Jacques Chirac: Charming French conservative

In 1942, 450 French police agents and gendarmes responded to the demands of the Nazi occupiers and arrested 13,000 Jews — men, women, and children — held them in terrible conditions at the Vel d'Hiv, the cycle track and sports stadium in Paris; sent them to a staging camp; and then deported them to Auschwitz. In September 1994, President François Mitterand declared, "The Republic had nothing to do with the roundup of Jews.  I do not believe France is responsible."  On July 16, 1995, the French president, Jacques Chirac, spoke at the commemoration of the event.  After decades of denials, such as that by Mitterand, and equivocations of the role played by French citizens and the French state in facilitating the Holocaust during World War II, for the first time, a French political leader spoke of the "dark hours" that forever soil French history.  It is necessary, Chirac said, to recognize the...(Read Full Post)
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