Le Pen seeks to whitewash France from its responsibility for the Holocaust

VINCENT KESSLER / POOL MAXPPP OUT

Holocaust survivor Robert Salomon (C) is assisted as he walks at the former WWII Nazi Natzwiller-Struthof concentration camp in Natzwiller, eastern France, 26 April 2015, as part of commemorations during France's national day in memory of deportees. Others are not identified.

And claims her historical revisionism is in line with the Gaullist tradition


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Days before the French go to the polls, Presidential candidate Marine Le Pen argues that the legacy of the French state is not one of antisemitism, identifying this ideological vein with Islam.

Some French, not France

In a statement issued by the far-right presidential candidate on Sunday, she specifies that although there were French collaborationists who supported the Vichy regime and participated in the “vile roundup {of Jews} of the Vel d’ Hiv,” France as such does not have responsibility for the Holocaust.

In her statement, she claims that her views are in line with those of Charles de Gaulle, François Mitterrand, or Henri Guaino, Jean-Pierre Chevènement, and Nicolas Dupont-Aignan, who did not recognize the Vichy regime as “a French government,” since the legitimate government was in exile in London.

Following up on an interview with LCI, RTL, and Le Figaro on Sunday, she claimed that the Vel d’Hiv” roundup of July 1942 was “not France.”

“We have taught our children that they had every reason to criticize France, to see only the darkest historical aspects perhaps. I want them to be proud of being French once more,” she told reporters.

Reactions

Her primary opponent, Emmanuel Macron, responded to Le Pen’s statement by telling BFMTV that “some people forget that Marine Le Pen is the daughter of Jean-Marie Le Pen.”

Jean-Marine Le Pen has called the Holocaust a “detail of history.”

The CRIF Jewish umbrella organization and the president of the UEJF students’ union, Sacha Ghozlan, accused Le Pen of historical “revisionism.”

The French umbrella organization also underscored that France recognized its responsibility for the Jewish deportations in 1995. CRIF were referring to the 1995 recognition by the Gaullist President, Jacques Chirac, of the French state’s shared responsibility for deporting Jews to Nazi death camps. That is why Marine Le Pen denounced the “so-called Gaullists” for “instrumentalizing” history. President Francois Hollande echoed this statement in 2012, describing Vel d’ Hiv as “a crime committed in France, by France.”

Mrs. Marine Le Pen claims to be the “authentic” heir to the Gaullist tradition.

French Holocaust

The Vel’ d’Hiv Roundup was named after a velodrome stadium where 13,000 Jews were rounded up in July 1942, with a population that also came from the so-called “free zone.” The French Jews were then deported to Auschwitz. Historically, it is estimated that 76,000 French Jews were killed during World War II.

Israel’s foreign ministry spokesperson condemned Marine Le Pen’s comment and regretted that anti-Semitism “is raising its head again today,” Reuters reports.

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