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Maurice Papon, the face of dark periods in French history

Maurice Papon, the face of dark periods in French history

Maurice Papon was the prefect of police at the time of the massacre of October 17, 1961. His name is forever associated with this fracture, but also with the collaboration and the Vichy regime.

The name of Maurice Papon resurfaced on Saturday, October 16. In a statement, Emmanuel Macron named him responsible for the massacre of October 17, 1961. Sixty years ago, the prefect of police Papon ordered the fierce repression of the gathering of Algerians. While 30,000 of them demonstrated peacefully, dozens were killed, some thrown into the Seine.

Maurice Papon’s career spans 40 years of history: first under Marshal Pétain, then under the presidency of Charles de Gaulle, and that of Valéry Giscard d’Estaing. The prefect was decorated and noted well, whatever the regime. He was also Minister of the Budget, before being caught up by his past. In 1997, he was sentenced to 10 years in prison for crimes against humanity, for having participated in the deportation of hundreds of Jews to Auschwitz. He will finally be released after three years in prison, due to his state of health.

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