Statement by Maurice Rajsfus on the Eve of the French Presidential Election

RAJFUS_author photo-credit Louis Monier

By Maurice Rajsfus, survivor of the Vél d’Hiv Raid

ON APRIL 9, 2017, in keeping with a family tradition, Marine Le Pen declared on a radio program that France was not responsible for the Vél d’Hiv raid. As if to say that the 7,000 policemen who participated in this crime against humanity were not authentic Frenchmen of France. At the same time, the family heiress did not fail to loudly recall her “refusal to repent.”

Never forget that after the formation of the National Front in 1972, Jean-Marie Le Pen was quickly joined by former pro-Nazis and those clinging to a nostalgia for the Pétain regime, founded in Vichy in July 1940.

From its inception, the ideology of the National Front was primarily xenophobic and racist. Thus, on September 13, 1987, speaking on a major radio network, Jean-Marie Le Pen referred to the history of the gas chambers of the Nazi extermination camps as “a detail of history.” This statement owed nothing to chance as the great humanist did not stop talking about the “inequality of races!” and the “superiority of the white race.”

On October 24, 1997, the founder of the National Front proclaimed that “History is not obliged to order itself with regard to events that impact the Jewish community” before stating, “France does not need to ask anyone for forgiveness.” Later, on December 15, 1997, during his (symbolic) stay in Munich, he reiterated his proclamation of September 13, 1987: “I have stated and re-stated, at the risk of being sacrilegious, that the gas chambers are only a detail of the Second World War!”

Twenty years later, Marine Le Pen, who succeeded her father as the leader of the National Front, embraced its negationist ideology of Holocaust denial as the family’s political stripes had remained unvarying. As Berthold Brecht said, when Nazism had just been defeated: “The belly is still fertile from which the foul beast sprang.”

Maurice Rajsfus is the author of three forthcoming books about the Vél d’Hiv Raid and the implementation of the yellow star during the Nazi occupation of France. This statement was translated by Levi Laub; copyright Maurice Rajsfus 2017. Photo: Louis Monier.