A leader of French Jewry criticized a major Paris synagogue’s hosting of a debate featuring a controversial Jewish historian popular in far-right circles, who said France’s pro-Nazi puppet government saved French Jews during the Holocaust.
Francis Kalifat, the president of the CRIF umbrella group of French Jewish communities, on Friday told JTA that Eric Zemmour “should not have been invited” to the Grand Synagogue of Paris last month to a debate about the historical record of the Vichy regime.
At the June 1 debate with former Chief Rabbi of France Gilles Bernheim, Zemmour reiterated the gist of his thesis on Vichy, that “there was, effectively, a pact with the devil in which Vichy gave up foreign Jews, or at any rate allowed them to be taken, in order to save French Jews.” He cited criticism by hard-core pro-fascists on the Vichy government over the presence of some Jews in France.
Before Germany invaded France in 1940, tens of thousands of German and central European Jews fled to France. Zemmour claims they were sacrificed by the collaborationist government of Philippe Petain to save French-born Jews.