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ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: http://www.humanite.fr/philippot-et...

by Paul Conge

Philippot Whitewashes Pétain

Translated Wednesday 6 August 2014, by Meghan O’Shea

Front National’s VP alleges acknowledging responsibility for deportation of Jews would be "trampling the honor of France". Stirs up old specter of the extreme right.

Coming from the former confident of Chevènement, the cheeky reply was no surprise. "Collaboration with the occupying forces? That is total nonsense," replied Florian Philippot (FN) yesterday, to the France2 reporter’s question about the responsibility of France during the Nazi Occupation. "The government of France was in London; France was an occupied country, it was not an accomplice, but a victim," What does he believe Pétain, the instigator of racial and authoritarian state, to be? A victim. And what of the French Milice, the Gestapo’s attack dog, with their bloody atrocities against Jews, Gypsies and Communists? More victims. During the commemoration of the Vel’ d’Hiv Police Raid, Manuel Valls mourned "France’s disgrace" through its "complicity with the occupying (Nazi) forces." With exaggerated patience, the FN’s No. 2 continued with his skillful verbal gymnastics routine, washing the Pétain government of its wrongs, "there were exceptional circumstances and the fact that France saved many Jews has been forgotten." He criticized the politicians who have recognized, without equivocation, the responsibility of the State in the deportations, as a "race to repent". He accused them of "supporting a self-hatred of France, and engaging in extreme penitence."
This sort of exoneration, by Marine Le Pen’s supporter, avoids passing judgment on French officials, and revives the National Front’s sympathies for Petain. "The extreme French right has a fundamental reverence for Vichy" alleged the historian Pierre Milza, in 2002. Many times, Jean-Marie Le Pen sought to soften the regime’s crimes, lamenting that history was "too harsh" with Pétain, who suffered from "extenuating circumstances." As a final whitewash, Philippot further stated: "Of course there was some assent (...) but there were also acts of resistance.” Some assent? Yes: the witch hunts that led to the deportment and execution of a whopping twenty-nine thousand Jews; this legal framework (anti-Jewish laws, police cooperation) was the lifeblood of the Vichy regime. Philippot seems to be ready to embrace anything for the "honor of France."

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