December 12, 1941 took place “the roundup of the notables”: 743 Jews were arrested and taken to a camp near Paris, in Compiègne. This operation, carried out jointly by the French and German police, had the specificity that the people arrested were in liberal professions – lawyers, bankers, teachers, traders. People who considered themselves French before defining themselves as Jews, who, for many of them, rarely attended the synagogue, for convenience, and had made mixed marriages.
Some had fought for the country during the Great War, had been decorated for it, had left relatives there. Like Léonce Schwartz, Anne Sinclair’s paternal grandfather, they had not anticipated their fate, convinced that they were to be deeply assimilated into French society. In memory of a grandfather whom she did not know, the journalist retraced this forgotten episode in the history of the deportation of the Jews from France. She had already paid tribute to her other grandfather, the great art dealer Paul Rosenberg, who emigrated to America, in 21, rue de la Boétie (Grasset, 2012).