Sharjah24 - AFP: On Sunday, locals in Marseille, a port city in southern France, launched a series of activities honoring the roundups of Jews and potential resistance fighters by German and French authorities during World War II.
The raids targeted thousands of people from around Marseille's Old Port, including hundreds of Jews later sent to death camps.
At the time Marseille "represented everything the Nazis hated", mayor Benoit Payan told a crowd on Sunday.
"It was a cosmopolitan city where people of all backgrounds mingled," he said.
After the raids in January 1943, a whole neighbourhood along one side of the Old Port was razed to the ground by the Nazis, who saw it as a hotbed of the French Resistance.
But with witnesses dying out, Payan said he was worried that the atrocities would not be remembered much longer.
The story of the destruction of the old quarters and the 1943 roundups "has been forgotten for too long, almost eradicated from our collective memory".
He has argued that it was comparable to the notorious Velodrome d'Hiver raids in Paris in July 1942 when more than 12,000 people, including 4,000 children, were rounded up in the French capital in less than two days.
Among the events planned all this year is a photo exhibition to remind people of the horror of the raids.
In a first raid on the night of January 22, 1943, French police arrested 1,865 men, women and children in an area of the port near the opera house that had a large Jewish community.