In an article published in the journal Paris Match, last Thursday, you talk about 13 slides dating from 1988 that you have been entrusted with. Images, beyond the sustainable, unpublishable. What do these slides show?
“These are 13 slides from June, September and October 1988. We can recognize the premises very precisely, we can see the Montparnasse tower behind. These slides show what we have called a ‘mass grave’, without realizing that it was also the a word used by the people who worked there, we see bodies piled on top of each other, several on a cart.
Some bodies and parts of the body are completely black as coal. It means that these are bodies that have been there for a very long time, for years for some. On a cart, we see two bodies that are head to tail. The black feet of one are glued to the head of the other. The head is completely exploded as well as the neck. To absorb body fluids, sawdust was used on this cart.
The most shocking image, which perhaps isn’t the most horrifying, is this set of completely rusted iron shelves and new details are rediscovered every time you look.
The eye somehow refuses to accept what the brain thinks it has understood. In a box, there are dismembered feet and hands arranged together. In another, there are completely blackened feet. Below, on the left of this photo, there is a woman in an impossible state, covered with a plastic bag. There is a blue bucket, cans of bleach “tucked away” in an indescribable jumble. It shows there was no respect for donors. “
The previous images in your possession date from September 2011, 2016 and 2018. David, the son of José Artur, the French journalist and radio man, believes that it is important to show, to publish certain photos to “measure the ‘magnitude of ignominy. ”What do you think?
“This is a question that we have been asking ourselves since October 2019, that we rest regularly. She rested with Paris Match last week. These are, anyway, legally, photos that fall under the blow of the law, they cannot be published.
If it is your father, your mother, your grandmother, you recognize her head or her body. I am thinking of Kim Garrel, Maurice Garrel’s daughter, thought he recognized her father’s severed head on a hoist where 42 heads are cut off in any way and unusable. She is still extremely marked by it, even 6 months after seeing the photo. So, we cannot publish the photos whose faces we recognize.
Afterwards, from an editorial and political point of view, the question arises. I don’t know if I have the answer and what I think about it depends on the days actually. “
You reveal that Professor Philippe Even, then dean of the Necker faculty, visited the center in 1988. He claims to have sent an unanswered letter to the director at the time, Jean-Pierre Lassau. Then, Dominique Hordé, former secretary general of the university, wrote dozens of very detailed emails to his superiors as soon as he took office in 2016. How to explain the lack of reactions from the authorities?
“Everyone knew yes! Professor Even visits the Center, he finds nothing but to write a letter to the director of the Center with whom he has just visited. He could have written a letter to the Minister. When we are the dean of Necker, we are an important person in France.
We discovered during the investigation that everyone knew including Frédéric Dardel, the former president of the university between 2012 and 2019 who was indicted last Friday for “attacking the dignity of a corpse”. Dean Friedlander also knew it since he received emails from Dominique Hordé. But also Antoine Tesnière who was Olivier Véran’s former adviser to the ministry.
A resuscitator told me he told Axel Kahn about it. All of these people know about it. When Bertrand Ludes, the boss of the forensic institute of Paris, takes the reins of the Center for the donation of bodies in September 2018. He goes to lunch at the Odeon with Axel Kahn and the latter tells him that he is shocked by know, and he has known it for years, that bodies are used for car crash tests.
But, Axel Kahn is part of the national ethics committee. He suggested that Bertrand Ludes enter the CCNE (National Consultative Ethics Council), he does not do so. When the paper in the Express, a few days before, I called Jean-François Delfraissy, who was then boss of the Ethics Council, to explain to him what we were going to publish and he told me: ”When the article came out , CCNE will take its own initiative. ” As far as I know, he never hitchhiked himself.
Of course, there was the covid, but for 30.40 years, there has always been a reason, valid or not, which has made it not talked about or moved on. Why the National Council of Ethics did not make a decision after the first revelations? That’s a real question. “
The Paris Descartes University Body Donation Center was opened in 1953. 18,000 donors donated their bodies there between 1988 and 2011. Since November 2019, the center has not reopened. At this stage, 170 relatives of deceased donors have lodged a complaint against X before the Paris prosecutor’s office.