French presidential rivals Macron, Le Pen visit Holocaust memorials

Earlier this month, Le Pen came under fire for saying that her country is not responsible for the deportation of thousands of Jews to death camps in 1942.

By JTA, REUTERS
May 1, 2017 10:41
2 minute read.

Macron visits Paris holocaust memorial (credit: REUTERS)

Macron visits Paris holocaust memorial (credit: REUTERS)

 
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Marine Le Pen, the far-right candidate in France’s presidential election, quietly visited a Holocaust memorial in Marseille days after news that her choice for interim party head had denied aspects of the Holocaust.

Le Pen on Sunday laid a wreath at a memorial in Marseille to French victims of the Holocaust. The memorial was erected in memory of 30 Jewish women and children who were rounded up by the Gestapo in 1943.

The French government in 1954 dedicated the last Sunday in April the National Day of Remembrance of the Victims and Heroes of Deportation.

There was no media present at Le Pen’s wreath-laying. A campaign worker later tweeted a picture of the ceremony.


Meanwhile on Sunday, centrist French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron visited the Shoah Holocaust Memorial center and the Memorial of Martyrs of Deportation in Paris.

Macron looked at exhibits, signed the visitors book and laid flowers in the crypt of the Shoah center.

When asked about Le Pen's accusation that he was using the Holocaust for electoral purposes, he said that the people that were lost must never be forgotten and that the Holocaust must never happen again.

Earlier this month, Le Pen came under fire for saying that her country is not responsible for the deportation of thousands of Jews to death camps in 1942.


“I think generally, and in very general terms indeed, if anyone is responsible, then it is those in power at the time, not France as such. It wasn’t France,” she said.

Jean-François Jalkh was replaced two days after temporarily taking Le Pen’s place at the helm of the National Front Party Wednesday, ahead of the May 7 runoff in the presidential election. A day earlier, an interview from 2000 with the Le Monde daily newspaper surfaced in which he was quoted as questioning the use of the Zyklon B poison by Nazis during the Holocaust to kill Jews.

“Personally, I think that it is impossible from a technical point of view to use for mass extermination,” he said of the use of Zyklon B in gas chambers. “Why? Because it takes several days for a place where Zyklon B was used to be decontaminated.”

A week before the decisive second round in France's presidential election, many voters are sceptical that either of the two candidates can solve chronic unemployment or tackle security concerns, a poll published on Sunday found.

The Ifop survey for the Journal du Dimanche highlights two key battlegrounds as centrist presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron and far-right opponent Marine Le Pen enter a final week of campaigning - France's economy and borders.

Polls predict that Macron, a former economy minister, will win the May 7 run-off with about 59-60 percent. But the momentum has recently been with Le Pen, who has clawed back about five percentage points over the past week.

Macron received support on Sunday from Jean-Louis Borloo, a previous leader of the UDI, a small centrist party, but has yet to say who he would ask to lead a government.

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