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Highlighting the Collaborators

During our last day in Paris, we visited memorials that focused on the French Jewish citizens who had been victims of the Holocaust due to the willingness of the Vichy government to work with Nazi Germany if they felt it would benefit the Vichy government in the end. Both the Deportation Martyrs Memorial and the Shoah Memorial brought great focus on to the complicity of the Vichy government in what had happened, portraying it as a deep black mark on the moral history of the country caused by their actions. I felt it was interesting, as throughout this trip I have grown accustomed to us visiting monuments attempting to invoke remembrance and respect for those lost. Even the German cemetery in Normandy, which was the closest in tone to the Deportation Martyrs Memorial and the Shoah Memorial, chose to reflect how the lost soldiers had once been the sons of a loving mother and father before they were Nazi soldiers. The discussion of the Vichy government throughout these memorials did not give them so much respect, making it clear in several places that they were not forced or coerced into their actions. They were drawn into collaborating with the Nazi government via the process of deportation because of potential political gain as Nazi allies or material gain from Jewish property the Vichy government took for themselves. While these memorials were not focused on this topic, I found it interesting that they did not shy away from exposing the collaborators even if that may have reflected poorly on the French actions during WWII.