The Hindu community has come out in support of Jews in asking France to change the name of its “Death to Jews” (La Mort aux Juifs) hamlet, located about 60 miles from Paris.
Hindu statesman Rajan Zed said in Nevada (USA) Wednesday that it was shocking to learn that such a village name exists in 2014.
Zed, who is President of the Universal Society of Hinduism and a notable activist for interfaith tolerance and dialogue, urged French President Francois Hollande to immediately look into changing name of this hamlet.
If France refused to change it, the European Commission needs to intervene, stressed Zed.
Rajan Zed further said that country of Pascal, Descartes, Voltaire, Baudelaire, Flaubert, Camus, Sartre, Monet, Renoir, Cezanne, Gauguin, Braque, Matisse and "Déclaration des droits de l'homme et du citoyen" (declaration of the rights of man and of the citizen), should show some maturity and remove such a hamlet name from its map.
What is baffling in the case is that even the religious elite of France has not come out openly against this unacceptable name of a hamlet, Zed stated, urging Pope Francis to speak on this issue.
Zed's comments surfaced after the Simon Wiesenthal Center sent a letter to France's interior minister to demand that the town be renamed.
The group's director of international affairs, Shimon Samuels, wrote to Bernard Cazeneuve saying he was "shocked to discover the existence of a village in France officially called 'Death to Jews'."
"It is extremely shocking that this name has slipped under the radar in the 70 years that have passed since France was liberated from Nazism and the (pro-Nazi) Vichy regime," he wrote.
However, the deputy mayor of the village of Courtemaux brushed off the concerns.
"It's ridiculous. This name has always existed," Marie-Elizabeth Secretand told AFP. "No one has anything against the Jews, of course. It doesn't surprise me that this is coming up again."
She added that they should "respect these old names," despite their content.
In May, residents of a village in Spain with a similarly unfortunate name, Castrillo Matajudios ("Castrillo Kill Jews"), voted to change the name. In a tight referendum, the citizens opted for the less offensive, older name for the town, Mota de Judios, or "Hill of the Jews."
Zed thanked Spain for the move shortly after the change was announced.