Le Pen Denies French Complicity In Holocaust

Violent clashes have broken out inside and outside a venue that was supposed to hold a rally by French far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen.

She added that this in no way exonerated those who participated in "the vile roundup of Vel d'Hiv and all the atrocities committed during that period". Northern France, including Paris, was occupied at the time by Nazi Germany, while in the south, the Vichy government collaborated with the Germans, including in rounding up Jews that were sent to the Nazi death camps.

It said she "in no way exonerates the effective and personal responsibility of the French people who took part in the disgusting Vel d'Hiv roundup and in all the atrocities committed during this period". "It is not France".

The National Front (FN) leader "crossed a red line", Le Monde said in an editorial, while Jewish groups blasted the comments as "revisionist" and an "insult to France (which has faced up to) its history without a selective memory".

Analysts say forecasting the two-stage election is even more hard than usual, with an unusually high number of voters saying they plan to abstain or have not made up their minds.

Le Pen's main rival in the race, independent centrist Emmanuel Macron, was among the many presidential candidates on Monday who criticized Le Pen's comments. "The declaration is contrary to the historical truth, which has been expressed by French presidents who have recognized the country's responsibility for the fate of French Jews who died in the Holocaust".

Eleven candidates are officially competing to book a ticket to occupy the Elysee Palace in this year's presidential elections.

Far-right candidate for the presidential election Marine Le Pen speaks during a campaign meeting in Monswiller near Strasbourg, eastern France, Wednesday, April 5, 2017.

Former president Jacques Chirac formally acknowledged the state's role in Jewish persecution in 1995, a position maintained and approved by his successors Nicolas Sarkozy and Francois Hollande.

Le Pen clarified her remarks later today when she declared that "I consider that France and the Republic were based in London during the (Nazi) occupation..." The polls say Macron would easily beat Le Pen in the May 7 runoff.

But behind them, Communist-backed firebrand Jean-Luc Mélenchon continues to surge after strong performances during the debates when he repeatedly tackled Le Pen over her hardline views on immigration and Islam.

Since its establishment by Jean-Marie Le Pen, Marine Le Pen's father and the owner of multiple convictions for Holocaust denial and incitement to hatred against Jews, National Front has been accused of espousing anti-Semitism, hatred of Muslims and other forms of xenophobia.

Rachline said a National Front activist was seriously injured during the clashes.

  • Leroy Wright