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October 17, 1961

Discussion in '"Today in History", Literature & Media Review' started by Martin Rohmann, Oct 16, 2020.

  1. Martin Rohmann A Fixture

    The Paris Massacre

    30,000 Algerians poured into the French capital on the evening of October 17, 1961 during the ongoing Algerian war. Mind you: Algerians are French citizens, just like Algeria was a French department and not a colony!

    The demonstrators wanted to protest peacefully against the night curfew for "French Muslims", the police prefect Maurice Papon ...


    ... had imposed a few days earlier.

    They also demonstrate for peace in Algeria.


    Under the command of the Police Prefect Papon, the Paris police are extremely brutal against the unauthorized but peaceful demonstration called for by the Algerian independence movement FLN.




    Serious estimates suggest that at least 200 people will be killed.
    They are shot, beaten - and partly drowned in the Seine.




    The bloody mass demonstration was then hushed up almost everywhere in the French media at the time.

    The exact number of deaths is unknown. At the time, police reports officially only spoke of three dead.

    Historian Jean-Luc Einaudi lists 384 victims, including all those previously found in the waters around Paris; however, the number is probably higher because there are still unexplained cases and missing persons.

    The arrested ...



    ... are partially interned for several days in the open air, about 500 of them then forcibly deported to Algeria.


    It was not until October 17, 2012 that President Francois Hollande will find the courage to officially recognize the Paris massacre.

    Maurice Papon, the police prefect at the time, was not wounded a hair over this matter.

    However, on April 2, 1998, he was found guilty of involvement in crimes against humanity during the German occupation and sentenced to ten years in prison and the loss of civil rights.


    Between 1942 and 1944, Papon had ordered the arrest and deportation of 1,560 Jews, including children and the elderly. Most of these people were deported to Auschwitz.

    Due to a law granting prisoners with life-threatening illnesses exemption from prison, Papon had to serve barely a year. He was then released home and died in Paris on February 17, 2007.
    Airkid and Nap like this.
  2. Nap A Fixture

    Thanks Martin for this piece of history ....another aweful time for those involved

    Martin Rohmann likes this.
  3. Chris Oldfield A Fixture

    I thought I'd heard the name of Maurice Papon somewhere before - thanks for jogging the old memory, Martin.
    Martin Rohmann and Nap like this.
  4. Airkid PlanetFigure Supporter

    Thanks Martin - as usual, excellent research. Having an interest in French history I sort of knew about this shameful episode but it hasn't received much literary coverage in either France or elsewhere.

    Nap and Martin Rohmann like this.

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