Marking 80th Anniversary Vel d’Hiv Holocaust Roundup, French President Warns of Rising Antisemitism Today

French President Emmanuel Macron delivers remarks at a ceremony commemorating the 80th anniversary of the Vel d'Hiv roundup, in Pithiviers, France, Sunday, July 17, 2022. Photo: Christophe Petit Tesson / Pool via AP.

July 18, 2022

In an address on Sunday marking the 80th anniversary of the Vel d’Hiv roundup, French President Emmanuel Macron warned of rising contemporary antisemitism and vowed to fight Holocaust denial, distortion, and ignorance.

On July 16-17, 1942, more than 13,000 Jews were detained in Paris by police acting on behalf of the Nazi-allied French Vichy regime, in the largest single roundup of French Jews during World War II, with most ultimately perishing in the gas chambers at the Auschwitz death camp.

Macron spoke of the importance of acknowledging France’s complicity in the Holocaust, cautioning against a “new type of revisionism.”

“We need to recognize everything in order not to reproduce it,” he said.

The Vichy government “betrayed its own children eight decades ago and delivered them to their murderers,” he stated. “France now has a duty, in order to remain true to itself, to acknowledge this, and to cede no inch to the present-day antisemitism.”

“We are not finished with antisemitism, and we must lucidly face that fact,” Macron declared. “It is still there — stronger and more rampant.”

“It is showing itself on the walls of our cities,” he went on to say. “It is infiltrating social networks. It inserts itself into debates on some TV shows. It shows itself in the complacency of certain political forces. It is prospering also through a new form of historic revisionism, even negationism.”

According to data compiled by the SPCJ, the French Jewish community’s main watchdog group, reports of antisemitic incidents in France rose 75% in 2021 from the previous year.

Macron delivered his remarks at the inauguration of a new Holocaust memorial in the commune of Pithiviers, the site of the second-largest transit camp for French Jews who were deported during World War II.