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The Papon Affair: Memory and Justice on Trial
Paperback , pages. Published August 13th by Routledge first published August 11th More Details Original Title. Other Editions 6. Friend Reviews.
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More filters. Sort order. Jun 16, stephanie rated it it was amazing Shelves: history-memory , modern-euro-history , wwii. Vukovina rated it really liked it Jan 08, Golsan's position as one of the preeminent American scholars of Vichy, one of the richest and fastest-growing fields in French Cultural Studies. As the subtitle of Vichy's Afterlife indicates, Golsan's interests lie not in the history of France's "dark years" per se , but rather in the ever-contested, highly malleable, and hotly politicized historiography of the Occupation.
Papon Affair Memory Justice
Vichy's Afterlife , a collection of essays written since , adopts an episodic approach to retrace postwar France's collective "working through" of its participation in the Holocaust and to assess the impact that participation has had on the nation's attitude toward--and damaged legacy of--human rights.
The Papon Affair , on the other hand, focuses specifically on the trial of Maurice Papon, who was charged with perpetrating crimes against humanity as sub-prefect of Bordeaux during the war, and subsequently as Paris police commissioner in October These materials are arranged chronologically to recount the dual threads of the Affair and its aftermath, thus inviting readers to relive the events as they unfolded and to construct their own analysis.
Golsan's personal commitment to his subject is felt strongly in both books, most keenly in his comments on the inherently incomplete, always contestable nature of courtroom justice and historical truth regarding crimes against humanity. The insoluble difficulty of the Papon case, he observers, is that it is never fully "possible to return to a precise point in the past and interpret and judge it without reference to subsequent events--subsequent pasts. This realization exposes the impossibility of airtight judgment and opens an avenue of exculpation for the defendant, no matter how clear or profound his guilt.
With this in mind, Golsan's meticulous debunking of Bousquet, Touvier, and Papon's lies at trial Chapters 1, 5, and 9 , or exposure of Mitterrand's single-minded adherence to political cronyism over ethics, willful blindness to Vichy's persecution of French Jews, and ultimately, to the core values of the Republic Chapter 6 , accomplish not only the intellectual goal of reflecting on a complex cultural phenomenon, but also the ethical imperative of setting the public record straight.
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Related Searches. More recently, France's Catholic bishops asked forgiveness for their failure to act more vigorously against the persecution and murder of Jews. The last of the great postwar trials--of Maurice Papon, secretaire general of the prefecture of the Gironde , accused of signing deportation orders for thousands of Jews--is currently underway in Bordeaux.
On the other hand, all this beating of breasts and these belated acts of conscience remind us once more of the difficulty the French have had in settling accounts with the past. Papon is the perfect example. He did not need to be chased out of hiding or kidnapped in South America--like Klaus Barbie, the German war criminal. He has been in the public eye all along, a career functionary who served, inter alia, as Charles de Gaulle's prefect of police and Valery Giscard d'Estaing's budget minister.
Indeed, it is precisely what has happened since the war that gives the trial its significance, for in the docket alongside Papon sits the system which ignored his crimes and promoted him for over fifty years.
The Papon Affair [electronic resource] : Memory and Justice on Trial. - Version details - Trove
Le proces Papon marks the third occasion this decade that prosecutions for Crimes Against Humanity have reached their climax. Golsan explores their tawdry saga of war crime and punishment through an apt collection of short journalistic pieces, most of which first appeared in the French daily, Liberation. Robert Paxton provides background information on Vichy policy and responsibility. Denis Peschanski fills in the details of Bousquet's career and describes the collaboration of high officials in Vichy crimes. Annette Levy-Willard discusses the difficulties of bringing Bousquet to justice and offers brief portraits of two of the principals in the Touvier trial: Jacques Tremolet de Villers, the defense attorney, and Arno Klarsfeld, son of the celebrated "Nazi hunters" and counsel for one of the civil parties to the trial.
Pierre Laborie asks the question, "Was the France of anti-semitic? These short pieces are framed by two longer, synthetic essays: an introduction by Golsan and an afterword--"Who Were the Guilty and Should they be Tried?
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The most distinctive voices in the collection belong to Henry Rousso and Tzvetan Todorov. Each contributes several pieces to the book, and together they make a sort of chorus of historically informed morality. Rousso reflects on the meaning and contemporary relevance of the postwar purges. Todorov, in two of the longer essays, considers the Touvier Affair in a more philosophical light, focusing on the absurdities of the trial and its unsatisfying lessons.
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