French Holocaust survivors dedicate `Wall of Names'
PARIS - France's Jewish community yesterday dedicated the "Wall of Names," a memorial identifying 76,000 Jews deported from France during World War II.
Famed Nazi hunter Serge Klarsfeld, one of 10 experts who compiled the list after gathering information from Gestapo documents and French families, said the wall showed the Holocaust has "become part of the public conscience at the level it should be."
The stone wall is located at the entrance to the renovated Holocaust Memorial in Paris' central Marais district, which is scheduled to be officially opened tomorrow by President Jacques Chirac. He will then go to Auschwitz for the memorial ceremony marking 60 years since the death camp was shut down.
"This wall keeps our innermost secrets in its stone and delivers them to those who pass," said former health minister Simone Veil, herself a survivor of Auschwitz - one of 2,500 deportees who returned to France alive.
"These names are those of your parents, grandparents, your children, brothers and sisters ... all those we loved before they were assassinated in abominable conditions," said Veil, who said she lost her parents, brother, sister, aunt and uncle in the Holocaust.
Conferences and exhibits, focusing heavily on education, will be held at the memorial.
Visitors will also be able to visit the basement crypt where ashes of some of the death camps' victims are kept.