PAXTON: "As a historian, I've studied the Vichy administration since 1960. At the
start from German documents, then from French official archives. I've never worked on
departmental archives of the Gironde, and so I have no notes on Papon. I'm neither a
specialist on the Gironde during the occupation nor of Papon's administrative career. I
want to talk about the Vichy administration and describe the context in which he took part
in the internment and extermination of Jews from 1940 to 1944.
I'll start with a first point which concerned the armistice. We know perfectly well the
thinking of Hitler when he met Mussolini in June 1940 (this latter wanted to immediately
invade France). Hitler said no to him, he would rather grant them the armistice, and it
would be the French who govern themselves. It would cost less than to occupy France. So
there was a very marked strategy of the Nazis to make the French govern France by
themselves. I'm opposed to the general opinion which states that Vichy had been very
passive, that France was beaten and that it couldn't do anything else.
The duty of historians is to make a distinction between the constraints and the freedom
of manoeuvre which existed even in an occupied country. I will show which margins of
manoeuvre existed and will explain the choices which were taken. So, Hitler granted France
an armistice that gave them a large margin of discretion.
France had an occupation strategy consisting of two parts. The first was the national
revolution, to rebuild France. They had to designate those who were responsible for the
defeat, these being according to Vichy: parliamentary democracy, foreigners, Jews,
freemasons, socialists, communists and primary school teachers.
A new France was created: on July 17th, 1940 the first law was promulgated that one had
to be the son of French and a French citizen to be a civil servant. It was an
authoritarian and hierarchical France which favored exclusion. In October, France
promulgated the statutes of the Jews.
The second part of Vichy policy was to play an important role in the new Europe. Vichy
discussed with the Germans a new statute in which living conditions would be easier. The
first and second years, Vichy tried to negociate for France to enter into this new Europe.
What was the reaction of the Germans to these two projects? For the first, the national
revolution, the Germans did not object. Concerning the statute of the Jews, the Nazis
showed a certain indifference. The Germans had nothing to say. And in 1940, Germany turned
6000 Jews over to France. Vichy protested, but the Germans were unmoved and passive.
For the second part, Hitler refused France as a brother country, he wanted to humiliate
France, having never accepted the defeat of 1918. During the first two years, French and
German strategies were parallel and convergent, as long as France bolstered war effort.
Then in 1941-42, there was an important change following the invasion of the USSR and the
subsequent setback of this campaign. The war transformed itself from a short to a long
one, and the German population started to have doubts. The war became one of extermination
in the USSR with the first massacres of Jews and communists in September of 1941.
Hitler decided on the overall suppression of the Jewish culture and population. This
policy was set into motion in the spring of 1942. Then it was extended to all of western
We can talk about two Vichys. The first Vichy adopted a policy of internment and
exlusion of the Jews. From the autumn of 1941, a second Vichy appeared which now had a
policy of extermination, with the first departure of a trainload of Jews for Poland in
March of 1942. At the start, the French wondered about the question, they talked, then the
Vichy regime decided to cooperate with this plan and to help the Germans exterminate the
Jews. During the summer of 1942, BOUSQUET met OBERG to specify the details of
Why this collaboration ? First, because France always estimated there were too many
Jews in France. On the 27th of March, 1942, for the first convoy, BOUSQUET proposed to
arrest and incarcerate the foreign Jews, then transfer them to the Germans. There was a
certain habit to considerate the Jews as citizens of a third zone, that they were at the
origin of the defeat.
The third reason was the request of the Germans that Vichy designate hostages after the
first assassination of a German in Paris. Bousquet thought that it was the best solution
to have more policy independence and to show the independence of the French
administration, to prove to the world that Vichy was a sovereign state. Finally, France
was the only country in Europe where the administration gave the Jews to the Germans in
zones where there was no occupation. Another important point, the Nazis needed the French
How many Germans were in France during the occupation? It's a crucial question, but few
historians wondered about it. There were almost 60,000 Germans to maintain order after the
departure of the army either for the eastern front or in anticipation of the allied
invasion from the Atlantic. There were 77 battalions. A battalion was composed with 400 to
800 men who were neither fighting men nor Nazis supermen but who were 48 years old on
average.. The Germans needed the French because of their own small number.
