Commémorations de la Shoah en Pologne
Your excellencies, dear colleagues, ladies and gentlemen,
When I was mayor, I had the opportunity to sit on the executive board of my political party next to Simone Veil who was deported to Auschwitz at the age of 16.
Member of Parliament, Minister of State, she became Head of the European Parliament from 1979 to 1982.
Allow me to pay tribute to this great lady who has known the worst and gave France the best.
We owe her our awareness of the existence of the Shoah in France. In 1947 she delivered a speech to the French National Assembly stating that a "Jewish race" does not exist.
Then, in the 1960s, radio and TV played a key role in the media coverage of the history of the Shoah in France. This began in 1963 with the radio broadcast of Adolf Eichmann’s trial, the Nazi in charge of the logistics for the "final solution".
One event changed the conception that we had of the genocide. It was the publication of the book "France of Vichy, 1940-1944 by Robert Paxton.
Published in French in 1973, this book put an end to the theory considering that the Vichy regime would have played a double game against the German authorities to protect the French.
In 1978 an American series : "Holocaust", about a German Jewish family in the spiral of the Nazi persecution, impacted the society and freed the speech of the Shoah’s survivors.
In 1995, President Jacques Chirac solemly aknowledged at the « Vel d’Hiv », the responsibility of the French state in the Jews deportation. After this speech, the Shoah took a collective and official dimension, in France.
Then, in 1999 Jacques Chirac created the Commission for the Compensation of Victims of Spoliation resulting from Anti-Semitic Legislation in force during the Occupation.
Thus the 20th century has ended. Marked by two world conflicts and a cold war.
The 21st century yearned for a peaceful and tolerant era. This hope has vanished. The 11th of September 2001 attack in New York revealed a very alarming rise of a violent Islamist ideology. Three thousand people were murdered.
In 2004, in France, a report by the Ministry of Education pointed a worrying rise of Islamism in French schools. It revealed an increasing negationism regarding the Shoah and the Jews.
Several years later, this "forgotten" report came back to light following atrocities such as the anti Semitic murders of children by the terrorist Mohamed Merah in Toulouse in 2012, or of Sarah Halimi in Paris, in 2017.
The extremist ideologies hostile to the memory of the Shoah, raises a problem of pedagogy. The Shoah is too often reduced to a moral injunction : the "duty to remember".
Necessary but not sufficient !
History must be taught to understand how anti-Semitism is intertwined with European customs, cultures and their mutations, from ancient Judeophobia to modern anti-Semitism, including Christian and Muslim anti-Judaism.
This year was commemorated the 80th anniversary of Babi Yar, the largest massacre of the Ukrainian Holocaust.
During its two fatal days, 33,000 Jewish victims were shot dead on September 1941 in Kiev.
Today in Ukraine, at Europe’s gateway, the neo-Nazi Azov battalion parades, freely, with a symbol that looks like the one of the 2nd SS Das Reich division.
This is unacceptable !
This hatred of Jews take new forms. It can come from the far right which considers that the Jews will remain cosmopolitan and anti-national aliens because they put their religion before their nationality.
The far left also considers that the Jews are racists who oppress the Palestinian people.
And, unfortunatly, anti-semitism is spreading in many other parts of our society. As a recent example, in France, anti-vaccine demonstrators were wearing yellow stars. A misplaced parallel that instrumentalized the memory of the genocide.
This is also unacceptable !
But there are grounds for hope.
At the European Union level, new educational tools have been put in place to refocus on historical and political work.
An other point is to better train and instruct teachers and students, in Europe, in the history of Judaism.
Fortunately, touching stories remind us that human beings can think with their heart. And there has been many people who risked their lives to save Jews !
Among the 57 countries which have the honor of having « righteous among the nations » medal winning-citizens, France is the 3rd leading country.
Ladies and gentlemen, I’d like to assert before you that it is our political responsibility to be sure that there will be more righteous and less oppressors in our World.