- Category : Politics-Nazi-party
- Type : GE
- Profile : 5/2 - Heretical / Hermit
- Definition : Triple Split
- Incarnation Cross : LAX Migration 2
French politician who actively consorted with the Nazis during WW II, sending Jews to the concentration work camps and to their death. Post-war, he once more resumed the pretence of a loyal Frenchman until his true role was revealed.
In 1931 Papon joined the staff of the Ministry of Aviation and in 1935, moved to the Interior Ministry. He was briefly a member of the Radical-Socialist Yout and edited the party newspaper le Jacobin. But he soon changed his political allegiance and joined the Gaullists. Papon married on 26 August 1932; three children.
In August 1939 he was called up for military service and from March to October 1940 he was confined to a military post in Syria. When he returned to France on 25 October 1940, he was offered a position at the Interior Ministry and took charge of the Gironde prefecture. In 1942 his special responsibilities for Jewish affairs brought him into regular contact with the SS.
On Papon's direct orders, between July 1942 and June 1944 nearly 1,600 Jews, including 130 children under 13, were rounded up and sent to the detention camps at Drancy, near Paris. These were the staging posts for deportation to the Nazi concentration camps. Only a handful of those ordered detained by Papon survived their ordeal.
In 1944, when it became clear that the tide of the war was turning against Germany, Papon began to pass information about the Nazis to the Resistance. After the war, he was decorated by General de Gaulle with the "Carte d'Ancien Combattant de la Resistance" and resumed his work as a public servant. He was Paris Chief of Police until 1968 and in 1970 he served as Budget Minister for President Valery Giscard d'Estaing.
For 35 years, Papon served France as a patriot, until 1981, when documents were uncovered in the Bordeaux town hall implicating him with Nazi affairs. The newly surfaced papers included deportation orders personally signed by him.
From the start, the French establishment did everything possible to prevent a trial, fearing that it would further expose the relations that many of those in the ruling elite had enjoyed with the Nazi forces. Socialist Party leader François Mitterand had also served under Vichy. Although Papon was forced out of public office following the revelations, and was first charged in 1983, the evidence against him was thrown out of court on a legal technicality in 1987. It took until 1997 to finally bring him to trial.
The trial opened on 8 October 1997 at 2:00 PM MEDT, Bordeaux, France. Papon was found guilty on 1 April 1998 of ordering the deportation of Jews from occupied France to Nazi Germany, but not of complicity in their murder. He was the most senior Vichy official to stand trial for crimes against humanity. At the trial, Papon's defense was that he was "only following orders," and that he tried to save the deportees from the camps. He filed an appeal and eventually fled the country to be later arrested in Switzerland. On 22 October 1999, he was sent back to France to begin serving a ten-year prison term for crimes against humanity.
Apart the facts for which he was responsible during WW II, there was talk about his position as Chief of Police during the ‘’Paris battle’’ - in which 200 Algerians where slaughtered, on 17 October 1961. At the time and up to now nobody ever protested. And later, he was elected deputy and named minister.
He died on 17 February 2007, Pontault-Combault, France.