If we look at the figures for the deportation in 1943 when Vichy ceased to participate
with enthusiasm in the deportation, the number decreased. The first year, when there was
complete cooperation, there were 42,000 Jews deported, the second year when there was less
enthusiasm, there were 16,000 Jews deported. In conclusion, I'm persuaded that without the
help and active cooperation of the French administration, the German couldn't have
deported 76,000 of the 300,000 Jews who were living in France and if there were not more
deported, it is not because the administration opposed it but only because of many
Frenchmen and individuals of good will who hid them or at least kept quiet.
In Holland, the Jews were concentrated in Amsterdam and easily identified. In France,
on the other hand, the Jews were assimilated, better integrated. The role of the
administration was to impede the possible rescue of the Jews. The census of the Jews, the
expulsion of them from their homes and from their work made them more vulnerable. France
was not only the land of collaboration, there was also a tradition of tolerance and
(For myself, I say : Thank you Mr PAXTON, what a history lesson! When I think about
what we learned at school, what a difference.)
Me. VARAULT: " I ask that it be admitted for the defence that, contrary to
procedure, PAXTON had given evidence neither on the facts nor on the personality or
morality of the accused. (murmurs from civil plaintiffs as if to say " he's got his
nerve with all those witnesses of morality who do not know PAPON ".)
President CASTAGNEDE: " You ask me to make a motion. If I let the witness express
himself it is because I thought differently. I estimate that I cannot act on your request.
If you want to challenge it, go ahead. ".
Assistant Public Prosecutor ROBERT: " I don't understand the approach of Me.
VARAULT, there was never a challenge by the defence. The article cited by Me. VARAULT says
on the contrary that the President has full latitude. As for the main issue, if the
defence pretends today that PAPON had committed the crimes of which he is accused and that
Vichy is responsible, in that case we don't need historians. And that is of more concern
to the debate. We must know the context in order to better judge the man. But, I wonder
about the basic reason for the incident provoked by Me. VARAULT, the fact that he had
called ten times as many historians as the public prosecutor. I think that the defence
wants to get rid of witnesses that disturb them. The defence had already done it Wednesday
by prolonging the illness of PAPON ".
President CASTAGNEDE:" I consider that the defence had well perceived the motion
Me. BOURNAZEL CHANIERE: "Me. VARAULT does this in order to justify an appeal and
to go to the European court. I want to get at the bottom of it. If Me. VARAULT maintains
his position, in this case AMOUROUX - whose resistance record equals Papon's, that is to
say zero - should not be allowed to testify ".
Me. KLARSFELD:" The defence had done the same thing with its morality witnesses,
they have talked about Vichy and never about PAPON ".
Me. JAKUBOWITZ:" I inform the court that the same strategies of defence was
employed by VERGES for BARBIE and by the defender of TOUVIER. Here they use exactly the
same means ".
Me. VARAULT:" No ".
Me. JAKUBOWITZ:" I was present at the two trials and I say it's true, if necessary
the motion can be produced. ".
Me. FAVREAU:" We are asked to make a motion on a fact that occurs in the
courtroom, there is no reason to follow up on the challenge. ".
Me. LEVY:" Do not be misled by VARAUT, he's only looking for a pretext to
obfuscate the important deposition of Robert PAXTON on the role of Vichy ".
Me. BOULANGER:" We are witnessing manoeuvres of the defence so that the real
historians do not come, it is clear that the defence prefers journalists transformed into
historians. I say again to the court that the moral witness R.P. LELONG has admitted that
it was at the bar he saw PAPON for the first time ".
Me. VARAULT at the request of President CASTAGNEDE:" I renew my motion ".
