French President Emmanuel Macron visited a transit camp in France where Jews were deported during the Holocaust on Monday.
Macron said it was necessary to “open our eyes” in the face of a surge in antisemitism in recent years.
The Camp des Milles, situated near Aix-en-Provence, saw 10,000 people from 38 nations interned in its grounds. Over 2,000 of those inmates were deported to Auschwitz beginning in 1939, almost a year before the Nazi occupation of France.
The transit camp was “not an accident of history, but the fruit of a deliberate slide” based on the history of antisemitism in France, Macron said, blaming the “slow erosion of the republican spirit.”
“Here, at the Camp des Milles, France was what it should never again become,” he went on to say while calling for France to step up and be “the voice of humanism.”
“Let us open our eyes to the rise of xenophobia and antisemitism, tune our ear to the resurgence of racism. Let us never be fooled by the new clothing adopted by the same ideologies of division,” Macron added.