French President Emmanuel Macron urged on Sunday to "redouble our vigilance" in the face of "still alive" anti-Semitism, on the occasion of the commemoration of the 80th anniversary of the Rafle du Vel d'Hiv during which thousands of Jews by the Vichy government.
“Eight decades ago, Vichy France (which collaborated with the Nazi occupier, editor's note) betrayed its children by delivering thousands of them to their executioners. It is France's duty, to be true to itself, to recognize this and not to give in to this contemporary fight against anti-Semitism,” Macron said, visiting a new place of memory. of the Holocaust with four ministers.
He called on "the republican forces of our country" to "redouble their vigilance".
On July 16, 1942 and the following days, 13.000 Jews, including 4.115 children, were arrested in Paris and its suburbs by 9.000 French officials, at the request of the Germans.
8.160 of them, including the elderly and the sick, were first taken to the Vélodrome d'Hiver stadium, known as Vel d'Hiv, in the XNUMXth arrondissement of Paris.
Emmanuel Macron's speech is in line with that delivered in 1995 by President Jacques Chirac who made an impression by recognizing, the first after fifty years of silence from the French authorities, the full responsibility of France in the Rafle du Vel d'Hiv, in which no German soldier had taken part.
“These dark hours forever sully our history. France that day accomplished the irreparable,” declared Mr. Chirac.
In July 2012, President François Hollande went further: “This crime was committed in France, by France,” he said.
Mr. Macron inaugurated a museum on Sunday in the former station of Pithiviers (center), from which 8.100 Jews, including 4.400 children, had left for the concentration and extermination camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau. Only a few dozen of them came back.
"No offense to some, this station testifies to the deep and inhuman anti-Semitism of the French state", which "has made available to the Germans its police, its gendarmerie, its trains...", underlined Eric de Rothschild, president of the Shoah Memorial, responsible for the site.
Today, anti-Semitism “can take on other faces, wrap itself in other words, other caricatures,” said Emmanuel Macron. "But the odious anti-Semitism is there, it lurks, still alive", he continued, evoking in turn the "terrorist barbarity", the "assassination and crimes", the resurgences on "social networks" or the "desecration of graves".
“He interferes in debates on television sets. It plays on the complacency of certain political forces. It also thrives around a new form of historical revisionism, even negationism,” he insisted.
"It's a falsification of history," continued the head of state. “Those who indulge in these lies have the plan to destroy the Republic and the unity of the Nation,” he castigated.
It is important to teach this period of history "so that young people know it and have a critical mind", underlined Serge Klarsfeld, the president of the Association of the sons and daughters of Jewish deportees.
While the number of Holocaust witnesses still alive is inexorably reduced, the priority of the Pithiviers station museum is to welcome school children by showing them films and images, in particular portraits of the victims.
The Editorial Board (with AFP)