PAPON:" I have no observations ".
President CASTAGNEDE:" I put the decision in deliberation until Monday. Mr PAXTON,
were there differences between the occupied and free zones? The givers of orders, the
arrest procedures, the signs of exclusion, were they the same? ".
Robert PAXTON:" The goal of the Vichy regime was to apply article 3 of the
armistice. Yes, it did the same thing in the two zones. France was the only country in
Europe where the administration gave Jews to German in zones where there was no occupation
A Juryman:" Could you talk about the differences between occupied France,
territories in France occupied by Italians and also how it was in Italy? ".
Robert PAXTON:" Yes, it is a very interesting point. Italy as ally of the Nazis
had complete autonomy, there is no parallel. The antisemitic laws were enforced only after
1943 after the fall of MUSSOLINI and his liberation by the Nazis. He created a phantom
government, the Germans made deportations but without the help of the Italian police. The
Germans did everything themselves. Only 12 per cent of the Jews were deported, 7,000 out
of 50,000 ".
A.P.P. ROBERT:" Thank you, Professor PAXTON for your fundamental testimony on the
role of Vichy and the Nazis. I always distrust historians who make themselves judges. What
was the connection between the trauma which France experienced with the defeat and the
policy of collaboration? How can we explain the policy of exclusion, was it a consequence
of defeat or a policy of revenge? ".
Robert PAXTON:" The recovery aspect of the National Revolution is like painting
the roof of a house when the house is burning ".
A.P.P. ROBERT:" Was the antisemitic policy in Algeria applied due to a German
Robert PAXTON:" No, Vichy applied it as early as the 7th of October 1940 in North
A.P.P. ROBERT:" Tell us now about the French protagonists in the antisemitic
policy? What was the role of the Commissariat of Jewish Questions? Was it the only one
concerned? Did it play a central part in the organisation of roundups ".
Robert PAXTON:" The Commissariat of Jewish Questions played a rather conspicuous
role, that of a propaganda organisation. But the antisemitic policy was not of its origin,
it was due to the state. With Xavier VALLAT, we had strong legislation, with the arrival
of DARQUIER DE PELLEPOIX; we had a certain softening of the measures. The Commissariat of
Jewish Questions played the role of supervisor, the real decisions came from the general
secretary of the police with the support of LAVAL who accepted the project ".
A.P.P. ROBERT:" What you have just described, was it due to a conflict between
services, to a power-play or to a deeper conflict? ".
Robert PAXTON:" The powers of this police auxiliary were weak. The principal role
was played by the administration and the police which did their job in a spirit of state
collaboration whereas the Commissariat of Jewish Questions participated in a spirit of
ideological collaboration ".
A.P.P. ROBERT:" Didn't the Germans ever want to take responsibility for this
policy, or did they just go along with it? ".
Robert PAXTON:" In Belgium for example, where Germans were the only authority, the
Nazis only took foreign Jews for fear of perturbing the public order. What the Nazis
wanted in France was the active participation of the administration in the deportation
A.P.P. ROBERT:" Was is a dictate or an agreement? One of the strategies of the
defence consists in saying that the obedience to Nazis permitted a sabotage of the German
Robert PAXTON:" No, this argument is bankrupt ".
A.P.P. ROBERT:" Second argument of the defence, by deporting foreign Jews, they
saved French Jews? ".
Robert PAXTON:" This argument is very hard to defend. Everybody in power knew that
the French Jews would go in their turn. The thesis of Petain serving as " shield
" given by the partisans of Vichy is completely wrong. In the same way, the idea of
" interesting " Jews is only a notion. There never was anything in the spirit of
the Vichy regime to save French Jews ".
President CASTAGNEDE:" Concerning the July accords, you say that from this moment
the French authorities knew that the French Jews would be deported ".
Robert PAXTON:" Yes, and so Danneker said to BOUSQUET that all Jews would be
deported. Without written agreement, nothing else applied ".
