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Jacques de Bernonville, infamous French criminal

Jacques de Bernonville (1897 - 1972), was a senior police officer in the Vichy regime in France infamously known as the man who hunted down resistance fighters during World War II.

Count Jacques Dugé de Bernonville was born in Paris to an aristocratic family. Following the occupation of France during World War II, Jacques de Bernonville joined the Vichy government and was made a commander of the Milice.

Working in conjunction with Joseph Darnand, de Bernonville hunted down members of the French resistance movement who were almost always summarily executed. As a right-hand man to Klaus Barbie, he was a major participant in the establishing and enforcing of the Vichy regime's program of anti-Semitic policies that carried out the deportation of thousands of French Jews and other "undesirables" to the Drancy deportation camp en route to Auschwitz and other German extermination camps.

With the liberation of France by the Allied Forces, de Bernonville was charged with war crimes but fled the country. Tried in abstentia by a French War Crimes tribunal in Toulouse, he was found guilty and condemned to death.

Escaping French authorities in 1946, Jacques de Bernonville traveled to New York City and from there to Quebec. There, Jacques de Bernonville was welcomed by a significant number of the Quebec nationalist elite but in 1948 Canadian immigration authorities discovered who he was and instituted deportation proceedings.

Faced with a deportation order, Jacques de Bernonville fled again, this time going to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. In 1954 the French government was advised where he was but that country had no extradition treaty with France and he escaped punishment, remaining there until his murder in 1972.

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