed an entire neighborhood.

Between January 22 and 24, 1943, some 6,000 Marseillais were arrested. More than 1,500 were subsequently deported, including nearly 800 Jews who were sent to the Sobibor extermination camp in Nazi-occupied Poland.

From February 1, 1943, an entire district near the Old Port was razed. Hundreds of homes were destroyed and 50 streets wiped off the map.

FRANCE 24’s Florence Gaillard and Georges Yazbek met survivors and descendants of victims of the Marseille roundup, who shared their harrowing stories.

Among them is Pascal Luongo, a lawyer who filed a criminal complaint in 2019 for crimes against humanity.


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