A.P.P. ROBERT:" Third argument of the defence, an apology for collaboration was
the humanitarian aspect. It would be better that the Jews be arrested and escorted by
French, what do you think about that? ".
Robert PAXTON:" I think there was very little of humanitarian intentions in the
policy of Vichy. In French camps, the living conditions were very hard. The conditions
were deplorable and even murderous. The prefect Jean FORT who had lead an investigation at
this time was indignant: corruption reigned, the death rate was very high, and health
conditions were very bad ".
A.P.P. ROBERT:" What can you say about the deportation of children? When did it
start? Who asked for it and why? ".
Robert PAXTON:" The Germans asked for Jews between 16 and 60. Then a year later,
everybody. In the autumn of 1942 it was the French government which proposed the
deportation of children. LAVAL said: " It is to united families ".
A.P.P. ROBERT:" Some local authorities refused to collaborate. Which was the
margin of manoeuvre? ".
Robert PAXTON:" It was impossible to disobey. In April 1942, the General Robert de
SAINT-VINCENT refused to arrest the Jews. He was pensioned off ".
A.P.P. ROBERT:" Another argument of the defence, that we didn't know anything
about the final solution, but we could see that the destination of the deportations was
unknown, we could see that deported people didn't come back, there were no letters, why
did the prefects ignore this? Why didn't they do anything when they knew the departures
were without return? "
Robert PAXTON:" I don't know, I can't say anything ".
A.P.P. ROBERT:" Nobody questioned the Germans, nobody was interested in their lot?
Robert PAXTON:" In September 1942, LAVAL didn't want to know the fate reserved for
them, he concerned himself only enough to have replies to odd questions. It was said that
they went to " farming colonies ". The pastor Boegner related that he told LAVAL
about massacres, and LAVAL answered " not massacres but gardening ".
Me. JAKUBOWITZ:" I'll only ask short questions to professor PAXTON, whom I thank
for his brilliant testimony. I recall too that PAXTON was the first to have been
interested in this period. In 1940, when PETAIN took power, could you recall for us the
chronology of the anti-Jewish laws? ".
Robert PAXTON:" PETAIN took power the 10th of July 1940. The first law was the
17th July; it concerned the exclusion of foreigners from public office. On the 8th of
August it was the annulment of the law MARCHANDEAU which prohibited antisemitic
utterances. On October third came the first antisemitic law. In March 1941 was the
creation of the Commissariat of Jewish questions. On the 22nd of July 1941, the second law
on the statutes of the Jews ".
Me. JAKUBOWITZ:" Could we say that the anti-Jewish legislation was an obsession of
Robert PAXTON:" It was one of the constant themes, but not the only ".
Me. JAKUBOWITZ:" Was the anti-Jewish legislation known by the French population
Robert PAXTON:" " Certainly, without a doubt ". It was impossible to
ignore it when a colleague didn't come back to his job and when a primary school teacher
saw that children didn't come back to the classroom ".
Me. JAKUBOWITZ:" This legislative ensemble, not willed by the Germans, is it the
only case in Europe? ".
Robert PAXTON:" Yes, we can't say it didn't exist elsewhere, but not at this
point. There are the cases of Hungary and Italy. France is not the only one in this case.
But in France, the Germans did not ask anything at the start ".
Me. JAKUBOWITZ:" In 1941, Kurt LICHKA said: " We let the French organise the
deportations, it will avoid reaction in the French population. Do you confirm it? "
Robert PAXTON:" Yes I read this text, there are other ones which are similar. The
Germans were happy that the Vichy regime was the sole responsible ".
Me. JAKUBOWITZ:" There were roundups as early as 1941? ".
Robert PAXTON:" Yes 3 in 1941 in Paris. On the 14th of May, 5,000 Jews were
arrested by the local police. In August 1941, new arrests after the first attempts of
resistance. December 1941, it was the roundup of Jewish notables, for the same reason.
