Paris, France - List of Citizens Who Collaborated With Nazis to be Published Online
Paris France - Thousands of French citizens who collaborated with the Nazis during the Second World War will be unmasked when police reports from the era are finally made public and published online.
Since the liberation of Paris, the details of the collaborators have been kept hidden in cardboard boxes in the basement of the police museum in the French capital.
But now all of the files - which include information passed on to the Nazis by those who lived during the occupation of 1940 to 1944 - will be scanned and published online.
The released archive will include every police log from stations across France, as well as details of every arrest, fine and interview.
As well as shedding new light on the work of the Gestapo across France, the files will illuminate the role of the Brigade Speciale, which tracked down resistance fighters and other enemies of the Nazi regime.
At least 77,000 Jews were deported to their deaths from French transit camps between 1942 and the end of German occupation, in December 1944. Of these, around a third were French citizens and more than 8,000 were children under 13.
The plan to reveal the names of collaborators - many of whom have successfully covered up their wartime work - follows a dramatic ruling last year in Franceâ€™s highest court, which found that Nazi officials did not force the French to betray their fellow citizens, and that anti-Semitic persecution was carried out willingly.
In 1995, then President Jacques Chirac spoke for the first time about Franceâ€™s responsibility for the deportation of Jews, putting an end to decades of ambiguity by successive governments. â€śThe criminal folly of the occupiers was seconded by the French, by the French state,â€ť he said.
After capitulating to the German Blitzkrieg in just over a month, and surrendering Paris without a fight in June 1940, France embarked on a period of collaboration with the Nazis.
The Vichy government not only helped exterminate Jews but murdered thousands of other â€śundesirablesâ€ť including socialists, homosexuals and gypsies, and some Frenchmen joined the German army. Its soldiers were among those who fought for Hitler to the last, right up until the final Battle for Berlin.
All of the paperwork is officially protected by an official 75 year classification order issued by the post-war government. But work is already underway to preserve the faded, dog-eared documents for posterity. The material from 1940 will be published in 2015, with the subsequent documents to follow over the next four years.
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