Sarah’s Key

Sarah’s Key


Tatiana De Rosnay

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Sarah’s Key: Chapter 14 Summary & Analysis

Hervé remains skeptical that Julia is okay. She reflects that normally she would confide in Hervé, and contemplates telling him not only about her research, but also about the increasing tension she has been feeling with Bertrand. However, she remains silent until another dinner party guest, a man named Guillaume, asks what she is writing about for work. Julia then explains that she is writing about the Vel’ d’Hiv’ roundup. Despite being French, both Hervé and Christophe express surprise when Guillaume points out that it was the French police who arrested Jews during the roundup, not the Nazis. The mood of the party darkens. Guillaume then shares that his grandmother was fifteen in 1942 and was the only member of her family to escape the roundup and survive the Holocaust.
The events at this dinner party clearly demonstrate the failure of French society to pay attention to events such as the Vel’ d’Hiv’ roundup. Guillaume is the only person at dinner who correctly recounts the details of the roundup, and it is strongly implied that he is informed only because he has a personal connection to the event. Julia is surprised at her former roommates’ misinformed, and even blasé, attitudes about the roundup—a rare instance in which Tatiana de Rosnay seems to take direct aim at an institution of the French government—the education system—and offers a critique on its role in appropriately acknowledging and memorializing the Holocaust.
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