Most of them would be kept in camps and the survivors would go with the first convoys of
Me. JAKUBOWITZ:" The Commissariat for Jewish Questions says in a text that it was
the German authorities which had taken the decision, that the population just accepted it.
Robert PAXTON:" It's wrong, it was the idea of the person who wrote the note, not
the truth ".
Me. JAKUBOWITZ:" In 1941 was the law of 22nd July on aryanisation, did it play a
role in the deportation ".
Robert PAXTON:" Yes, without a doubt, this law made the Jews more vulnerable. When
the deportations came, they did not know where to hide ".
Me. JAKUBOWITZ:" Can you confirm that in France occupied or not, the arrests and
deportations were done without difficulty? ".
Robert PAXTON:" Yes, perfectly ".
Me. JAKUBOWITZ quotes the text of a note addressed to the prefect of the Oise by a
superintendent who relates the arrest of a magistrate. The text is full of emotion.
President CASTAGNEDE:" I will read all this text afterwards ".
Me. LEVY came back to the Italian policy in France:" Is it true that the Italians
hindered French policemen to impede arrests and deportations. Is it true that the Italians
attacked a French prison camp to liberate the inmates? Is it true that they refused to
affix their visa to deportations? Is it true that Laval replied to the Germans by saying
that he was in agreement that one liberates the Italian Jews but that he protested when it
concerned foreign and French Jews? "
Robert Paxton: "Yes, entirely so. The lot of the Jews was much better under the
Italian authorities than under the French."
Me. Levy then reads a document showing that the Vichy authorities knew that in any
event, French Jews would all be deported.
Me. Favreau: "Xavier Vallat said that his policy served as shield, that Vichy
saved 95% of French Jews. "
Robert Paxton: "These figures and generalisations are not valid" .
Me. Favreau: "I admit that these statistics are unreliable. But in 1942, how many
Jews were there in France? One speaks of 300,000 Jews, but that was before the war in
Robert Paxton: "Yes, you are quite right."
Me. Favreau quotes a document that says "without the assistance of the French
administration and police, it was almost impossible to arrest and deport them. "
Robert Paxton: "Yes, I know this text. It is authentic.
Me. Favreau: "You spoke of the armistice, you said that this was not the only
solution, can you explain it to us? "
Robert Paxton: "I think that one cannot retreat behind a:'one could not do
anything'" . Vichy wanted a peace agreement with Hitler. They had only an
armistice, I have explained in the beginning why.
Me. Blet: "You evoked a Vichy embarked on state collaboration. But before the
accession of power by Petain, can one speak of French fascism?"
Robert Paxton: "Vichy was not a fascist regime, in the Italian sense of the term,
for example. It didn't have the enthusiasm of Italian fascism. I would say rather that
Vichy was an authoritarian state as was the Portugal of Salazar.
Me. Boulanger: "Cassain said that Vichy was illegitimate, what do you think?
Robert Paxton: "Vichy rested on a legitimate basis. Despite some twists in the
procedure of takeover, these were only twists of a technical nature. For many French, the
vote gave legitimacy to Petain. It is only after the coup d'etat of 11 July that Vichy
Me. Boulanger returns to Italy and the Italian occupation.
Me. Moulin-Boudard: "Do you have knowledge of the activities of Henri Amouroux at
Robert Paxton: "No, not at all".
President Castagnede intervenes "Monsieur Paxton, I ask you to reply only after my
approval. This question should not be asked. One does not ask the advice of a witness on
Me. Varaut: "You are the historian for the civil plaintiffs. Is your role here
compatible with your ethics? Is it the role of a historian to appear in a court
President Castagnede: "No, Me. Varaut, a witness, just as soon as he is heard by
the court, becomes the witness of everyone.
Me. Varaut: "Excuse me, you are right.
Robert Paxton: "Historians must not refuse to come. A historian is neither an
eyewitness nor a judge. In 1963, at the trial of guardians at Auschwitz for crimes against
humanity, historians intervened to explain the context. After their testimony, some
arguments were no longer possible. "
Me. Varaut: "Have you worked on documents or on testimony?
