Neo-fascist presidential candidate Marine Le Pen says France was not complicit in rounding up Jews

Marine Le Pen says that she is not like her father, the notorious fascist political leader Jean-Marie Le Pen, founder of the far-right National Front party (she excommunicated him from the party, but remained chummy enough to borrow millions from him for her presidential bid).

Le Pen the Younger disclaims her father's racist baggage, and presents herself as a populist/nationalist in the model of Nigel Farage and Donald Trump (themselves notorious racists, but of the sort who make recourse to dog whistles instead of out-and-out racism, at least some of the time).

On Sunday, Le Pen disclaimed French responsibility for the notorious "Vel d'Hiv" incident in which French police rounded up 13,000 Jews and crammed them into the Velodrome d'Hiver so that Nazi occupiers could deport them to Auschwitz, saying ""I think France isn't responsible for the Vel d'Hiv...I think that, in general, if there are people responsible, it is those who were in power at the time. It is not France."

The remarks came just a couple weeks before the French general election, which has many around the world nervous, given the recent success of other crypto-fascist "populists" around the world.

Though Le Pen later tried to walk the remarks back, claiming that the legitimate French government was in exile in the UK at the time and that she'd been misunderstood, her excuses are hollow and ring false, given that the roundup was conducted by career French police officers, led by the national police chief, René Bousquet.

There's a chance the scandal will cost Le Pen votes; on the other hand, if she still polls well, it will reveal a dark streak of revisionist neo-fascism in France that might have been denied if Le Pen had won a large plurality without explicitly endorsing revisionist/fascist "alt-history."

Marine Le Pen Denies French Guilt for Rounding Up Jews [Adam Nossiter/New York Times]

Notable Replies

  1. Remaking history to fit their narrative: First rule of Nazi / Fascist assholes.

  2. That phrasing seems so unbelievable I wanted to check the original quote.

    Someone who knows the language better, does s'il y a have the same implications as if there are? As in, not even taking it as certain that there are any responsables at all, in a mistakes-were-made kind of way? I wish so badly our world wasn't being drenched in this kind of indifferent bigotry.

    Christ, what an asshole.

  3. seyo says:

    My grandfather's first family – wife, and two little girls – were exterminated after being rounded up in a suburb of Paris during the war. So, FUCK YOU.

  4. Yes. That is exactly what is being implied. She's leaving it in very much in question that anyone was responsible, but if somebody was, then it was those in power at the time, not "France".

    Now, obviously, we can't rule out the possibility that the 75,000 or so Jews who were deported from France didn't just show up at the railway station one morning and ask for a one-way ticket to Dachau. You weren't there, I wasn't there, who's to say it couldn't have happened? But in the purely hypothetical case that, say -- and this is really just for the sake of argument, you understand -- if French civil servants and police were somehow involved in handing over tens of thousands of their fellow citizens to be murdered (and I'm not saying they were), why, those civil servants and police don't represent the values of the majority of real French people, who were all - to a man or woman -- resolutely against such a thing.

    A few bad apples, folks. Nothing to see here. If it even happened at all.

  5. And while we were all rolling our eyes at Marine's little gaffe, the White House boldly stepped up to cover for her, sending Sean Spicer out to deliver a jaw-dropping piece of Holocaust denialism all of his own. Things move so fast around here, it's hard just to keep up.

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