Emmanuel Macron rekindled the flame on Thursday evening under the Arc de Triomphe in Paris alongside two Holocaust survivors on the occasion of the international day dedicated to the memory of the victims of the Holocaust, noted a journalist from the AFP.
The head of state is the first president to participate in this annual ceremony organized by the Union of Auschwitz deportees (UDA), according to members.
He rekindled the flame in the presence of Esther Senot, deported at the age of 15 in September 1943, and Victor Perahia, deported to Bergen-Belsen, the two survivors with whom he spoke.
Accompanied by Geneviève Darrieussecq, minister delegate in charge of memory and veterans, he also paid tribute to Raphaël Esrail, the president of the UDA, who died on Saturday at the age of 96 in Lannion (Côtes-d’Armor).
In a video posted Thursday by the Elysée, Emmanuel Macron insists on the need for “this work of memory and humanism” on the Holocaust. “We owe it in particular to the younger generations: so that the memory of the Shoah will never be forgotten, so that the atrocity of our history will never be repeated, so that no young European can ignore it” because “the ‘to ignore is to take the risk of letting some people reappear the words of the worst, of letting the bad winds return’.
He indicates that initiatives will be taken “in the coming weeks”, during the French presidency of the Council of the EU, to “fight against all forms of discrimination and reaffirm the specificity of anti-Semitism”.
Prime Minister Jean Castex reaffirmed in Poland France’s “combat” against anti-Semitism, but also against those who “distort the history” of the Holocaust, on the occasion of the 77th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi camps Germans from Auschwitz-Birkenau.
Far-right candidate Marine Le Pen paid “homage” in a statement to the victims of the Holocaust, “the worst atrocity in human history”, and called for an end to the “blindness” of governments “in the face of the resurgence of the ‘anti-Semitism’ which, she said on Wednesday, is ‘the fact of Islamism’.
Candidate LR Valérie Pecresse visited the Shoah Memorial in Paris. On leaving, she castigated those “who falsify history” by recalling “the role that the French state under Pétain, with Laval, played in this deportation of all Jews, including our compatriots”.
“If we falsify history, we run the risk of it starting again,” she added, after the lively controversy born of Eric Zemmour’s remarks on Marshal Pétain “savior” of Jews and which are worth to the far-right candidate for prosecution. Valérie Pécresse promised to be “relentless” against anti-Semitism, which “has many faces”, and “against all fanaticism”.