Operation Yellow Star / Black Thursday by Maurice Rajsfus

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Rajsfus’ eyewitness, unblinking account of the events in Vichy France is journalistic, yet a passionately written j’accuse against the French collaborators and those who want to erase the devastating atrocities he witnessed.
-NY Journal of Books

Synopsis

A two-volume book in which Maurice Rajsfus, a French activist and former investigative journalist for Le Monde, shares his research and personal recollections in order to shed new light on France's role in the Holocaust. In the first volume, "Operation Yellow Star," Rajsfus meticulously analyzes archival documents, demonstrating the extent of police collaboration with the Vichy regime and how it facilitated the persecution, deportation, and ultimately the death of hundreds of thousands of Jews. Examining long-unseen arrest records and transcripts, Rajsfus seeks to understand how and why many average French citizens resisted Nazi occupation while others were willingly complicit. In the second book, "Black Thursday," Rajsfus recounts his own experiences of July 16, 1942, when he and his family were arrested as part of the Vel’ d'Hiv roundup, the largest ever in France, of 13,000 Jews. While most of those detained during the two-day sweep eventually died in Auschwitz, the author survived and has spent the rest of his life grappling with his country's betrayal. Together, the two volumes by Rajsfus offer a damning exposé of the bureaucracy of genocide, laying bare how cultural bias, political self-interest, and the influence of right-wing media led to the implementation of the Yellow Star as a segregationist device and determined France’s culpability in the Holocaust.

Maurice Rajsfus is the author of thirty books and from 1994–2012 he created and circulated "Que fait la police," a "Cop Watch" bulletin detailing human rights abuses. He lives in Paris with his wife, sons and grandchildren.

 

About Maurice Rajsfus

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Maurice Rajsfus: Maurice Rajsfus (b. 1928) is an activist and former investigative journalist for Le Monde. He is the author of 30 books, including many examining the Vichy regime and its legacy in French police culture. He has also written about Drancy concentration camp (Drancy, un camp de concentration très ordinaire, 1941-1944; Le Cherche midi, 2005) and Israel-Palestine, as well as co-authored several illustrated books about history. From 1994-2012 Rajsfus created and circulated "Que fait la police," a "Cop Watch" bulletin with press clippings detailing human rights abuses by French police and detailed in his book Je n'aime pas la police de mon pays – L'aventure du bulletin Que fait la police ? (1994-2012) (Libertalia, 2012). Other well-known works by Rajsfus include Les Silences de la police – 16 juillet 1942-17 octobre 1961 (l'Esprit frappeur, 2001), Le Chagrin et la colère (Le Cherche midi, 2005), Mai 68 sous les pavés, la répression : Mai 1968 - mars 1974 (Le Cherche midi, 1999), and Candide n'est pas mort (Le Cherche midi, 2008), which tackles the thorny issue of the anti-Semitism and legacy of France's famous author, Candide. Maurice Rajsfus lives in Paris with his wife, sons and grandchildren.Mike Mitchell: Mike Mitchell (b. 1941) is an award-winning translator of French and German who has been active as a translator for over thirty years. He is the recipient of the Schlegel-Tieck Prize for translations of German works published in Britain, has won the British Comparative Literature Association translation competition three times, and has been shortlisted for many awards including the French-American Translation Prize, the Weidenfeld prize, the Aristeion prize, the Kurt Wolff prize, and the Crime Writers' Association Gold Dagger. In 2012 the Austrian Ministry of Education, Art and Culture awarded him a lifetime achievement award as a translator of literary works. He lives in Scotland.Phyllis Aronoff: Phyllis Aronoff (b. 1945) has won the Jewish Literary Award for translation and the translation prize from the Quebec Writers’ Federation. She was president of the Literary Translators’ Association of Canada and from 2007-2015 represented translators on the Public Lending Right Commission of Canada.
 
Published June 5, 2017 by DoppelHouse Press. 288 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Education & Reference, Travel. Non-fiction
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NY Journal of Books

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Reviewed by Lew Whittington on Apr 04 2017

Rajsfus’ eyewitness, unblinking account of the events in Vichy France is journalistic, yet a passionately written j’accuse against the French collaborators and those who want to erase the devastating atrocities he witnessed.

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