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Monday, January 24, 2005

BBC NEWS | Europe | Holocaust memorial opens in Paris

BBC NEWS | Europe | Holocaust memorial opens in Paris

Holocaust memorial opens in Paris
A stone wall engraved with the names of 76,000 Jews who were deported from France to Nazi death camps during World War II has been unveiled in Paris.

The "Wall of Names" memorial is located at the entrance to the French capital's newly renovated Holocaust museum.

Some 11,000 of those deported from 1942 to 1944 were children. Nearly all were killed - mostly at Auschwitz in Poland.

French President Jacques Chirac will officially open the site on Tuesday, before flying to Auschwitz.

Mr Chirac will be one of many world leaders present at ceremonies to mark the 60th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi death camp.

'Prayer to the dead'

More than 2,000 Holocaust survivors and relatives of victims attended the inauguration ceremony in Paris' central Marais district.

They also took part in reading out a prayer to the dead.

The new site is an expansion of two institutions - the Memorial to the Unknown Jewish Martyr and the Centre for Contemporary Jewish Documentation.

"[The Memorial] will help in teaching a story that continues to haunt our everyday life," said its president Eric de Rothschild.

It took two years for several researchers to compile the list, drawing on Nazi secret police records and also Jewish archives.

"This wall keeps our innermost secrets in its stone and delivers them to those who pass," said France's former Health Minister Simone Veil, herself an Auschwitz survivor.

When the memorial officially opens on Tuesday, visitors will also be able to visit the basement crypt where ashes of some of the death camps' victims are kept.
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