French President Emmanuel Macron warns about rising antisemitism and xenophobia during a visit in the south of France to a deportation camp where the authorities rounded up Jews before and during World War II.
According to camp historians, around 10,000 people of 38 nationalities were interned at the southern Camp des Milles, and more than 2,000 were deported to Auschwitz.
In his December 5 speech at the site, Macron underlined that the Camp des Milles “is not an accident of history, but the fruit of a deliberate slide” toward genocide rooted in historic French antisemitism and the “slow erosion of the republican spirit.”
“Here, at the Camp des Milles, France was what it should never again become,” he said, calling for his country to be “the voice of humanism” instead. “Let us open our eyes to the rise of xenophobia and antisemitism, tune our ears to the resurgence of racism. Let us never be fooled by the new clothing adopted by the same ideologies of division,” Macron said.
The camp is now a memorial site that includes more than 400 illustrations and murals painted on the walls by artists and intellectuals who were once interned there. Visitors can see where the internees slept or managed to hide and walk the path they took to deportation convoys.
With two far-right challengers in this year’s presidential election, France sees a rise of the far-right. The National Rally party won a record number of seats in the lower house of parliament, while Macron’s centrists lost their absolute majority. Over the last year, there has been a rise in acts of vandalism, public insults and other infractions based on race or religion.
Original article: RFI