Department or Program



On July 16th and 17th, 1942, during the height of France’s occupation by Nazi Germany, 12,844 Jews were rounded up and brought to the Vélodrome d’Hiver, an indoor cycling track in Paris. This round up marked one of the largest deportations of Jews in France due to French and German collaboration. The sole photograph of the Vél d’Hiv as a deportation site became an iconic symbol of the pro-Nazi Vichy government’s collaboration. After its destruction in 1959, Michel Mitrani’s Les Guichets du Louvre (1974), Joseph Losey’s Monsieur Klein (1976), Roselyn Bosch’s La Rafle (2010), and Gilles Pacquet-Brenner’s Elle s’appelait Sarah (2010) create “counter-memory sites” through film to maintain and reframe the Vél d’Hiv’s significance in French memory. This thesis explores the role these films played in evolving France’s remembrance of the Vél d’Hiv and defining it as integral to its history. Central to my argument is Pierre Nora’s concept of a “memory site” – a tangible place or object inscribed in time that serves as a carrier of history and memory. France’s historical responsibility in the round up was long denied; therefore one must study the political evolution of France’s acknowledgement of the state’s complicity. By decoding the directors’ cinematic choices 30 and 70 years after the event, I will highlight France’s changing definition of this dark chapter and examine how these films both produce and are the product of the reshaping and reframing of French collective memory.

Level of Access

Restricted: Embargoed [Open Access After Expiration]

First Advisor

Dauge-Roth, Alexandre

Date of Graduation


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Number of Pages


Components of Thesis

1 pdf file