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Maurice PAPON

French Maurice PAPON

French civil servant during the 1930s

Source :  Joël VIALLARDmsaucieCédric TOUVET

Born: on September 03, 1910 in Gretz-Armainvilliers (Seine-et-Marne), FRANCE
Died: on February 17, 2007 in Pontault-Combault (Seine-et-Marne), FRANCE


Maurice Papon (French pronunciation: ​[moʁis papɔ̃]; 3 September 1910 – 17 February 2007) was a French civil servant during the 1930s who led the police in major prefectures and in Paris during the Nazi occupation of France and into the 1960s.

Forced to resign because of allegations of abuses, he became an industrial leader and Gaullist politician. In 1998 he was convicted of crimes against humanity for his participation in the deportation of more than 1600 Jews to concentration camps during World War II when he was secretary general for police in Bordeaux.

Papon was known to have tortured insurgent prisoners (1954–62) as prefect of the Constantinois department during the Algerian War. He was named chief of the Paris police in 1958. On 17 October 1961 he ordered the severe repression of a pro-National Liberation Front (FLN) demonstration against a curfew which he had imposed. What became known as the Paris massacre of 1961 left between one hundred and three hundred dead at the hands of the police, with many others wounded.[1] That same year, Papon was personally awarded the Legion of Honour by French President Charles de Gaulle, whose government was struggling to retain Algeria as a French colony.

Papon was in charge of the Paris police during the February 1962 massacre at the Charonne metro station, which took place during an anti-Organisation armée secrète (OAS) demonstration organized by the Communist Party (PCF).

He was forced to resign in 1967 after the suspicious disappearance of the Moroccan Marxist Mehdi Ben Barka, leader of the far-left Tricontinental Conference. He was supported by de Gaulle in being named as director of Sud Aviation company, which created the first Concorde plane. After May 1968, Papon was elected as a representative (député) in the French legislature, and served several terms. From 1978-81, he served as the appointed Minister of the Budget under prime minister Raymond Barre and president Valéry Giscard d'Estaing.

On 6 May 1981 details about his past under Vichy emerged, when Le Canard enchaîné published documents signed by Papon that showed his responsibility in the deportation of 1690 Bordeaux Jews to Drancy internment camp from 1942 to 1944. After a long investigation and protracted legal wranglings, Papon was eventually tried; in 1998 he was convicted of crimes against humanity. He was subsequently released from prison in 2002 on the grounds of ill health.

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