- Papon, Maurice
- (1911–2007)Papon served as secretary general of the Gironde Prefecture in Bordeaux, France, between May 1942 and August 1944. During this time, he signed orders to the French police to round up thousands of foreign-born Jews, who were sent to French concentration camps at Drancy in preparation for deportation to Auschwitz. But it was not until over a half a century later that he was tried by the French government, in October 1997, for these acts. In April 1998, Papon was found guilty by the French court of complicity in Nazi crimes against humanity. Papon, however, was absolved by the court of knowingly furthering Nazi plans for the extermination of the Jews.Because Papon after the war went on to become an official in the government of Charles de Gaulle, his conviction forced the French to reevaluate their role during the German occupation and the collaborationist Vichy government. Papon’s conviction raises questions as to whether there was a clean break between Vichy and the postwar French governments, and about the belief that the Gestapo and not the French police was responsible for the roundup of the Jews for deportation to the death camps.
Historical dictionary of the Holocaust. Jack R. Fischel. 2014.