Sarah's Key Vel d'Hiv
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Jacques Chirac

Jacques Chirac | Sarah's Key Vel d'Hiv | Scoop.it
Kate's insight:

This is an image of Jacques Chirac, a former president of France, giving a speech in 1995.  In this 1995 speech he formally accepted France's involvement in the roundup of French Jews and turning them over to the Nazi's.  In the past, the government had denied involvement and tried to destroy all files containing any details.  Despite this acceptance, many French citizens remain hushed about the topic.  The speech was mentioned several times in Sarah's Key.

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Vel d'Hiv

Vel d'Hiv | Sarah's Key Vel d'Hiv | Scoop.it
Kate's insight:

This picture is a real picture of when they French Police rounded up Jews and brought them to the Vel d'Hiv.  Here they were for numerous days with no food and water and terrible sanitary conditions.  Many people died while they were here, as disease was rampid.  The building was a bicycle stadium in Paris and was in the 15th arrondissement of Paris.  The picture show people everywhere, sleeping on the ground and huddling near family. 

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Holocaust Survivors’ Services | Bet Tzedek

Holocaust Survivors’ Services | Bet Tzedek | Sarah's Key Vel d'Hiv | Scoop.it
Kate's insight:

This is a website of an organization who helps survivors of the Holocaust.  They provide free legal help to those who need it.  They also help them get the reperations and pensions they deserve from Germany and other European countries. The organization, based in Los Angeles, is affiliated with The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles. What they do is great work and help many deserving survivors of the horrific acts of the Nazi's. 

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Those Who Save Us

Those Who Save Us | Sarah's Key Vel d'Hiv | Scoop.it
For fifty years, Anna Schlemmer has refused to talk about her life in Germany during World War II. Her daughter, Trudy, was only three wh...
Kate's insight:

This book is also about a litle girl who survived the holocaust.  After being liberated at a very young age she didn't remember anything.  When she is older she searches for details on what she and her mother went through.  I intend to read this book as it seems very similar to Sarah's Key in that she is searching for details, like Julia, to discover a dark past during the Holocaust.  I like stories about this time period and I like the mystery of people trying to discover the truth. 

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Sarah's Key

Sarah's Key | Sarah's Key Vel d'Hiv | Scoop.it
Paris, July 1942: Sarah, a ten year-old girl, is brutally arrested with her family by the French police in the Vel' d'Hiv' roundup, but n...
Kate's insight:

    Sarah's Key is a novel dealing with two intertwining stories set in France.  First is the story of Sarah, a little girl who is a French Jew, who is round up along with her family during one of the nights of the Vel d'Hiv.  Sarah, trying to protect her little brother, locks him in the cupboard thinking she will be able to return and let him out.  Her family ends up being sent to a concentration camp and she is even separated from both of her parents. Despite this, she doesn't give up hope in rescuing her little brother.  The other part of the story is set in modern day France, where an American Journalist, Julia, is going to be moving into an apartment that has been passed down in her husbands family.  Julia discovers a dark secret about the family who used to live in the apartment during her research for her work, Sarah's family. We learn along with Julia as she works to discover all about Sarah's tragic and heart-wrenching story, after she escapes from a concentration camp and attempts to go back and save her brother, we also watch as Julia's life begins to crumble as she is uncovering this dark secret. She still works on uncovering the truth despite her husband  telling her to stop because she is really angered by this because the French really don't care about what happened that night.  After eventually catching a lead as to where Sarah ends up, she decides to put her personal life in turmoil and makes a decision about her pregnancy, she keeps the baby, that will possibly destroy her marriage and tracks down Sarah to know what became of her. When she meets Sarah's family, the family that adopted her when she escaped and her family she made in America and she tries to apologize and they tell her she has nothing to be sorry about. She responds that she does, Julia says, "Sorry for not knowing.  Sorry for being forty-five years old and not knowing" (Rosnay 192).   Once she uncovers it, Julia reveals the truth to Sarah's son, William.  Once her journey has finally come to an end, she has to return to France in order to say goodbye to a dear relative.  When she is there, the truth about all of her discoveries, her new friendship with her father-in-law, as well as things in her personal life, like her pregnancy, come out in front of her husband and his family and eventually ends her marriage.
   The theme of this story is humanity.  There are so many aspects of humanity that are addressed, from the obvious ones in the concentration camps and roundups of French citizens by French police, and the brutality that came along with all of that. To the more modern day issues as to pregnancy and life and family ties.  In the past, we watch families get separated and deal with deep tragedies as well as the reactions of the people around who are witnessing all of this. In the modern day we watch as a family separates due to the issue of what happened in the past as well as issues of pregnancy, cheating, and trust.  The value of family is really addressed.  Who is your family, not if by blood but just by trust.  And to what length's would you go to to protect your family.    

   I would definitely recommend this book to anyone interested in the events of the Holocaust or anyone just looking for a good book to read.  The historical information in it was not so prominent that it made it boring but it still made it interesting and I definitely learned something.  With the two different stories the book was following it gave me a lot to think about as a reader.  It kept me guessing at the turn of every page and I was just dying to know the whole time if Julia would ever find out the truth about what happened to Sarah and what would happen to Julia as the result of her findings.

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Elle s'appelait Sarah (2010)

Directed by Gilles Paquet-Brenner. With Kristin Scott Thomas, Mélusine Mayance, Niels Arestrup, Frédéric Pierrot.
Kate's insight:

This is a movie made after the book, Sarah's Key. The author of the book, Tatiana De Rosnay, was even one of the screenwriters of the film.  The movie was released in 2010.  It was originally in French but there is an English version.  It was nominated at several film festivals and won at the Tokyo film festival.  After reading the book, I would like to see the movie to see if it portrayed the book well.

