Anniversary of the Vel d'Hiv roundup: Macron will deliver an "offensive speech" against anti-Semitism on Sunday
President Emmanuel Macron will deliver an "offensive speech" against anti-Semitism and "historical revisionism" on Sunday during the commemoration of the 80th anniversary of the Vel d'Hiv Roundup, the Elysée announced on Wednesday.
He will hold it in the afternoon on the site of the old station of Pithiviers (Loiret), the second place of deportation in France after Drancy near Paris, where a memorial will be inaugurated on Sunday.
"Anti-Semitism still lurks and sometimes insidiously and it is very worrying," said an adviser to the Elysée. "A new type of historical revisionism has appeared", in particular on the role of Marshal Pétain, he noted, adding that the "combat" must "again be waged".
After fifty years of silence from the French authorities, in 1995 President Jacques Chirac acknowledged France's responsibility in the Vel d'Hiv Roundup, in a speech that remains etched in our memories. "France, that day, accomplished the irreparable," he had launched.
Twenty-seven years later, "France has changed", noted the Elysée. “Alas, French society has not finished with anti-Semitism,” hammered the adviser, recalling the attacks targeting Jews and the “trivialization of debates” around the Vichy regime.
The far-right presidential candidate Eric Zemmour (Reconquête!) notably argued that Marshal Pétain had “saved” French Jews during the Second World War
"The meaning of this commemoration is to tell ourselves that the fight continues and that President Macron will continue to follow the path that President Chirac had traced," said the adviser.
"It's a speech that will be offensive on the subject given what the news has imposed on us for several years," he said. The Head of State will “recall what threatens us as a society and what also protects us”.
The speech should last about twenty minutes. Survivors of the Rafle du Vel d'Hiv will be present. Elected officials from the National Rally were also invited, by republican tradition, detailed the Elysée, without specifying whether they would be present.
The traditional ceremony on the site of the former Vélodrome d'Hiver, a stadium in Paris, will take place in the morning in the presence of Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne.
Nearly 13.000 Jews, mostly women and children, were arrested by the French police in Paris and its inner suburbs on July 16 and 17, 1942 and interned at Vel d'Hiv in terrible conditions before being deported to extermination camps. Eight convoys, carrying 8.400 deportees, left Pithiviers station.
The Editorial Board (with AFP)