François Heilbronn, French Jew, and not the other way around

François Heilbronn, French Jew, and not the other way around

Francois Heilbronn. ah

PORTRAIT – Professor at Sciences Po and vice-president of the Shoah Memorial, he publishes a novel linking the fate of one of his ancestors, a Jewish doctor who saved Louis XV in 1744, and that of fifteen dead family members in deportation, in 1944. A love letter to France.

A head stands out in the crowd. We are in February 2019, Place de la République, in Paris, where a demonstration is taking place against the resurgence of anti-Semitic acts in France. With his meter ninety-three, François Heilbronn does not go unnoticed. His build as a former boxer stands out between the placards stating “anti-Semitism is not an opinion, it is a crime” or “my country is France“. Some salute him, others congratulate him for his declarations as vice-president of the Holocaust Memorial. He responds with a handshake, bends down to chat with the most annoyed, leaflets in hand. A little earlier, alongside Emmanuel Macron, the President of the Senate and the National Assembly, he gathered in front of the wall of names of 75,568 French and foreign Jews, including 11,400 children, deported from France.

Four years later, anti-Semitic acts have fallen (-26% in 2022 according to the Ministry of the Interior), but represent 62% of anti-religious acts…

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