The implementation of the “final solution” in France could not have been possible without the cooperation of the French authorities. The German administration of the occupied zone did not have enough police personnel at their disposal, and they had no direct access to the Jews within the non-occupied zone.
At the beginning of July 1942, the Vichy regime agreed to the organisation of raids within the occupied zone, and to the handover of 10,000 foreign Jews from the “free zone.” On the 16th and 17th of July, 13,000 Jews were arrested in Paris and incarcerated in the cycling hall Vélodrome d’hiver (referred to from now on as “rafle due Vél d’hiv’”). More raids were carried out all throughout the occupied zone. In August, the unoccupied zone was also affected: thousands of people were taken from the camps and the work details of the Foreign Workers’ Association (Groupes de travailleurs étrangers / GTE) and transported to Drancy, near Paris, in the occupied zone of the country. On the 26th of August 1942, the entire “free zone” was scoured with the intention of arresting 6,000 people – the quota that had been promised to the Reich Security Main Office. By the end of 1942, the authorities in charge had deported 42,000 Jews from France.
After German troops invaded the “free zone” in November 1942, there was a large raid on Marseille in January 1943 which was accompanied by a photographer from a propaganda company. 782 Jews, among them 13 Germans, were arrested and deported, via Drancy, to Sobibor. In the photo, volunteers from the paramilitary Milice Française (with armbands on the left arm) and helmeted French police officers are clearly identifiable.