Robert Paxton: "Both". But it is necessary to use testimony with
Me. Varaut: "Can we speak of the role of Papon or do you have no knowledge of him?
Robert Paxton: "No, never."
Me. Varaut signals two errors committed by Paxton.
Robert Paxton: "I deny it explicitly, it is you who committed an error.
Me. Varaut reminds him of the last lines of one of his books: "When it comes time
to choose between two solutions - to do one's job, therefore to run moral and abstruse
risks, or to practice civil disobedience, therefore to expose oneself to immediate
physical dangers, most French continued their daily life. The author and readers of this
work would perhaps unfortunately have been tempted to do the same".
Robert Paxton: "I don't deny it" .
Papon: "I will make an observation of style. I was surprised to hear just now
Monsieur le professeur say that the historian does not judge. History is like science. I
think that it is an extremely fluid matter and that it is difficult to apprehend. The
history of Louis XIV and the French Revolution have no longer been the same after two
judgements of historians. I note with interest the reflection of M. Paxton saying that a
document consists of several interpretations. It is that which we have the opportunity to
demonstrate during these debates ".
Then came a pause, the testimony of Paxton lasted 4 hours.
During the pause, there is strong discussion. The figures and the use made of them by
the defense are considered despicable. By this accounting what were the figures on
Bordeaux? What is the score of Papon? On this hit parade he has to be in first place. If
in France the average score for deportation was 25%, what was it in Bordeaux? Papon can
account for 1560 deportations. The Jewish population for the region before the war was
about 3,000. During the war, according to Michel (Slitinsky), the prefecture registered in
their files 1760 persons. OK, Me. Varaut, what percentage of 1760 is 1560?
Henri Amouroux, writer, is member of the Institute where he meets Me. Varaut, and where
he is dean of the history and geography section: "I have sworn to tell the truth, but
the truth of a period as dramatic as that which I have studied for 40 years does not pass
without a certain complexity.
He evokes his friend Paxton (dare he stand a comparison?): "Truth is not without
complexity. One cannot write history in black and white. I want to emphasize the extent of
ignorance in which the great majority of French lived. We were not as today over-informed,
with Internet, television, radio. Take the example of radio, there were very few. A
village could count but one radio for 300 residents. The French had priorities other than
to be interested in the government of Vichy and knowledge of the final solution. The
knowledge of today should not make us forget the ignorance of yesterday. Vichy was a
lesser evil, and the slowness in the application of the law on aryanisation shows that the
administration could put brakes on the German demands. I remind you how much the French
were deprived of information. The defeat of 1940 was experienced as a trauma, it plunged
the French into a state of occupation with an annihilated army. The important
preoccupation was to find children and relatives lost during the collapse, then nutrition,
and finally the return to their habitation. - It was surely a very bad thing to have given
over the French police - of course, it was awful. One should not have become involved in
this drift, but the body surrenders and then the soul goes along with the body - there
were 1,9 million prisoners, and their lot was known only much later. The raisers of
conscience - the United States and all countries represented at Vichy, the communist party
and the Church - did not alerted public opinion, the population was cut off from reality
by censorship of the press. General de Gaulle never mentioned concentration camps in his
speeches from London. What did one know exactly? The word that come up the most often on
the subject of death camps on their discovery is "unimaginable". Yes, certainly,
there was the duty to be informed. But one knew very little because it was unimaginable,
(I summarize the testimony of Henry Amouroux, because there is a lot of blah-blah)
Me. Jakubowitz: "Are you a historian?
Henri Amouroux: "Certainly not, I am a journalist, but I try to write books of
President Castagnede: "I ask Me. Jakubowitz that your questions be posed with less
Me. Jakubowitz: "If I have to speak with less passion, then I will leave this
trial with my passion"
President Castagnede: "No, Maitre, I ask you to subdue your passions though I
understand them" .
