Saturday, September 16, 2006

"Incorrect" Opinion Leads to Court in France

French nationalist politician Jean Marie Le Pen is in trouble over "holocaust denial" again. We read:

"He said that the Gestapo worked, in the main, to protect the French population and was quoted saying: "In France, at least, the German occupation was not particularly inhumane, although there were some blunders, inevitable in a country of 550,000 sq km."

In the ensuing controversy, M Le Pen refused to apologise for his remarks, accusing the Government of trying to discredit him in the run-up to the referendum on the EU constitution.

"I note that if one compares the German occupation of France with the occupation in certain other European countries, then proportionately it is in France where it was the least painful," he said.

"It is scandalous that, 60 years after the war, one is not allowed to express oneself in a coherent and calm way on these subjects," he said.


Disputes about the scale of the holocaust seem silly to me. Whether one million or six million were exterminated, the crime to me seems equally catastrophic and unforgivable.

And, as far as I can tell, M. Le Pen is right that France got off fairly lightly under the Germans. The fact that the French (unlike the Italians) were in general only too willing to help round up Jews was part of the reason for that.

I guess that in France, I might risk prosecution for saying that.

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