Sarah’s Key

Sarah’s Key


Tatiana De Rosnay

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Sarah’s Key: Chapter 18 Summary & Analysis

Together with her photojournalist colleague, Bamber, Julia visits the rue Nélaton in Paris—the site of the Vélodrome d’Hiver prior to its demolition. The site is marked only by a small sign, which Julia finds surprising. After discussing some basic facts about the roundup, Julia and Bamber go for coffee. The waiter who serves them notices Bamber’s camera and asks if Julia and Bamber are American tourists looking for the nearby Eiffel Tower. Julia informs him that they are journalists and asks if he knows of anyone in the neighborhood whom they can interview, explaining that she specifically wants to speak to someone who witnessed the roundup. The waiter directs them to a man whose mother they might be able to interview.
The waiter’s assumption that Julia and Bamber are tourists highlights how little attention locals pay to the history of the Holocaust in their city, a phenomenon that is also evidenced by the small, inconspicuous marker at the site of the Vélodrome. This is another moment in the novel in which de Rosnay seems to step from behind the curtain to actively critique the cultural norm of silence about World War Two in her native France.
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