Me. Jakubowitz: "Where were you during the war?
Henri Amouroux: "In Bordeaux" .
Me. Jakubowitz: "You contributed articles in La Petite Gironde" .
Henri Amouroux: "Yes, I was 21-years-old, I did not write editorials, but some
articles on France's glories, employed at 700 F per month. I had a vague idea of the
enterprise, the newspaper had existed for some years, it continued to appear as the
quasi-totality of the provincial press but was less agitated than the Parisian press
Me. Jakubowitz: "Was the newspaper marechaliste (Petainist)? "
Henri Amouroux: "Yes" .
Me. Jakubowitz: "Was it pro-Nazi?
Henri Amouroux: "No, this was not the newspaper which could help the Bordelais to
know what was happening, it was certainly Marechaliste, but Nazi, no!"
Me. Jakubowitz then quotes articles from La Petite Gironde that are bluntly pro-Nazi
and that leave our brave historian speechless.
Henri Amouroux: "This newspaper existed for some years, it continued to appear as
did the quasi-totality of the provincial press" .
Me. Klarsfeld: "Why did you participated in the concealment of the official French
role in roundups"?
Henri Amouroux: "It is easy to pull out ten lines from a literary work. I have
written thirteen books on the Occupation and I have never hidden anything. There was a
conflict between publishers. I have to remind (...) that in l'Humanite, one called Hitler
"Mr. Hitler" until the soviet invasion.
Me. Favreau gives homage to Henri Amouroux who cited him in his deposition, and he
thanks him for having noted his book dedication and to have learned it by heart for the
occasion. :"I do not withdraw anything from my dedication, because it is thanks to
you that I became interested, at the age of 20, in the exactions of the militia" .
Me. Favreau: "On the 8th of July 1943, at 21h30, Paul Bouchon asked thus in his
famous BBC broadcast The French speak to the French: What has happened to all these men,
all these women, all these old people and sometimes these children? They have all gone to
the East, according to the euphemism employed by the Germans. Every French official in
charge of Jewish questions must understand that by executing received orders, he becomes
accomplice to a crime and renders aid to the German executioners of Lvov and Warsaw
Me. Boulanger attacks Amouroux pointedly on his inculpation after the war and on a
professional suspension which had been applied to him: "I am going to read first
an extract from La Gironde Populaire, a local communist newspaper, dated 3 December 1949.
This weekly denounces the takeover by the MRP (Mouvement republicain populaire) of the
daily Sud-Ouest that replaced La Petite Gironde. "Sud-Ouest now publishes the
newspaper of the MRP, whose director Amouroux, formerly editor of La Petite Gironde, has
been penalised by six months of suspension by the commission for the accreditation of
professional journalists, in application of the ordonnance of 1945 on the purification of
the press. Did you know that La Gironde Populaire, communist, had accused you in 1949 by
saying that your press-card had been suspended for six months? Your press-card for
journalist, had it truly been suspended for six months by the commission on purification?
Henri Amouroux: "I don't remember".
Me. Boulanger begins to ask another question, but it is 8 o'clock in the evening.
President Castagnede: "I do not want other accusations of the witness" .
Me. Boulanger: "If I cannot work freely in this tribune, I am going to have to
leave the trial" .
President Castagnede: "You are free to go".
Me. Boulanger arranges his papers and leaves.
Me. Blet: "Monsieur le president, what you have just indicated is very serious, we
want to get an idea of what has happened, I had myself the intention to argue on the
doubtful past of Henri Amouroux. By preventing him from replying to our questions, you
deny a response from the witness. He is present and has the right to justify himself.
The President then understands his error, explains it by the late hour and the general
fatigue and decides then to have Henri Amouroux return Monday and finish the debate.
Papon: "I have heard this afternoon from the civil plaintiffs many vicious
interpretations, calumnies and lies. I reserve the right to reply point by point when the
time comes for these facts.
Program for Monday 3 November: