Maurice Papon

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Maurice Papon (French pronunciation: [moʁis papɔ̃]; September 3, 1910 – February 17, 2007) was a French civil servant, industrial leader and Gaullist politician, who was convicted for crimes against humanity for his participation in the deportation of over 1600 Jews during World War II when he was secretary general for police of the Prefecture of Bordeaux.

Papon also participated in the repression in Algeria during the Algerian War (1954–62) as prefect of the Constantinois department. He was named chief of the Paris police in 1958. There, he ordered on October 17, 1961 the severe repression of a peaceful pro-National Liberation Front (FLN) demonstration against the curfew which he had imposed. The Paris massacre of 1961 left between one and three hundred dead with many more wounded.[1] That same year, he was personally awarded the Legion of Honour by French President Charles de Gaulle.

In 1998, he was stripped of all his decorations for his 1998 conviction for crimes against humanity. Papon was also in charge during the February 1962 massacre at the Charonne metro station, which took place during a peaceful anti-Organisation armée secrète (OAS) demonstration organized by the Communist Party (PCF). Forced to quit his functions after the 1965 "disappearance" of Moroccan dissident Mehdi Ben Barka, leader of the Tricontinental Conference, he became, supported by de Gaulle, director of Sud Aviation company, which created the first Concorde plane.

After May 1968, he became a representative (député) in the French legislature, and from 1978 to 1981 was Minister of the Budget under prime minister Raymond Barre and president Valéry Giscard d'Estaing. On May 6, 1981 details about his past under Vichy emerged, when Le Canard enchaîné newspaper published documents signed by Papon which show his responsibility in the deportation of 1,690 Jews of Bordeaux to Drancy internment camp from 1942 to 1944. After a very long investigation, this led to his eventual 1995 to 1998 trial and conviction for crimes against humanity.


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