French Justice - and Tomorrow

Article excerpt

A French court made history last week when it found Paul Touvier guilty of crimes against humanity: the murder in 1944 of seven French Jews. Touvier killed the Jews during World War II in accord with Nazi procedure. The 79-year-old defendant was convicted by a 12-member jury in a court in Versailles. He did not deny killing the Jews, but he said that those murders saved many other Jews.

Touvier was the first Frenchman to be convicted by a French court for crimes against humanity. Tww Touvier was sentenced to life in prison. The French long have had a hard time coming to terms with what is known as the collaboration, that period of Vichy France when the Nazis occupied the northern part but the government of Gen. Henri Petain, based in Vichy, governed in the south. The Vichy government routinely turned over French Jews to the Nazis to be exterminated in the death camps of Eastern Europe. Touvier is the first collaborator from the Vichy era to be tried, much less convicted, for participating in the Holocaust. …