Source: (2003) In John Torpey, ed., Politics and the past: on repairing historical injustices. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. Pp. 277-293.

Maurice Papon was an official in the French Vichy government during World War II. The Vichy government collaborated with the Nazis occupying France. As a Vichy official, he authorized the arrest and deportation of hundreds of French Jews to concentration camps and subsequent death. After the war he hid his wartime activities and had a long and distinguished civil service career in France. Eventually, his past was discovered and, for his Vichy government actions, he was put on trial in 1997 for xe2x80x9ccrimes against humanity.xe2x80x9d The longest trial in the history of France, it was an examination and judgment of Papon, the Vichy government, and the French Republic during the Algerian war (Papon was for a while an administrator in Algeria and police chief in Paris during deadly protests by Algerians). Thus, it was also, as Henry Rousso puts it, a trial about memory and forgetting. With all of this in mind, Rousso reflects on the Papon trial as it relates to the French memory of the Vichy, and the role of historians and the law.