A highly symbolic move. On the occasion of the 77th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, Prime Minister Jean Castex, accompanied by the Ministers of the Interior and Culture, is going to the former concentration camp this Thursday for a day of commemoration of the ‘Holocaust.
Emmanuel Macron went to Oradour-sur-Glane on Tuesday, for a ceremony of homage to the victims of the massacre of 643 inhabitants of this village of Haute-Vienne by the Nazis in 1944. Today, Jean Castex, Gérald Darmanin and Roselyne Bachelot will be traveling to Poland on the occasion of the International Day of Holocaust Victims.
Several association and religious representatives will also be present, in particular Francis Kalifat, president of Crif (Representative Council of Jewish Institutions in France), the Chief Rabbi of France, Haïm Korsia, and the president of the Consistory, Elie Korchia. Two survivors of the Auschwitz camp, Elie Buzyn and Ginette Kolinka, as well as college and high school students will also participate in the ceremony.
The Prime Minister must first visit the Birkenau camp, the largest of the concentration camps, having been built in 1941 to carry out the “final solution” and the annihilation of the Jewish population. A wreath must be laid there by the members of the government. At the beginning of the afternoon, Jean Castex will then go to the very first concentration camp to have emerged, in Auschwitz, for a visit to the museum followed by a speech. The international ceremony should begin at 4 p.m.
Rise of anti-Semitism in France?
If the anniversary of the liberation of the camp is celebrated every year, on January 27, the commemorations are not systematically organized in the presence of members of the French government. Asked about this by Radio Classique, Matignon replied: “Hate is progressing in France. Racism and anti-Semitism even find political discourses that legitimize them”.
According to an Ifop poll for the American Jewish Committee and the Foundation for Political Innovation, 53% of French Jews say they have already been victims of anti-Semitic insults. For the Chief Rabbi of France, also interviewed by Radio Classique, this visit by members of the government to Auschwitz is “a response to those who want to divert History for the benefit of their ambitions”. Statements which notably target presidential candidate Eric Zemmour who, on numerous occasions, has affirmed that the Vichy regime and Marshal Pétain had saved French Jews.