In photos: Jewish museum shares moving images of 1941 Paris roundup

The newly discovered pictures, sent to The Connexion after our previous article on their discovery, show the reality behind the first mass arrest of Jewish people in France during World War Two

19 May 2021
Rafle du Billet Vert

May 14, 1941. Outside the Gymnase Japy in Paris, Jewish men, escorted by French police, were made to board buses that would take them on to prison camps in France before they were transported to Auschwitz Pic: Mémorial de la Shoah

By Thomas Brent

A collection of newly discovered photos, now being exhibited outdoors in Paris, sheds light on the first mass arrest of Jewish people in France by French police during World War Two - an event known as the Rafle du Billet Vert (Green Ticket Roundup).

The pictures were sent to The Connexion after our article on their discovery and the history of the Green Ticket Roundup, which you can read here. They are currently on display outside the Gymnase Japy in Paris. 

On May 14, 1941, some 3,700 Czech and Polish Jews in and around Paris responded to a summons in the form of a green ticket and went to police stations to have their statuses verified.

On arriving, they were arrested and sent to prison camps in France. From there, the majority were shipped to Auschwitz where they were killed.

The Mémorial de la Shoah, a Holocaust museum in Paris, recently acquired five photo contact sheets containing 98 images of the event, showing for the first time the emotions and distress of the Jewish people. 

“Although the press reported on it at the time, the official images were dehumanising and humiliating for these foreign Jews,” The Mémorial de la Shoah wrote in a press release about the images.

“The emotion and distress of these families, as shown in these photos, are a rare illustration of the Shoah in France.”

Picture 182.3 - Inside the Gymnase Japy in Paris, where many of the Jewish people were summoned. This collection contains the first images from inside the hall. The Jewish men are crammed onto the upstairs balcony while a few policemen patrol the downstairs area. Photo: Mémorial de la Shoah

Outside the Gymnase Japy. Relatives, often wives and their children, were asked to separate from the men summoned. Photo: Mémorial de la Shoah

183.7 - Neighbours in the local area watch over the event from balconies and windows. Photo: Mémorial de la Shoah

After a few hours, the men left the Gymnase Japy under police guard and had to board buses for their transfer to the Gare d'Austerlitz. Photo: Mémorial de la Shoah

A last kiss Photo: Mémorial de la Shoah

This photo was taken the day after the roundup at either the Pithiviers or Beaune-la Rolande camp. The men had to move into cold and unsanitary barracks, which were under construction. Photo: Mémorial de la Shoah

This photo shows a French gendarme in a watchtower guarding the Beaune-la-Rolande camp. The photo was used in the 1955 French documentary film Night and Fog. The film had trouble with French censors, who were unhappy with the image of the French officer being featured in it. Photo: Mémorial de la Shoah

Resident or second-home owner in France?
Benefit from our daily digest of headlines and how-to's to help you make the most of life in France
By joining the newsletter, you agree to our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy
See more popular articles
The Connexion Help Guides
Income Tax in France 2021 (for 2020 income)*
Featured Help Guide
Order your Income Tax in France guide now for immediate digital access
Get news, views and information from France
You have 2 free subscriber articles left
Subscribe now to read unlimited articles and exclusive content
Already a subscriber? Log in now