Marine Le Pen, France’s far-right presidential candidate, is denying France’s culpability in a roundup of Jews in Paris during World War II.
In an interview Sunday on French television channel La Chaîne Info, Le Pen disputed France’s role in rounding up more than 13,000 Jews at the Vel d’Hiv cycling track in 1942 ― a raid that sent many to their deaths at Nazi concentration camps.
“I don’t think France is responsible for the Vel d’Hiv,” the leader of the National Front party said.
Le Pen’s comments are in sharp contrast to apologies for the roundup issued by former President Jacques Chirac in 1995 and by current President François Hollande.
Their apologies have “taught our children that they have all the reasons to criticize [France], and to only see, perhaps, the darkest aspects of our history,” Le Pen continued.
Emmanuel Macron, her opponent in the election, told France’s BFMTV after her comments, “Some had forgotten that Marine Le Pen is the daughter of Jean-Marie Le Pen.”
Her father, from whom she is estranged and had ousted from the National Front party he once led, has been convicted twice for contesting crimes against humanity and stating that the gas chambers used to kill Jews were a mere “detail” of history.
The French affiliate of the World Jewish Congress blasted the younger Le Pen’s comments.
“These remarks are an insult to France, which honored itself in 1995 by recognizing its responsibility in the deportation of France’s Jews and facing its history without a selective memory,” the CRIF umbrella group of Jewish organizations said in a statement published by The Times of Israel.
Le Pen will face off against the other candidates in the first round of France’s elections on April 23. The two top candidates from that election will vie for the presidency in a final election on May 7.