Foreign Ministry condemns Le Pen's Holocaust statement

Israel's Foreign Ministry responds to French candidate's statement, says it goes against French leaders' admission of responsibility.

Nitsan Keidar ,

Marine Le Pen
Marine Le Pen
Pascal Rossignol, Reuters

Israel's Foreign Ministry responded on Monday to far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen's statement that France was "not responsible" for rounding up Jews during the Holocaust.

"We condemn Marine Le Pen's statement that France is not responsible for expelling Jews from its territory during the Holocaust," the Foreign Ministry said. "Such a statement is a denial of historical truth. It opposes French Prime Ministers' recognition of the nation's responsibility and our recognition of our role the fate which befell French Jews."

"This recognition of responsibility is the basis of the memorial days marking the Jews' expulsion from France. It is the basis for the study of the Holocaust in the educational system. These are both important in the fight against anti-Semitism - a problem which, unfortunately, has reared its head today, too."

On Sunday, Le Pen told the LCI television channel, "I don't think France is responsible for the Vel d'Hiv. I think that generally speaking if there are people responsible, it's those who were in power at the time. It's not France."

The Vel d'Hiv Roundup in July 1942 was a mass arrest of over 13,000 Jewish residents of Paris, including the elderly, women and 4000 children, and holding them under terrible conditions in the indoor velodrome of that name before shipping them off to Drancy and Auschwitz concentration camps. The operation was directed by the Nazis but carried out willingly by the French police and civil servants. In 1995, French presidentJacques Chirac, and later Francois Hollande, apologized for French complicity in the travesty. Best-selling novel and movie Sarah's Key is a novel based on the Vel d"Hiv roundup, while Claude Levy wrote the historical account in Betrayal at the Vel D'Hiv, among others.