PARIS – French President Emmanuel Macron acknowledged on Sunday his country’s responsibility in the mass deportation of more than 13,000 Jews from France during the Holocaust as part of a commemorative act attended by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Macron led an event in Paris marking the 75th anniversary of the mass arrest and deportation of thousands of Jews during World War II in the presence of Netanyahu, ahead of a bilateral meeting between the pair that would focus on current international affairs.
“It was indeed France that organized the roundup,” said Macron of the roundup of over 13,000 Jews at the Winter Velodrome in Paris, which led to their deportation to Nazi death camps.
He said that it had been the French authorities in charge and noted that “not a single German” had taken part in organizing the so-called “Vel’ d’Hiv” raid.
Netanyahu for his part said: “recently we have witnessed the rise of extremist forces that seek not only to destroy the Jews, but of course the Jewish state as well.”
He added that “militant Islam wants to destroy our common civilization.”
Of the 13,000 Jews detained at the velodrome, more than 4,000 of whom were children, almost all were transferred to the Nazi death camp in Poland, Auschwitz.
It was former President Jacques Chirac in 1995 who first officially acknowledged France’s responsibility in the roundup.
Among the topics the two leaders would be discussing in their meeting, according to the Elysee Palace, were the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and United States President Donald Trump’s visit to Paris last week.