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Hollande opens Jewish memorial centre in Drancy

Hollande opens Jewish memorial centre in Drancy
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France has inaugurated a memorial and museum to honour the memory of Jews deported during the second world war.

President François Hollande went to Drancy, north of Paris, the transit hub for the deportees. A lone railway carriage already sits there in memory of the 65,000 Jews who passed through the town. Only 2000 survived.

“Today what is important is to transmit the message, that’s the spirit of this memorial. The transmission of testimony that’s the future of memory, said Hollande.

For decades after the second world war an ashamed France refused to acknowledge the role the Vichy republic willingly played in the Nazi’s anti-semitic nightmare.

Only in the 1990s did President Chirac recognise, and apologise, and steps were taken to ensure the Holocaust was included in school programmes. Several monuments were also erected.

The leader of France’s Front Nationale Marine le Pen, out in the cold somewhat since the May elections, got a foot in the news by saying that if the Muslim veil were banned in public places, then so should the Jewish Kippa, or any other religious clothing. Her outburst was widely condemned by the mainstream parties and religious groups.