Condolences paid to Jacques Chirac, first leader to admit France’s role in Shoah
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Condolences paid to Jacques Chirac, first leader to admit France’s role in Shoah

The two-term president broke the silence on the country's role in the Holocaust and Marshall Philippe Petain's collaborationist Vichy regime

Jacques Chirac in 2007 (Credit: Eric Pouhier, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 2.5, www.commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1739242)
Jacques Chirac in 2007 (Credit: Eric Pouhier, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 2.5, www.commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1739242)

Condolences have been paid to former French president Jacques Chirac, who became the first leader to acknowledge the country’s role in the Holocaust.

The two-term president, who passed away on Thursday at the age of 86, broke the silence on Marshall Philippe Petain’s collaborationist Vichy regime after France had for years after the war contended the regime did not represent the country.

Speaking on the 53rd anniversary of the Vel’ d’Hiv Roundup, Chirac said France had “delivered its dependants to their executioners”, in a reference to the largest French deportation of Jews during the Shoah, deriving its name from the indoor bicycle racing cycle track where victims were confined.

The CRIF, the umbrella group of French Jewish organisations, were among those to pay tribute to Chirac, saying he had “urged French people to face up to their history, and we will never forget it.”

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