PARIS (Reuters) – French President Emmanuel Macron warned against anti-Semitism and historical revisionism on Sunday as he commemorated victims of the Holocaust on the 80th anniversary of the Vel d’Hiv roundup of Jewish families.
On July 16-17, 1942, around 13,000 people were taken to the Winter Velodrome, the Vel d’Hiv, in Paris before being sent on to concentration camps across Europe. It was the largest mass detention of Jewish people by French police in collaboration with the Nazi German occupiers.
Macron spoke at the inauguration of a memorial in the central town of Pithiviers, about 100 km (60 miles) south of Paris. Pithiviers was the second largest transit camp and deportation point in France for Jews, after Drancy.
“We have not finished with anti-Semitism, it is still there – stronger and more rampant,” said Macron, citing examples of anti-Semitism in acts of terrorism, in graffiti on walls, on social media and as something that crops up in debates on some TV channels.
Earlier, Prime Minister Elizabeth Borne said that “France lost part of its soul” in the Vel d’Hiv roundup, which “went even further than the Nazi occupiers demanded” and of which “no state official was unaware”.
In his speech, Macron warned against a “new type of revisionism” and reiterated the active role of France in targeting Jewish people during the occupation.
The Shoah Memorial in Paris, which collects archives on France’s Holocaust victims, has launched an appeal to reach the last witnesses and survivors of the Vel d’Hiv round-up.
“We need to recognise everything, in order not to reproduce it,” Macron said.
(Reporting by Layli Foroudi; Editing by Frances Kerry)