January 30, 1997 in Nation/World

Long-Silent War Crimes Figure Claims French Jews Played Role

Compiled From Wire Services
 
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Maurice Papon, the former French official facing trial on charges of crimes against humanity in World War II, has broken a long silence and accused French Jews of helping to organize deportations to Nazi death camps.

Vigorously denying any guilt and blaming foreign forces in New York for orchestrating a campaign against France and him, Papon said that any “objective” trial of the collaborationist Vichy government would show that Jews “took part - under threat, of course - in these operations.”

Speaking in a television interview, his first public appearance in several years, Papon, 86, said he knew a prominent Jew living in France whose role was “to select those Jews who stayed in Drancy and those who were deported to Germany.” Drancy was a large French transit camp where Jews were held before being sent to Auschwitz and other camps.

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