The Vélodrome d’hiver was an indoor bicycle track and stadium not too far from the Eiffel Tower. On July 16 and 17, 1942 the French police, under German orders, round up over 13,000 Jews, 4,000 being children, and located them in this large stadium under terrible circumstances. The Jews were given barely any water or food, the sanitation conditions were almost non existent and it was extremely crowded. The Jews were held there for about a week and then deported to concentration camps throughout Europe. The majority never survived.
I have read many books and histories about this particular historical event. Our friend, Benjamin, loaned me a french movie, La rafle du Vel’ d’hiv, 16 et 17 juillet 1942, that was difficult for me to watch. It took me three days to get through the whole film. It is one of the most accurately portrayed film of these events.
When Aaron and I were in Paris we had a morning to ourselves and I wanted to find the small memorial in the location where the Vélodrome used to stand. I am so glad we found the monument and plaque. I felt like it was sacred ground and it stirred more emotions in me in regards to this period of history. I was happy to see that a future memorial garden is currently under construction.