France Confronts an Ignoble Chapter
The 1942 telegram signed by one of the highest officials of the collaborationist Vichy regime urged local prefects in unoccupied France “personally” to supervise the transfer of thousands of Jews to deportation camps.
“The head of state wants you to take personal control of the measures taken with regard to the foreign Jews,” wrote René Bousquet, who was Vichy’s chief of police at the time. “You should not hesitate to destroy any resistance you may encounter among these populations.”
The telegram was part of Bousquet’s legal file after he was formally accused in 1989 of crimes against humanity for orchestrating the roundup of Jews and for ordering the deportation of Jewish children. (He had largely escaped punishment for his collaboration just after the war, but was murdered in 1993 while the charges were being investigated.)