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Search Result Documen Chirac Affirms France's Guilt In Fate of Jews

World History In Context
Kate's insight:

  This article is a summary of President Jacques Chirac's speech that announced for the first time ever that France was indeed responsible for rounding up thousands of its own citizens and sending them to Nazi concentration camps. This was a big step in French history because his predecessors, including Francois Mitterrand, who said France was innocent, it was the Vichy government who was responsible. It also discusses the reactions from many Jewish leaders as well as people who fought the Nazi's as being delighted about France's recognition. Despite the large amounts of positive feedback, some people were still angered about a Vichy official in his 80's, Maurice Papon, who has yet to be tried for his involvement, as well as the fact that the family's of those who were deported and killed never recieved any sort of compensation for their losses or all the property that was stolen from them.
  This speech, given by Jacques Chirac, was mentioned several times in the novel, Sarah's Key. Julia was thrilled that someone had actually recognized it but the thing is that even after it being recognized the French citizens were still ashamed. In Julia's research she asked some of her co-workers what they knew about the event and some knew nothing and some knew very little. When she was talking to her co-worker Christophe she asked, "'I've been researching this for the past week,' I said. 'German orders yes, but French police action. Weren't you taught this in school?' 'I can't remember, I don't think so,' admitted Christophe" (Rosnay 43). She was angered by this so much. Even when asking questions her only family asked her to stop bringing up the topic. It was something that was not discussed in France, despite the French government admitting they were involved. These things motivated her even more to write an incredible article and despite her family telling her to stop, to discover the truth about the apartment that had been passed down since the war and the people who used to live in it.

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France's Jewish deportation documented

France's Jewish deportation documented | Sarah's Key Vel d'Hiv | Scoop.it
Rare police archives going on public display in Paris shed light on the biggest World War II deportation of French Jews.
Kate's insight:

   This article tells the story about the records that remain from the Vel d'Hiv and what they contained.  They were found in a cupboard despite being ordered to be destroyed many years ago.  In them contains specific details about the 1943 census where the Jews information was stored to be used for future roundups, where the Jews were sent, the conditions they encountered, and their fates.  It even describes the horrible conditions inside the Vel d'Hiv and what was left after the Jews were sent to other camps.  The exhibit that these records are featured in also has lists of hundreds upon hundreds of people who were rounded up and murdered as well as people who protested Nazi attitude towards Jews.   There were Parisians who made mock stars and wore them to poke fun at the Nazi's, even if that meant they were too imprisoned.  So much light was she upon the situation as a result of this exhibit. 

   This article connects to Sarah's Key in numerous ways.  First, the exhibit is another recognition by the French about the terrible crimes they committed against their own people, which is what Julia really wanted during the modern part of the story.  She was very upset by the fact that there was so little information, how uneducated people were about the topic, how they really didn't care and just wanted to forget, and the fact that at the sights there were just little commemorative plaques that were largely overlooked.  When Julia talked to someone who lived near during that time, the lady was astonished she was even asking.  When Julia inquired as to why the lady responded, "No. You'll see.  Nothing has changed.  Nobody remembers. Why should they? Those were the darkest days of our country" (Rosnay 69). She knew it was a very dark time in French history but she wanted the French to know about it and accept it in order to learn from it.  This exhibit would have been something that might have changed Julia's attitude toward the whole subject possibly changing the course of the story.  Knowing that people did care and did want to learn about the incident would have been quite the positive for her.

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Major Nazi Camps

Major Nazi Camps | Sarah's Key Vel d'Hiv | Scoop.it
Kate's insight:

This is a map of all the Major Nazi concentration or extermination camps.  The countries with a lot of the camps are France, nearest the Atlantic Ocean, Germany, toward the center of the map, and Poland, bordering the Soviet Union. In the story, after being rounded up, Sarah's parents were sent to Auschwitz and gassed and Sarah and the other kids were to be sent to Drancy to later to be sent to Auschwitz but she escaped before that happened.

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Auschwitz: The Nazi and the Final Solution (1/5)

http://documentary.thevidblog.com AUSCHWITZ: THE CORRUPTION At the Auschwitz camp, a large amount of wealth was stolen from the Jews. The Goldjuden or Jews o...
Kate's insight:

    This documentary about Auschwitz goes into so much detail about the happenings of the camp and what happened to the different people.  First, it went into a history of the camp.  Second, it went into details about the gas chambers and how many people who were sent to the camp didn't even make it anywhere but the gas chambers.  Upon arrival, they were told they would take a shower and they would be forced to derobe and go into the gas chambers.  There whole families and groups of people would be murdered.  It also went into details about the SS stationed at the camp and how they benefited from working there both monetarily and sexually.  Lastly, it went into detail about specific functions of the camp like how all arriving prisoners were stripped of all their belongings and it was sent to a place in the camp called Canada, where it would be sorted to be sent back to Berlin.  The whole documentary was eerie and filled with heart wrenching details about the awful camp.

      The documentary related to the novel because Auschwitz is where Sarah's parents were both eventually killed.  Despite being rounded up by French police, they were working with the Nazi's and after a short stay at another concentration camp, they were both eventually transported to the camp.  In the book, Julia, while hunting to find details about Sarah, discovers that both her parents were murdered in the gas chambers immediately upon arrival at the camp and didn't have to suffer the horrible conditions inside the camp. In a conversation with an expert it was explained to her like this, "Their parents were deported from the Loiret camps straight to Auschwitz.  The children were left practically alone in horrifying sanitary conditions" (Rosnay 116). They were spared the suffering of the diseases, starvation and cruelty so many others encountered inside the camp.  If Sarah had not escaped, she would eventually ended up at Auschwitz too, where she would have been gassed immediately just as her parents.

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