Is Le Pen showing her true colours?

The leader of the far-right Front National, Marine Le Pen, has disputed France's involvement in the persecution of Jews during the Second World War. France was not responsible for thousands of Jews being rounded up at Paris's Vélodrome d'Hiver before being transported to Nazi extermination camps in 1942, Le Pen said. The press criticises her statements, accusing her of making a calculated move with this comment shortly before the country's presidential elections.

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La Croix (FR) /

Denying complicity means overlooking good deeds

Marine Le Pen has defended her denial of the role played by some French people in the deportation of Jews during WWII by insisting that French youths should once again be able to feel proud of their country. La Croix can't understand her logic:

“Can true pride be built on a web of lies? France is not an ontological entity: its history was made by men and women. During the Second World War some of them collaborated with the Nazi occupiers, others lacked courage. But there were also many who resisted or who simply showed at least a minimum of humane solidarity. And their acts allowed three-quarters of the Jews in our country to escape extermination, more than in most of the countries occupied by Germany. Recognising that the French committed errors also allows us to affirm that others honoured their country - and humanity.”

De Volkskrant (NL) /

Le Pen trying to foment nationalist sentiment

Marine Le Pen's comment was a deliberate provocation, De Volkskrant concludes:

“She is distancing herself from the well-intentioned France that wants to make up for this dark chapter in French history. She is making the case for a patriotic interpretation of history. ... The history of the Second World War is a minefield for the Front National. Party leader Jean-Marie Le Pen was always harshly criticised for his comment that the gas chambers were a 'detail' of history. ... It prompted Marine Le Pen to throw her father out of the party and declare that the Holocaust was 'the ultimate act of barbarism'. So it is very harsh to tar the daughter with the same brush as her father. ... Nonetheless her provocative remarks must be condemned as an attempt to cover up this stain in French history to foment nationalist sentiment.”

De Standaard (BE) /

A chip off the old block

With her remark about the persecution of the Jews during the Second World War Marine Le Pen has shown that she is very much her father's daughter, De Standaard concludes:

“She knew perfectly well that she had to make the Front National socially acceptable if she wanted her party to come to power. … Her father's comments about the gas chambers being just a 'detail' of history were always counterproductive. But did she really distance herself from her father's views, or was this just an election strategy? ... Her most recent remarks prove the latter, Le Pen's opponents say. ... It is unlikely that her remark was just a slip of the tongue. Did she do it because her lead in the polls is shrinking? ... At any rate the Front National is now one step further from its goal of making the party socially acceptable.”