Sunday, April 16, 2017
Must not tell the truth about WWII
The WWII government of France at Vichy was an unelected government of French politicians installed by the Nazis. Marine Le Pen is perfectly correct to say that they did not represent France. But national guilt must be proclaimed apparently
Far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen’s rivals have slammed her for comments on the deportation of Jews from France during World War II.
During a television interview on Sunday a reporter asked her about the country’s previous official apology for wartime events including the rounding up of Jews who were held in a Paris cycling stadium, Vel d’Hiv, before being transported to Nazi concentration camps.
Le Pen replied that “France” was not responsible of the notorious event. “It was the responsibility of those who were running the country.”
“For years, France has been mistreated in people’s minds,” she said. “ I want our children to be proud of being French again because we have taught them a lot of reasons to criticize their country. They only see its darkest historical aspects.”
The French state at the time was administered by the collaborationist Vichy regime under Marshal Philippe Pétain, while the “Free French” government-in-exile, based in London, was led by Gen. Charles de Gaulle.
Shortly after her broadcast comments, Le Pen’s headquarters issued a press release in which she said that, “In my view, during occupation the Vichy regime did not represent France. France and the Republic were in London.”
But the clarification did not stop the criticism, from Jewish groups and presidential rivals.
The Representative Council of French Jewish Institutions denounced what it called revisionist remarks that unveiled the true face of the National Front.
It recalled that the Vel d’Hiv roundup was organized by René Bousquet, chief of the Vichy Police, on July 16-17, 1942, representing the French state as it then was.
Under orders from the Nazis, 4,500 French police and “gendarmes” arrested around 13,000 Jews in Paris and the region, including 4,000 children, to be sent to concentration camps.
The Union of French Jewish Students also strongly condemned Le Pen’s comments.
Independent presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron, Le Pen’s closest main opponent according to polls for the first round of voting (23 percent to her 24 percent), described her remarks as “a heavy political and historical error.”
“The truth is that the Vel d’Hiv was a crime committed by the French state,” said the candidate of the center-right Republicans, François Fillon, running third in the first-round polls.