Obituary: Henri Amouroux

Henri Amouroux, a French historian who testified on behalf of Maurice Papon at his war crimes trial and wrote several books on the Nazi occupation, has died, news reports said Monday. He was 87.

Amouroux died Sunday in Normandy, Le Parisien newspaper and France-Info radio reported. No cause of death was given.

Amouroux, who served as president of the history section of the prestigious Academie Francaise, testified at Papon’s 1997 trial for his role in deporting Jews during the World War II. Papon, a former Cabinet minister who became a symbol of France’s collaboration with the Nazis, was convicted of complicity in crimes against humanity, and died earlier this year.

Born July 1, 1920 in Perigueux, southern France, Amouroux started as a journalist during World War II. He later worked for radio and television, and wrote several books on daily life under the German occupation.

Many historians accused him of being an apologist for the Vichy regime.

At the Papon trial, Amouroux countered noted American historian Robert O. Paxton’s version of the Vichy period. Lawyers representing Holocaust victims at the trial said Amouroux was sanctioned during postwar purges of the collaborationist press, charges Amouroux denied.

He was to be buried in his native Gironde region, Le Parisien reported. No information about surviving family members was immediately available.